By Lucy Duncan
Published: April 25, 2014

In the Mar Vista housing project, residents are not allowed to plant food or flowers in their yards.  When I was in Los Angeles in February, Carlos “Elmo” Gomez, who works with AFSC, showed me his home where he had planted corn, rosemary, tomatoes, and beans. A few weeks later the housing authority came and pulled up and scattered all his plants. 

That didn’t stop Elmo, though. He continued to advocate for and with residents to have places to grow food. The day we visited he showed me the fenced in yard in which residents, with the...

By Bonnie Kerness
Published: April 18, 2014

Note: Bonnie Kerness presented this talk at the Woodrow Willson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in March. Her talk was one of a number of events organized around the exhibition of Artwork by Prisoners featuring the collages of Ojore Lutalo.  The announcement of the exhibit said,"Ojore, once a member of the Black Liberation Army, was incarcerated in the Trenton State Prison from 1986 though 2009. Lutalo was in the management control unit (solitary confinement) for...

By Madeline Schaefer
Published: April 10, 2014

Reading the short stories from the new book, “Gaza Writes Back: Short stories from Young Writers in Gaza, Palestine,” I was struck by the stories’ deep humanity. 

The fictional pieces connect the reader not only to the daily threat of violence, dispossession and oppression experienced daily in the Gaza strip—they connect the reader to the minds and hearts of the Palestinian people, full of passion, humility and power, despite the odds. 

I was reminded that this struggle for justice in...

By Lucy Duncan
Published: April 4, 2014

Note: Here is a slide show of the 2014 AFSC Corporation Meeting, the theme of which was, "Working Steadfastly for Peace in Israel-Palestine." Friends from throughout the United States gathered to learn together with AFSC staff, to conduct business, and to worship together. One Friend said, "I value the work of talented, dedicated staff and volunteers at all levels. I value the role of spirit/worship in AFSC's work. This meeting has been one of the best experiences of my life." Hopefully these photos convey the spirit and energy of the meeting. For more information about the meeting,...

By Madeline Schaefer
Published: March 26, 2014

If you hang around Quaker circles long enough, you are likely to pick up on an often unexpressed tension between what are called the “mystics” and the “activists;" those who express their faith by doing, by acting in the world, by addressing social concerns, and those who prefer to express their faith through contemplation, conversation, and other spiritual practices. 

Both of these expressions of faith are absolutely crucial for a world transformed, both spiritually and socially.  When combined, they lead to the development of real, human relationships that plant the...