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Midwest Digest 10-17-13

AFSC's Migwe Kimemia
Migwe Kimemia came to the United States in 1998, and has worked for AFSC in Dayton, OH since 2002.

Highlights of Recent Work in the Midwest Region

The nation pays attention to Welcome Dayton
The White House? The New York Times? Even The Daily Show with Jon Stewart? The immigrant-friendly Welcome Dayton Plan, developed in part by AFSC Program Director Migwe Kimemia, is big in the news.

Chicago intern bound for Poland
Spend a little time with Jessica Alaniz and you can’t help but appreciate her commitment to the well-being of her community. Jessica is one of 19 youth heading to Poland this weekend as part of AFSC’s delegation to the 2013 World Summit of Nobel Prize Laureates. Jessica talks about her work with AFSC in this three-minute video.

Tune in to “Boots on the Border” on October 30
Wage Peace co-coordinator Mary Zerkel in Chicago will join other AFSC staff in a Google Hangout on Air exposing private contractors’ deep influence on the “border security” proposals that Congress is currently considering in the guise of immigration policy reform. They will discuss what we can do to slow the militarization of the border and pressure Congress to meet the needs of communities – not the needs of contractors. Wednesday, Oct. 30, 1 p.m. Central/2 p.m. Eastern. Register now.

National AFSC youth film festival prepares for fourth season
Do you know a group of young people who would like to share their vision of a more peaceful and just future? AFSC’s If I Had a Trillion Dollars is gearing up for another year of creative energy. This short promotional video tells more. Deadline for submissions is January 11, 2014.

Iowan honored for immigrant rights work
The Iowa International Center recently honored Sandra Sanchez, AFSC Iowa’s Immigrant Voice Program Director, with one of its annual “Passport to Prosperity” awards. You can read and view more about the prestigious prize by clicking here.

Intern reflects on dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline
When Lane Holden decided that classroom learning wasn’t enough, she reached out to the AFSC office in her hometown of St. Louis. Lane reflects here on a summer internship which connected her with other St. Louis youth working to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.

Speaking of prisons….
Why care about people in prisons? Interns in AFSC’s Criminal Justice Program in Michigan could probably give you 3000 reasons – that’s the number of letters they respond to each year from prisoners. In this short video, the interns share a few of their thoughts.

For he’s been a jolly good Fellow
There’s no denying the impressive work of Daniel Kaplan, who’ll soon be completing his service as Robert Clark Trust Fellow for Middle East Peace in the Chicago office. Danny shares reflections about his service in this piece. In related news, Jennifer Bing, who co-directs AFSC’s Middle East Peace Program, has helped launch Quaker Palestine Israel Network, or QPIN. In addition, AFSC offers this new background paper on Gaza under siege.

Ending our “democracy shutdown”
“People across the nation are becoming increasingly upset about our centuries long ‘democracy shutdown’ -- the immobility and stagnation of government to represent the interests and need of the public.” So argues Greg Coleridge, Director of AFSC’s Northeast Ohio Political and Economic Justice Program, in this recent opinion piece.

Welcoming Kenia Calderon to AFSC
If you’re an immigrant or refugee seeking affordable immigration legal services in Central Iowa, chances are you might speak with Kenia Calderon, who provides administrative support to AFSC’s Immigration Legal Services Program. A “Dreamer” from El Salvador, Kenia shares in this video why she’s glad to be doing this work 

Chicago Taxi Worker Program
According to Fayez Khozindar, who directs AFSC’s taxi worker organizing program in Chicago, an attorney from Boston has offered to come and meet with the United Taxidriver Community Council steering committee to talk about the possibility of taking legal action against the taxicab companies. A similar case resulted in a court order to freeze $200 million and the assets of the largest taxi fleet owners in Boston.

Kansas Citians urged to “Redeem the Dream”
“But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.” Ira Harritt, who directs AFSC’s peace work in Kansas City, thus quotes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in this reflection on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Iowans join the world in saying “No” to war in Syria
This fall brought a flurry of peace work to Iowa as AFSC and other groups rallied to halt the push for U.S. military involvement in Syria. One vigil in Des Moines brought out 150 people, 115 of whom stayed around afterwards to sign a peace petition to Congress and volunteer for future peace events.

McConnell Fund supports youth work in the Midwest
Michael McConnell’s vision of youth work for peace and justice in AFSC’s Midwest Region lives on, thanks to your support. Please consider a gift to the Michael McConnell Youth Internship Fund.

Ideas for future Midwest Digests?
Please send ideas for future Digests to Jon at Thanks for being involved!