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Midwest Digest September 2020

Highlights of work from around the region

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

You’re invited to help #FreeThemAll
Please join AFSC in days of action happening now to free people from prisons, jails and detention centers. Find an event near you, and register for our “Call to Reflection and Worship to #FreeThemAll” to be held online this Sunday, September 13, at 6:30 pm CT.

The latest newsletter from the Michigan Criminal Justice Program includes a #FreeThemAll “CARavan at Women’s Huron Valley Prison” on September 12, a “State of Solitary Webinar: A Discussion on Ending Segregation in Michigan” on September 25, and an update on AFSC’s Good Neighbor Project. Watch a recent webinar entitled “I Don’t Want to Die in Prison” and read the report by the same name, co-written by AFSC.


New anthology to explore a better future for Gaza
Jennifer Bing of AFSC’s Palestine Activism Program shares her excitement about a new book anthology tentatively entitled Gaza: Reimagining the Boundaries of Possibility. “The goal of the anthology is to explore whether a better future for Gaza can be imagined as a part of a broad vision of ending the Nakba through return, restoration of rights, and achieving justice,” Jennifer writes. “We hope this book will reaffirm Gaza's place in the identity, conscience, and history of the Palestinian people.” AFSC is also excited to co-sponsor American Muslims for Palestine’s (AMP) Virtual Palestine Advocacy Days September 14-18. Please consider signing up!



Iowans respond to a derecho -- on top of the pandemic
Last month, winds up to 140 miles per hour devastated many parts of Iowa. In this Facebook Live video, Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz, an organizer with AFSC Iowa and Iowa Movement for Migrant Justice, reports on the massive destruction in Cedar Rapids and encourages people to support a sister organization, EMBARC, as they assist hard-hit immigrants and refugees. Alejandro is also quoted in this Iowa Public Radio story about the effects of COVID-19 on mental health.


Wiley Price/St. Louis American

Pushing to end policing in St. Louis Public Schools
The latest newsletter from AFSC in St. Louis features work to end policing in St. Louis Public Schools. In this opinion piece, Potts Intern Sarah Nash writes: “In St. Louis, there is a growing grassroots campaign of local students, parents, teachers, and activists working together to advocate for and demand necessary change in our schools. In St. Louis, however, unlike in many other cities and school districts, our leadership has not taken decisive action to protect the wellbeing of our young people.” Watch this Facebook Live presentation and this short video, and sign this petition today.
 

 

S.I.T. Down to Stand Up training helps Twin Cities youth resist racism
“Truth and Reconciliation” was the concluding theme of four days of AFSC/YUIR training in the Twin Cites. The training was designed to listen to youth and talk about ways to organize against racist systems. From Facebook: “Our youth leader started a meditation exercise to reclaim our breath and resist racism….Afterwards we had a conversation about for-profit vs non-profit, and thought of and presented our business ideas for our new community post-uprising. These youth are definitely our next entrepreneurs! Ebelin Morales of AFSC guided us through making a mural as an offering to the George Floyd Memorial.”

 

From Attica to Abolition webinar traces path of work to #FreeThemAll
Chicagoans Debbie Southorn and Mary Zerkel were among several AFSC staff and partners who participated in a recent webinar examining the urgent need to end mass incarceration and embrace new community approaches to safety. Debbie also shares this Facebook video about work to get police out of Chicago schools, and Mary provides these instructions on mask-making.

Short Takes
Here are some ways to stay safer at protests….Friends participate in Bell Tolling for Black Lives….AFSC has joined with others in urging progressive groups to drop the Anti-Defamation League as an ally….AFSC urges presidential candidates to support peace and diplomacy with North Korea….Iowans took part in recent nationwide protests in support of saving the US Postal Service.

Grateful for your support
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