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Midwest Digest September 2022

Stories of work from around the region

Israeli soldiers raid the offices of Defense for Children International - Palestine on Aug. 18.  Photo: Courtesy of Defense for Children International - Palestine

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Act now to condemn Israel’s criminalization of Palestinian human rights orgs

Israel has shut down some of the world’s most respected Palestinian rights groups. This is a clear attempt to silence those who have exposed the government’s human rights abuses, writes Jennifer Bing and Mike Merryman-Lotze of AFSC. Now the U.S. must act to protect Palestinian civil society and demand accountability from Israel. Tell your representative to support H.Res. 751, which condemns Israel’s criminalization of human rights organizations and calls for an immediate reversal. Learn more from Jennifer on Al Jazeera and at the next No Way to Treat a Child webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 11 am CT. More summer updates are here.


AFSC Michigan staff. Photo: Doug Coombe

Highlighting humanity within prison walls

Earlier this summer, AFSC and partners launched Let Me Tell You, a storytelling initiative to highlight the experiences of people serving life and long-term prison sentences. “Most of our stories have been told by prosecutors and police,” says Mark McCloud, who contributed his story to the project. “This project gives incarcerated men and women an opportunity to let members in society know who we really are.” Learn more about this work from this article and video.


St. Louis youth to learn about, organize against systemic racism

During a September 24-25 Anti-Racist Youth Mixtape Freedom School, youth ages 12-25 will analyze systematic racism and take practical steps to organize against it. We will build relationships and practice healing from the oppressive systems at work in St. Louis and in America. Here’s the registration link and our latest newsletter.


Chicago’s WILD youth organizing institute wraps up

On Instagram, check out some reflections from our summer interns about Chicago’s WILD youth organizing institute. One young person summed it up in three words: “precious, joyful and ambitious.” Another described a direct-action workshop as “chaotic in a good way – it got us all creative around all the ways we can take action and why it is so important to work in a group.” Stay tuned for more information about future WILD meetups to keep building abolitionist campaigns in Chicago.


Meet Siham Abdi, a member of the Twin Cities Youth Board

In applying to serve on the Twin Cities Youth Board/YUIR, Siham wrote: “I would like to join the Youth Board because after attending It’s the Healing for Me and other events, I really enjoyed being in YUIR spaces. I have not been in a space where I have felt more welcome and accepted and felt as though I could be vulnerable even with people I have not known for long. I appreciate YUIR and the work you do, and I would love to be part of such an amazing organization.” Follow on Facebook and Instagram.


Webinar series to look at restorative justice

Restorative justice is based on the philosophy that we are all interconnected, that we live in relationship with one another, and that our actions impact each other. This September, AFSC is offering a three-session webinar series on restorative justice as part of our Community Safety Beyond Policing trainings. Participants will develop an understanding of restorative justice and its practices—and how to strengthen our communities through accountability. Register here.


Iowans ring the Japanese Bell in commemoration of Hiroshima-Nagasaki.

Short takes

AFSC staff, alums and partners gathered at the Japanese Bell in Des Moines to remember the US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (photos and article)….Here’s the latest update from AFSC alums at Iowa Movement for Migrant Justice….Apply today to serve as AFSC’s Quaker Engagement Director, Peacebuilding Director, Migration Director or Associate General Secretary for Global Cohesion….Catch this September 12 Cary lecture on Bayard Rustin.

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