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Midwest Digest 2022

Highlights of work from around the region

Alicia Brown and Maricela Garcia
Alicia Brown, left, AFSC’s inaugural Michael McConnell Peace with Justice Youth Organizing Fellow, with Maricela Garcia Photo: / AFSC

Fellowship celebration in Chicago

In April, Chicago Peacebuilding had the immense privilege of celebrating our inaugural Michael McConnell Peace with Justice Youth Fellow, Alicia Brown, at Wellington UCC. We’re so grateful to all of the supporters who attended, to Maricela Garcia (Michael’s spouse) for sharing such moving words with us, and to Ann Louise Haak and everyone at Wellington who made it such a welcoming space.

Alicia spoke about her journey as a young person navigating the violence of our criminal legal system. She shared her poetry and offered moving testimony she’s been hearing from young people currently incarcerated through the focus groups she’s leading during her fellowship.

We’re beyond lucky to have such a caring, passionate, and inspiring young leader on our team. Congratulations, Alicia! Glad that we’re just getting started together. If you’d like to help ensure we can continue to offer this youth organizing position for years to come, please consider donating today and/or pledging for an annual donation.

Read more updates from AFSC’s peacebuilding work in Chicago. Follow on Instagram to meet the team coordinating their first-ever summer youth organizing institute!


Faith leaders call on Congress to protect Palestinian human rights

On April 26, Rep. Betty McCollum joined Christian faith leaders and organizations for a virtual briefing to discuss the importance of promoting justice, equality and human rights for Palestinian children and families (view the recording,  media coverage and letter from faith leaders).

Rep. McCollum spoke about H.R.2590, which would prohibit Israeli authorities from using U.S. taxpayer funds to detain and torture Palestinian children, demolish, and seize Palestinian homes, and further annex Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

Join AFSC and our partner, Defense for Children International-Palestine, for the next No Way to Treat a Child webinar at 11 am CT on May 17. That same evening at 7 pm CT, join Jennifer Bing of AFSC for The Struggle for Justice for Palestinian Children.


Theresa Dunlap and her daughter-in-law, Takeyla

Michiganders urged to tell their governor: Commute Theresa Dunlap’s sentence

The Michigan Criminal Justice Program is asking people to tell Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to use her executive powers to commute the sentence of Theresa Dunlap. Theresa is a 66-year-old woman who has served 46 years in prison. She was recently diagnosed with stage IV metastatic lung cancer. Even before this diagnosis, Ms. Theresa was more than ready to come back to the community. She has been ready to be a productive and loving neighbor and family member.  

Now, she has limited time left. If you live in Michigan, click here to send a letter to Gov. Whitmer.

As the leader of Michigan, Gov. Whitmer is responsible for caring deeply about what happens to people once they are sentenced to our state prison system and setting policy priorities that align with the values of her platform. She believes in racial justice and has worked to implement task forces and policies that reflect her vision of racial equity and reconciliation.

Urge Gov. Whitmer to use her clemency power and speedily give Ms. Theresa and those who come after her compassionate release. 


Mouhamed Ly (left) and Sienna Yazdi

Youth Advocates welcome new members

In the May issue of the St. Louis newsletter, Jonathan Pulphus writes that, in April 2022, we were pleased to have confirmed two scholars to the Youth Advocates for Healing and Liberation. Their names are Mouhamed Ly (17 y/o) and Sienna Yazdi (15 y/o). Both are currently students at University City High School and are involved in activities in and out of school. They were able to join us for our monthly gathering and will be working alongside us moving forward. Welcome!

Alvina Cummings joins Youth Cohort in the Twin Cities

From AFSC Twin Cities’ Facebook and Instagram: Alvina Cummings is among the 12 members of AFSC’s amazing Youth Board Cohort of 2022-23. Alvina writes, “I’m 16 and I’m excited to be part of YUIR because I get to learn more about Black history, specifically Black history that isn’t talked about in schools. I want to know more about real Black history and not the sugarcoated/whitewashed version. I want to gain as much knowledge as possible.”


The state of worker’s rights in Iowa

From the latest update on AFSC Iowa alums at Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice: On May 1st we celebrated International Workers' Day! Join our community organizer, Alejandro, and our board president, Vanessa, as they discuss the State of Workers' Rights in Iowa on Friday, May 6 at 12 pm CT. Register here.

Short takes

Sign this petition in support of reproductive rights…. From May 2-22 to honor Mother’s Day, AFSC will join partners across the country for a month of action to bring the force of love to the walls of jails, prisons, and detention centers. Visit our #FreeThemAll page…. The Quaker United Nations Office is engaging young people (ages 18-26) to help shape the work of the UN on peace, youth, and security. We will be gathering input from young people in the U.S. during a Zoom listening session on May 31. If you are interested in participating, please fill out this brief survey.

Grateful for your support

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