By Korbin Felder, AFSC Michigan Program Associate
On November 9, 2017,, staff from AFSC's Midwest Region visited the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center as part of their regional staff retreat. They were hosted by the AFSC Michigan Criminal Justice Program, based out of Ypsilanti. The program advocates for thousands of men and women in Michigan’s prisons every year. Staff and volunteers work to make sure people in prison are receiving humane treatment during their incarceration and work to decarcerate Michigan’s prisons to end the state’s reliance on mass incarceration.
Midwest staff came from Chicago, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Dayton, Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis, and even one from the AFSC Central office in Philadelphia! These AFSC staff work across a wide spectrum of social justice work on issues ranging from the Israel-Palestine conflict to immigrant rights, anti-Islamophobia, police accountability and the school-to-rison pipeline.
At the Boggs Center, AFSC staff participated in a thought-provoking discussion with Boggs Center Board Member Rich Feldman. Rich explained the lives and work of James and Grace Lee Boggs in the city of Detroit. AFSC staff and Rich had the opportunity to discuss the social justice work that they are currently doing as well as learning about the current social change work happening in the city of Detroit supported by the Boggs Center.
During this discussion, AFSC staff and Rich explored strategies for social change and how we can look to the lessons of James and Grace Lee to help guide our work today. This conversation examined the current socio-political context we are living in. These social activists and advocates explored how to be “solutionary” in developing new strategies for the social change work of today.
For more information or to get involved with AFSC's work in Michigan, please contact Korbin at DFelder@afsc.org.