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Midwest Digest October 2021

Highlights of work from around the region

Twin Cities YUIR KYR on IG
From left: Keenan, Christian Snow, Brynne Crockett and Emanual Williams Photo: AFSC

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

Twin Cities YUIR hosts four-part Know Your Rights series

AFSC staff and partners in the Twin Cities have been holding robust conversations on Instagram “getting people the information they need as they’re out there trying to stand their ground and fight for their rights,” according to Brynne Crockett, AFSC Program Associate. Topics have included knowing your rights and limitations during encounters with the police; implications and ramifications of consenting; and accountability across jurisdictions, joined by Christian Snow, a civil rights and criminal defense attorney from Chicago. A train-the-trainers session is in the works for November.


Fellowship launched to honor the legacy of a creative peacemaker

Michael McConnell served as an AFSC Regional Director for 23 years prior to his passing in 2013. Wellington UCC and AFSC Chicago have come together to launch the Michael McConnell Peace with Justice Fellowship. In honor of Michael’s powerful legacy of working for social justice and his dedication to investing in the next generation of leaders, this Fellowship will create a new part-time position for a young, emerging, organizer with the AFSC Chicago team. Mentored by AFSC staff, the Fellow will work on the peacebuilding issues of ending police violence, incarceration and surveillance, and winning investments in community resources that help foster peace with justice. Applications are due October 15.


National campaign to focus on Israeli assault and ongoing siege of Gaza

On Thursday, October 7 at 11 am CT, join AFSC’s Palestine Activism Program and partners for the national launch of the Gaza is Palestine campaign and national peoples' hearing on the May 2021 Israeli assault, with testimonies from Gaza. Expert witnesses, including Jehad Abusalim of AFSC, will discuss how Israel escapes accountability, and a call to action will help us recommit to lifting the blockade on Gaza. Learn about more ways to connect with the Palestine Activism Program this fall, including the next No Way to Treat a Child webinar at 7 pm CT on Tuesday, October 12.


From left: Grace Griffin, Yosiyah Griffin and Cailan Wooten

Youth: Divest from racist, punitive measures and invest in schools

In the latest newsletter from St. Louis, Jonathan Pulphus of AFSC writes, “We hosted a workshop in August 2021 with our Youth Council members and worked on developing op-ed writing tied to reimagining safety in schools. Check out the eloquent and sharp responses from our scholars!” Grace Griffin writes about how the lack of healthy food in her community adversely impacts student learning. AFSC is also looking for caring adults to help guide our youth advocacy work and young people to apply for the second cohort of its Youth Council. The deadline for applications is October 10.


Rally for “Second Look” legislation in Michigan set for October 14

The latest newsletter from the Michigan Criminal Justice Program describes AFSC’s work with 29 partner groups in building the movement to end mass incarceration by reviewing people’s long sentences. As the Sentencing Project reports, “Over 200,000 people in U.S. prisons were serving life sentences in 2020—more people than were in prison with any sentence in 1970. Nearly half of the life-sentenced population is African American. Nearly one-third is age 55 or older.” On October 27, AFSC will offer a training on talking points for the #SecondLookMI campaign to bolster people’s messages and advocacy; a teach-in is set for October 30.


Bridges 2 Harmony, a gospel-style singing group, celebrates the International Day of Peace in Des Moines.

Short takes

Iowans recently observed the International Day of Peace in Des Moines….Here’s the latest update from AFSC alums at Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice….Natalie Holbrook of AFSC Michigan was recently honored by the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice for her 18 years of work “against the punishment system and for collective accountability”….Join the next AFSC Community Safety Beyond Policing webinar on Policing and the “War on Terror” set for Thursday, October 14 at 7 pm CT.

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