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Midwest Digest February 2021

Highlights of work from around the region

Twin Cities YUIR online watch series
Twin Cities YUIR online watch series Photo: / AFSC

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

“The revolution will be televised” – watch parties set for February
AFSC-YUIR in the Twin Cities is excited to announce an online watch series for Saturdays in February, starting with Lean on Me on February 6 from 2-5 pm CT. Two local Black principals, Julius Eromosele of Hopkins North Junior High and Mauri Friestleban from North High School, will join us in a deep and engaging youth-led conversation about their experiences as Black leaders in the educational system. Please share this registration link with youth anywhere ages 14-24.

“The Radical King” – then and now
Jonathan Pulphus of AFSC St. Louis gave an inspired keynote address on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (In this video, he’s introduced at the 18:50 mark and begins speaking at 20:00.) The program’s January newsletter includes a survey on school discipline and the policing of students, and a recording of an AFSC webinar on alternatives to calling 911. On February 6, the program invites people to make special Valentine’s Day cards for school officials.

Why we should rethink calling white supremacist violence “terrorism”
Even after the Capitol attack on January 6, we must not reinforce policing that criminalizes Muslims and Black and Brown people, writes Mary Zerkel of AFSC Chicago. “Current usage of ‘terrorism’ and ‘domestic terrorism’ and resulting policies are part of the ‘war on terror’ framework launched after 9/11,” Mary says. That framework has had damaging consequences for Muslims and Arabs and has also been increasingly used to police Black Lives Matter and anti-fascist protesters. Mary is quoted here on the FBI’s expanded use of surveillance.

Iowan addresses “the future we need”
Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz, organizer with AFSC Iowa/Iowa JFON (soon to be Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice), joined a national panel of young people recently to address the future we need. (His remarks begin at the 24:50 mark.) AFSC and partners are working to defeat an E-Verify bill in the legislature, ensure protections for people working in meatpacking plants, and lift up the concerns of people incarcerated during the pandemic.

Pushing for COVID-19 vaccines for people incarcerated
The AFSC Michigan Criminal Justice Program has joined with partners in calling for Gov. Whitmer and the state Department of Health and Human Services to “prioritize people in prisons and jails for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, in tier one.” At least 125 people in Michigan prisons have now died, while nearly 60 percent of all people in the state’s prisons have tested positive. In other news, AFSC is collaborating with other social justice organizations in Michigan to address the cost of calls in the state.

COVID-19 and Palestinians living under Israeli occupation
Recently, AFSC offered a webinar hosted by Jehad Abusalim on the politics of COVID-19 and vaccination under Israeli occupation, featuring two Palestinian physicians and a policy analyst discussing the impact of the pandemic on Palestinian lives. More than five million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza await vaccination. The January webinar for the No Way to Treat a Child campaign looked at what’s ahead for the new Congress. Register now for the Tuesday, February 9 webinar at 7pm CT on how to engage elected officials on Palestinian rights.

Short takes
Learn more from Shanene Herbert and Lucy Duncan about AFSC’s Radical Acting in Faith for White People e-course….Read AFSC’s statement on the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and see these photos from a vigil and car caravan in Des Moines in support of the treaty….Check out the winter issue of AFSC’s Alumni newsletter….Explore AFSC’s new Under the Mask website for information on how governments are using COVID-19 to impose authoritarian policies – and how civil society is organizing in resistance.

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