As we approach the Jewish holy days, we are reminded of the phrase that initiates the Telling of the Story: Let all who are hungry come eat, let all who are oppressed, join us at the table of liberation. Unfortunately, if they are Palestinians living in the West Bank, they may need a special security clearance. That is the case for Palestinian workers who are employed by SodaStream, the increasingly popular home carbonation product sold in 39 countries in 35,000 stores worldwide.
When I think of well-known figures of AFSC’s past, I think of men—Rufus Jones and Clarence Pickett, more specifically. I’m sure much of this has to do with the fact that I have spent numerous hours sitting in rooms named after them at Friends Center in Philadelphia. But I have little doubt that their familiarity is also due to the general attention that our society pays to men with big ideas and big voices, particularly the society in which the organization was founded.
Summer interns from both the Immigrant Rights and Healing JusticePrograms shared moving stories of the work they had done with AFSC.
AFSC invites Quaker congregations everywhere to join in the effort to help transform the U.S. criminal justice system from one focused on crime and punishment to one focused on moving from harm to healing. Quaker meetings and churches are encouraged to learn more about issues of mass incarceration, engage their local communities in the issue, establish relationships with those directly affected, and advocate for just policy.
As we enter Hatcliffe Extension outside of Harare, Zimbabwe via a dirt road marred by deep ruts and washed out areas with more than a 12-inch drop-off, I wonder if our Toyota four wheel drive will survive with shock absorbers intact. We park and walk toward a grassy area where several men and a woman are repairing a metal wheelbarrow using the only welding machine available. Several others watch the process. Homes surround the workspace.
Jacqueline Duhart, a Unitarian minister, runs a women’s group at Dublin Federal Women’s Prison south of Oakland for AFSC. The original leaders adapted Pace e Bene’s Traveling with the Turtle, a curriculum for women learning nonviolence.
Each year as we approach the annual meeting of the AFSC Corporation, I hear people wondering whether the Corporation has outlived its usefulness – or indeed whether it ever had one.
Newcomers wonder what the Corporation is for, whether it matters that they attend, and whether, if they do, they will really understand the issues in play. Those with experience of past Corporation meetings have many of the same questions.
I am one who believes the Corporation has immense potential value to AFSC – and also that AFSC has immense value to Quakers in the U.S.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.