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Midwest Digest October 2020

Highlights of work from around the region

StL Real Student Safety Youth Art Showcase
Photo: / AFSC

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Youth Art Showcase focuses on #RealStudentSafety
A new art effort from AFSC St. Louis is asking students: “What would you do to create #RealStudentSafety if you could redirect the money used for your school district’s policing, security and safety services?” St. Louis Public Schools spend more than $6 million each year on “security services.” Young people ages 14-21 are asked to complete this form, learn more about these issues, submit an art piece and share about their work at an upcoming showcase. This showcase builds on AFSC’s work in support of #RealStudentSafety.

Art event to promote healing for youth of color in the Twin Cities
The AFSC Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR) program in the Twin Cities is hosting an art event this Thursday, October 8. From Facebook: “Too often, youth of color are forced to suppress their creativity in times that matter most. Join us in our Canvas and Cider event to return to our humanness as we heal through art. We know that art is a form of rest and revolution for us and for our future. Mask required!” Register here.

Art exhibit in Chicago traces the path from Attica to Abolition
In Chicago, AFSC recently installed an exhibit entitled “From Attica to Abolition” in a gallery and mutual aid hub that has considerable foot traffic and outdoor COVID-safe activities. Staff wheat-pasted AFSC’s graphics around the community, distributed this new 'zine, and encouraged people to attend the webinars. We also organized a banner build in support of an action led by a partner, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Folks who attended the action learned about AFSC’s #FreeThemAll campaigns locally. Check out this FTA webinar and round-up of actions.


Michigan acts in solidarity with women in prison
The AFSC Michigan Criminal Justice Program organized a #FreeThemAll caravan of more than 40 cars to Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility, chanting and cheering in solidarity with the people incarcerated there. One of the women who participated in the action from inside the prison wrote that “the entire small yard behind our housing unit was able to wave, say our thanks and, of course, more tears than could be counted fell from our eyes. I am beyond humbled and thankful — you may never realize the impact you made on us all.” AFSC is continuing our advocacy for legislation in support of pregnant prisoners and community oversight. Take action.

Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz at AFSC’s #FreeThemAll rally in Des Moines.

AFSC Iowa stands in solidarity with the Black Liberation Movement
AFSC in Iowa has issued this statement of solidarity with the Black Liberation Movement following the arrest of a BLM organizer in conjunction with a #FreeThemAll rally and march organized by AFSC in Des Moines. Read more from the Des Moines Register and the Iowa Informer. Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz co-led a recent webinar on “Re-Imagining an America that Welcomes Immigrants and Refugees.” (Scroll down on this link and enter the passcode. Alejandro begins speaking at the 30-minute mark.)


Speaking up for Palestinian rights
Jennifer Bing of AFSC’s Palestine Activism Program joined with allies at a recent press conference in Chicago to denounce the UAE and Bahrain normalization agreements with Israel. “We gather to protest yet another US attempt to broker a Middle East plan that ignores human rights, international law, and the desire of people to live in freedom,” Jennifer said. Read more from AFSC. Fellow Chicago staffer Jehad Abusalim was a plenary speaker at a recent Social Innovation Summit, a “global gathering of dreamers and doers.”


Short Takes
The Omaha Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Committee and allies recently welcomed the TPS Alliance bus journey to Omaha….Take action now to push Congress to include immigrants in any Coronavirus relief package….Check out AFSC’s Defund Hate messaging toolkit and resources for Radical Acting in Faith for White People….Iowans gathered last month to remember the remarkable life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and celebrate the International Day of Peace (video and photos)….AFSC encourages everyone to share your message of hope.

Grateful for your support
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