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Midwest Digest April 2021

Highlights of work from around the region

Youth, Schools and Policing - St. Louis
Photo: / AFSC

Asking tough questions of school board candidates
Working with AFSC in St. Louis, students have been asking questions of all 10 candidates currently running for the SLPS School Board on April 6. Here’s a website and voter's guide with all of the questions and candidate responses. Jonathan Pulphus shares these updates on St. Louis work, and Joshua Saleem shares his thoughts about restorative justice (beginning at the 31:25 mark) and restorative education practices.

Celebrating Black Joy
What is Black Joy? Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR) in the Twin Cities asked some community members to share their thoughts ahead of a recent Black Joy^2 Conference. YUIR is also sharing updates on Facebook and Instagram regarding the trial of the police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd.

Confronting anti-Asian violence
Anti-Asian attacks and harassment are once again on the rise, ranging from xenophobic rhetoric to several cases of physical violence. Mary Zerkel of Chicago recently joined AFSC colleagues Joan Marshall-Missiye and Joelle Lingat for a conversation about what has been fueling the uptick in racist hate and what we can do to intervene. Click here for updates on peacebuilding work in Chicago, and register for our April 8 webinar on Policing and Surveillance.

What you need to know about Palestinian elections
Jehad Abusalim of AFSC will facilitate an April 6 conversation about the upcoming Palestinian elections with three Palestinian human rights policy analysts and activists. On April 13, Jennifer Bing of AFSC and Zeina Ashrawi Hutchison will lead a discussion on the No Way to Treat a Child campaign. Students in Canada recently interviewed Jehad and Jennifer on their work for Palestinian human rights (click for podcast or video). And four young people in Gaza recently shared about their dreams.

Women and the impact of incarceration
Natalie Holbrook of the Michigan Criminal Justice Program recently joined AFSC colleagues Anyango Gregory and Bonnie Kerness to discuss work to address violence in women’s prisons, the traumatic experiences of those incarcerated and their loved ones, and efforts to find alternatives to incarceration. On April 12, Demetrius Titus of AFSC-MI will join other staff to talk about #FreeThemAll: How we are living into the call to free folks in the context of COVID-19 and beyond.

Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice takes flight!
After nearly three years of planning, the AFSC Iowa Immigrant Rights Program and Iowa Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON) have joined to form a new organization, Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice (IMMJ). Check out their new website and Facebook page along with stories about IMMJ on WOI-TV, Iowa Public Radio,  Radio Iowa. Here’s a photo tribute to former AFSC staff, whom we send off with our thanks and love.

Short takes
Iowans gathered recently (above) to remember the victims of the mass shooting in Atlanta and pledge resistance to anti-Asian violence. AFSC staff share their reflections….Read Lucy Duncan’s Quaker Call to Abolition and Creation, check out the AFSC Corporation events April 11-15, and invite AFSC to present a workshop at your yearly or monthly meeting or church….Blogger Jeff Kisling shares these thoughts about AFSC’s Quaker Social Change Ministry.

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