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Midwest Digest January 2022

Highlights of work from around the region

Natalie Holbrook at the Michigan Capitol October 2021
Natalie Holbrook speaks at a rally in support of Second Look legislation at the Michigan Capitol on October 14, 2021. Photo: Shakeb Ahmad / AFSC

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Expanding maternal and post-partum health care in prisons

Michigan recently announced policy changes affecting pregnant people in prisons. These include limiting the use of restraints on pregnant people and allowing parents more time with newborns. Natalie Holbrook of the Michigan Criminal Justice Program writes that the changes came after people in prison shared their stories and advocated for more humane treatment.


The No Way to Treat a Child campaign looks back at ’21, ahead to ‘22

Our collective efforts to end the Israeli detention of Palestinian children are making a difference, writes Jennifer Bing of the Palestine Activism Program in Chicago. This year, we have seen unprecedented congressional support for bold legislation on behalf of Palestinian rights. And we’re bringing in more faith groups and organizations as partners into our advocacy efforts. Join the next No Way to Treat a Child webinar on Tuesday, January 11 at 7 pm CT as we look at advocacy plans for 2022.


Confronting racism in education – and seeking new Youth Board members

AFSC Twin Cities Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR) recently held a youth-focused critical conversation about racism in education. The virtual event covered topics such as the increase in the use of the N-word by white students and faculty, the experience of microaggressions, and the battle against teaching critical race theory. The deadline for applications for Youth Board members is January 14.


Holiday card writing shows love, support, and the need for community

From Joshua Saleem of the AFSC St. Louis Peacebuilding Program: For the second year in a row, St. Louis staff gathered with youth and others to write cards to young people at area juvenile detention centers. While this was intended to show love and support to them during the holidays, it was also an opportunity to talk with the community about a world where we respond to harm with community and restoration rather than isolation and exclusion. We were also joined by staff from Legal Services of Eastern Missouri who shared information about their EdRights app, which helps students and parents understand and exercise their rights in schools.


Alicia Brown, left, of AFSC Chicago and Chia-Chia Wang of AFSC Newark

Work in Chicago and across the country to #FreeThemAll

AFSC and communities across the country have been working tirelessly to reduce the number of people behind bars and #FreeThemAll. Alicia Brown, the new Michael McConnell Peace with Justice Fellow with the Chicago Peacebuilding Program, joined AFSC colleagues on this Facebook Live to talk about the Final 5 Campaign’s noise demonstration outside the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.


Former AFSC Iowa intern Maria Corona née Alcivar films a 2019 immigrant rights press conference at the Iowa Capitol.

Former AFSC Iowa interns in the news

Maria Corona, currently executive director of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, is among the Des Moines Register’s 2022 People to Watch. Alejandro “Ale” Murguia-Ortiz’s family is profiled in this Iowa Public Radio segment about Covid and meatpacking workers; Ale recently announced his run for state senate. Read the latest movement update from other AFSC alums with Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice and check out Quaker blogger Jeff Kisling’s report and photos from a rally in Des Moines in solidarity with the people of Wet’suwet’en.

Short takes

AFSC remembers Desmond Tutu….Read about AFSC’s delivery of aid to elders in Gaza….Check out these resources from our Under the Mask campaign….AFSC joined with other faith organizations to sign a letter to President Biden regarding sanctions and the Covid vaccine….Learn why U.S. Senators should reject the Parliamentarian’s ruling and create a pathway to Citizenship for All.

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