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Midwest Digest September 2021

Highlights of work from around the region

Jawan Hayes at left, his mother Angela, and his brother William
Jawan Hayes at left, his mother Angela, and his brother William Photo: / AFSC

To view the Digest as a PDF, click here.

Working to free people with long sentences from prisons in Michigan

“My grandmother and mother are my heroes,” writes Jawan Hayes about his life before prison. “The life skills they instilled in me as a young boy such as how to treat women, how to get a summer job, and how to be independent are ones I still use as a 40-year-old man.” Jawan’s story is one of many shared with the AFSC Michigan Criminal Justice Program as part of its Let Me Tell You project. Read this update about AFSC’s work to support and free people with long sentences in Michigan.

 

Youth op-eds in St. Louis address food deserts, metal detectors, racism

Three people involved with AFSC’s Youth Council in St. Louis (shown above) recently wrote op-eds on ways schools can move away from punishment and towards support for students. “I had my first encounter with metal detectors as a second grader,” writes Yosiyah Griffin, now a sixth grader. Imagine me, barely four feet tall, barely 50 pounds, walking through what seemed like mile-high aluminum door frames that emitted a cacophony of blaring beeps…. They greeted me before any human did, and I was terrified.” Read more about AFSC’s recent work.

 

AFSC staff to address current conditions for Palestinians in Sept. 30 talk

“Current Conditions in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem” will feature AFSC staff Jehad Abusalim, Jennifer Bing and former intern Mai Khader Kakish on Thursday, September 30 at 7 pm CT. The talk is part of a series sponsored by St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church in Chicago; register here. Check out this new factsheet from AFSC on forced displacements and home demolitions.

 


Eyes Wide Open exhibit in Columbus, Ohio, 2006 Photo: Marq Anderson

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, AFSC looks at lasting impacts

The September newsletter of the Chicago Peacebuilding Program includes an action alert and donation opportunity in support of Afghans seeking safety. resources for educators to engage with their students around 9/11, and a blog by Mary Zerkel on the immediate aftermath of the events of September 11 – and how they set the stage for the escalation of violence and destruction by the US military that we continue to reckon with today. Check out AFSC’s Facebook Live reflecting on 20 years since 9/11 and this new video from AFSC’s Archives featuring Eyes Wide Open and other responses to countering militarism.

 

Twin Cities youth view and discuss “Miss Evers' Boys”

As part of its "The Revolution Will Be Televised” film series, AFSC’s Youth Undoing Institutional Racism watched Miss Evers' Boys in August. The movie covers America's shameful and disturbing legacy of experimenting on Black people as well as its lasting medical consequences on the generations that followed. The film was followed by a short discussion of the themes in the movie and how they relate to systemic racism. The event was held in person at North Community YMCA with all necessary Covid precautions.

 


AFSC alum Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz hosts a Facebook Live.

Iowans learn about writing powerful op-eds and letters to the editor

AFSC alumni with Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice (MMJ) recently hosted this Facebook Live on opinion writing with veteran Des Moines Register columnist Rekha Basu. Learn more about MMJ’s work in their most recent newsletter. The AFSC Midwest Region continues limited support for peace and justice work in Iowa, including last month’s long-standing vigil in remembrance of the US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the upcoming observance of the International Day of Peace, set for September 21 in Des Moines.

Short takes

Learn about AFSC’s efforts to “decolonize aid” and our grants to four international aid groups to protect civil space….Check out this book about AFSC’s work on housing issues in Chicago….Join a Faith Voices Call for Citizenship for All on Monday, Sept. 20 at 3 pm CT….Check out this AFSC Facebook Live on 50 Years Since the Attica Uprising and this related blog….Read AFSC’s denouncement of a recent House committee vote that would expand Selective Service to include women….This is a key time to tell Congress: Create a roadmap to citizenship for all immigrants!

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