Skip to content Skip to navigation

Midwest Digest August 2020

Highlights of work from around the region

Dancing in the streets of Chicago
Dancing in the streets of Chicago Photo: Sarah-Ji/@loveandatrugglephotos / AFSC

To view the Digest as a PDF, please click here.

Chicago students organize to get cops out of schools
“The fight to remove cops from schools in Chicago is one articulation of the larger fight to defund policing and invest in Black communities instead,” writes Debbie Southorn. “And the students organizing for #CopsOutCPS are strategizing accordingly.” Mary Zerkel invites us all to reimagine community safety by creating safe alternatives to policing. AFSC co-signed this letter on removing Federal officers from Portland.


Summer Intensive Training (SIT): August 18-21 in the Twin Cities
SIT Down to Stand Up will be a four-day YUIR/AFSC intensive in which Black youth in the Twin Cities will become part of the solution to rebuilding their community. It will feature building a systems and race analysis, trauma-based training, and including young people in the rebuilding process of their city, so that they can engage in systems conversations, healing conversations and entrepreneurship. Read Shanene Herbert’s thoughts on working with young people in the aftermath of George Floyd’s lynching.

Virtual Learning Sessions on Abolition planned in St. Louis
AFSC St. Louis is organizing Virtual Learning Sessions on Abolition for young people ages 14-21 interested in learning about abolition, deepening their awareness, and connecting with other young people organizing for #RealStudentSafety in St. Louis area schools. Please share this interest form. Check out this coverage of an AFSC co-sponsored action led by Jonathan Pulphus and this interview with Joshua Saleem about his racial justice activism.

Berenice Nava gives an update on DACA.

Standing up for people with DACA and meatpacking workers
Berenice Nava, AFSC Iowa Administrative Assistant, provides this update in English on DACA. Here’s AFSC’s press release on the Trump Administration’s renewed attack on DACA and our action alert in support of permanent protection for DACA recipients. AFSC’ Iowa’s work in support of workers rights continues to receive attention, including the Washington Post and the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.


Jacq Williams speaks on the need to decarcerate prisons and jails. 

Michigan staff on decarceration, voting access and abolition
In this two-minute audio excerpt, Jacq Williams describes the current triple threat of racial injustice, the COVID-19 pandemic and mass incarceration. Demetrious Titus shares this video and non-partisan voting guide from the Voting Access for All Coalition. And Natalie Holbrook offers this presentation on prison abolition.


New video recalls Free Gaza Chicago River Flotilla
This new seven-minute film features the 2019 “Free Gaza Chicago River Flotilla,” AFSC’s Gaza Unlocked project, and staffer Jehad Abusalim. The film coincides with the first anniversary of the flotilla and marks six years since the Israeli military’s horrific 51-day assault on Gaza. In addition, AFSC and the No Way to Treat a Child campaign are mentioned in this article about the struggle for justice for Palestine, and Jennifer Bing is interviewed about AFSC’s work on Muslim Network TV.


Peter Clay, a Des Moines Friend, prepares to lay a flower at the Japanese Bell
as part of the 75th anniversary of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Short Takes
Iowans marked the 75th anniversary of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – see video, TV coverage and photos….A Skill Up webinar on telling compelling stories is set for August 12….National Days of Action to #FreeThemAll are set for September 9-13….Join Amnesty International in calling on Israel to release Palestinian human rights defender Mahmoud Nawajaa, the General Coordinator of the BDS movement….The summer edition of AFSC’s engaging Alumni Newsletter is now online….AFSC marks the passing of Owen Newlin, a Des Moines Friend and AFSC alum. Owen served with AFSC in Europe following World War II, led a fair-housing project in the 1950s, and later served on AFSC’s Board and Corporation.

Grateful for your support
Your gifts of time and money make a real difference. Please support AFSC by donating now; please consider becoming a Partner for Peace by donating monthly. Thanks for sharing this subscription link for the Midwest Digest, and check out AFSC Midwest on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Thanks!


Make a gift by Sept 30

We need your help to support pandemic relief and speak truth to power in the year ahead!

Give Now →