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Midwest Digest December 2020

Highlights of work from around the region

Carving Out Rights in the Prison Industrial Complex
Photo: / AFSC

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Chicago event to kick off #FreeThemAll Days of Action Dec. 10-18
Join us on December 10, International Human Rights Day, to celebrate Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project’s forthcoming book Carving Out Rights From Inside the Prison Industrial Complex and launch AFSC’s #FreeThemAll Days of Action for mass release of those in prisons, jails and detention centers.


Focusing on real community safety
On a recent AFSC Facebook Live, Page May of Assata’s Daughters joined Debbie Southorn of AFSC to talk about their work to remove cops from Chicago schools and defund police. Sign up now for a December 15 train-the-trainers webinar on “Community Safety: Alternatives to Policing.” Read Mary Zerkel’s tips on how to talk about defunding the police, , , Debbie’s report on supporting youth organizers during COVID-19, and how you can support this work while sporting a nifty t-shirt.

Twin Cities program seeks youth board members
Do you know any young people in the Twin Cities who are interested in grassroots community organizing? If so, please point them to AFSC’s Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR) on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to learn more about a new youth board focused on dismantling systemic oppression in their cities. If you’re interested in learning more about AFSC’s Healing Justice Program or supporting it financially, please visit our Give to the Max page.


Working to cure violence and change the norms in St. Louis
On Instagram, Jonathan Pulphus of AFSC interviews Brother Hassan, a violence interrupter with Cure Violence. “Violence is like a disease, like with an alcoholic or drug addict,” Hassan says. “If you don’t treat your disease, if you don’t get on top of your disease, it will get on top of you.” Stay tuned for an AFSC survey asking people’s thoughts on police and security in schools, school discipline, and budget priorities.


Standing in solidarity with loved ones in prison
The latest newsletter of the AFSC Michigan Criminal Justice Program includes a number of updates about work in unity with friends, family members and loved ones in Michigan’s prisons. Check out #LetMIPeopleGo for more on a recent Twitterstorm, which became an issue at a later press conference with Gov. Whitmer. Read the program’s latest letter to the governor regarding the urgent need to save people’s lives in prison and share this survey about conditions and concerns in prisons.


Iowans decry horrific treatment of workers during the pandemic
In this opinion piece in the Des Moines Register, Erica Johnson and Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz of AFSC say that Tyson Foods, Governor Kim Reynolds, and Iowa OSHA all share responsibility for gambling with the lives of meatpacking workers during COVID-19. Read more about Alejandro’s story and a joint complaint about failure to ensure worker safety. This front-page story about DACA features comments from several young AFSC alumni and Jody Mashek, Legal Services Director.

Zeina Ashrawi Hutchison, left, and Shaina Low, activists for Palestinian human rights

Promoting the human rights of the Palestinian people
November marked the third anniversary of the introduction of the first congressional bill in U.S. history promoting Palestinian human rights. Jennifer Bing talks with two activists involved in our No Way to Treat a Child (NWTC) campaign on the progress we’ve made and their personal stories. Sign up for the next NWTC webinar on December 8 with national AFSC staff connecting our NWTC efforts with work in the US to release people from prisons, jails, and detention centers—and move toward a future without incarceration. Jennifer also shares highlights from last week’s moving Interfaith Service in Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Dartanyan Brown creates a sign at a #MaskUpIowa rally outside the
governor’s mansion in Des Moines. Dart wrote this opinion piece.

Short takes
The donation of AFSC’s building in Dayton to the local chapter of the NAACP was covered in the Dayton Daily News and Dayton Most Metro….Check out AFSC’s new Under the Mask podcast….Learn more about work to Defund Hate….Don Davis of AFSC’s Archives recently served on a panel talking about the Scattergood hostel during WWII….The Poor People’s Campaign held a Moral Mondays car caravan encircling the Iowa Capitol.

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