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Midwest Digest October 15, 2017

Midwest Digest October 15, 2017

Published: October 15, 2017
St. Louis activists protest following the not-guilty verdict in the police killing of Anthony Lamar Smith.

St. Louis activists protest following the not-guilty verdict in the police killing of Anthony Lamar Smith.

Photo: AFSC / Joshua Saleem

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

Working, not waiting, for justice

At a recent AFSC school workshop in St. Louis, students were asked, “If you could change one thing about the world to make it a better place, what would it be?" One 17-year-old responded, “I would stop crooked cops who think they can do whatever they want.” AFSC is working with those who are tired of waiting for justice, as Joshua Saleem writes in this story about protesting yet another not-guilty verdict in the police killing of a person of color. We’re hiring for this work, too—the application deadline is October 27.

Schools for kids, not for cops

AFSC Chicago’s Peacebuilding program, in partnership with the young Black leaders of Assata's Daughters, is leading a campaign to stop a new $95 million police academy. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel presided over closing 50 public schools, and the city continues to spend $4 million per day on policing. The campaign and hashtag #NoCopAcademy have been featured in this article and video and supported by Chance the Rapper. AFSC staffer Debbie Southorn also penned this piece on the surveillance state.

From the Midwest to the Mideast

“There can be no illusions where Gaza is concerned,” writes Brant Rosen, Regional Director of AFSC’s Midwest Region at the end of a recent visit there. “As I leave for home, I’m more convinced than ever that we are all complicit in this cruelty – and that we are the ones who must end it.”

Jennifer Bing, who directs the Chicago Middle East Program for AFSC, encourages people to watch a recent Quaker Palestine Israel Network (QPIN) webinar on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Visit AFSC’s Gaza Unlocked website for extensive resources and action ideas.

Jennifer will speak at an October 21 conference in Minneapolis entitled Parallel Liberation Struggles: Lessons in Resistance. And don’t forget AFSC’s Centennial Celebration in Chicago on November 16 featuring General Secretary Joyce Ajlouny.

Speaking of Gaza...

This new video describes how AFSC Indiana intern Mark Williams is working with students at Butler University to share and build their knowledge about the reality of life in Gaza. AFSC Indiana received an award from one of our partners, the Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance, last week. Staffers Tatjana and Umaymah accepted it on our behalf. AFSC is hosting a Bystander Training on October 17 to talk about practical and tactical solutions to ensure people are better prepared to intervene and stop oppression and harassment.

Changing the narrative on former prisoners

The AFSC Michigan Criminal Justice Program held focus groups recently to collect the stories of men and women who served long time in Michigan's prisons and are now out in the community, doing well and contributing to society. Check out Monica Jahner’s story. AFSC also partnered with Common Justice to present “Accounting for Violence: How to Increase Safety and Break Our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration.” And click here for photos from AFSC’s Centennial Celebration in Ann Arbor.

Refusing to settle for nice words, Iowans push for more

You could have heard a pin drop immediately following the Des Moines City Council’s recent adoption of a “Compassionate Community Proclamation” that falls far short of the substantive Welcoming City resolution pushed by AFSC and partners over the past five months. Immigrants and advocates are demanding, among many things, real restrictions on local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Here are photos. Earlier, AFSC Iowa filed an open records request with the City to demand more transparency about its process.

In two separate stories, Iowa Public Radio quoted staffers Jody Mashek and Erica Johnson on challenges faced by immigrant youth with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that will begin to phase out in March unless Congress acts. Erica also co-authored this piece in the Des Moines Register about 180 faith leaders’ plea for humane immigration reform.

AFSC’s Centennial Celebration in Des Moines is set for November 18. Join us as we welcome Joyce Ajlouny and keynote speaker and Sanctuary leader Jeanette Vizguerra, one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2017.

Support for the upcoming SOA Watch Encuentro

Dominique Diaddigo-Cash, an AFSC staffer from the Twin Cities, encourages people to attend the SOA Watch Encuentro November 10-12 in Nogales. He writes: “Your heartfelt and committed endorsement of the SOA Watch Encuentro is not only a gift to the movement, but a crucial step forward in connecting grassroots movements and pushing our struggles forward.”

Ohio governor extends term of commissioners

Migwe Kimemia, who directs AFSC’s work in Dayton, reports that Gov. John Kasich has reappointed four African commissioners for a full three-year term. “This action is very encouraging because the AFSC Dayton Program Advisory Committee was concerned about the motive behind the short-term appointments the governor made last summer,” Migwe said.

Friends encourage diplomacy with North Korea

A recent Des Moines Register editorial in support of diplomacy rather than nuclear war cites the 2001 visit of a North Korean agricultural delegation with Iowa Friends. Retired AFSC Regional Director Eloise Cranke responded with this letter, and Bear Creek Friends issued this invitation. Dan Jasper of AFSC explains why opening more channels is a good idea.

Short takes, part 1

Midwest Executive Committee member Paul Ricketts of Ft. Wayne writes about his recent visit to Ghana with the
Fellowship of Friends of African Descent….We encourage you to take part in a No Muslim Ban Ever day of social media advocacy on October 18….November 16 is the date for the next Sanctuary Everywhere webinar; join us in
learning how to create safer, more welcoming communities.

Short takes, part 2

Brant Rosen’s challenging blogs on abolishing police and prisons and confronting white supremacy are well worth a read….AFSC’s media research team brings you these posts on the Las Vegas shooting and how to talk about
immigration and Islamophobia….Click here to support relief for Hurricane Irma survivors in Florida….and a Scattergood Friends School graduate and former AFSC intern has created this video on the “war on drugs.”

Thanks as always for your support

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