The human experience is a beautifully complex one. In our 21st century lives, it seems that our online newspapers, twitter feeds, and emails are filled with stories of hate, injustice, oppression and violence. We often need to look a little deeper to find the stories of hope, faith, compassion, and love, and by the time we get to them, we are often too weighed down with challenging stories to recognize the uplifting ones. But we must be resilient. We must stay encouraged.
Note: Recently Lia Lindsey, Policy Impact Coordinator for AFSC, traveled to Geneva with a delegation to testify to the UN Committee against Torture about solitary confinement in the United States. She joined many others, including Mike Brown's parents, to bring the voices of those most impacted to the halls of the United Nations to consider actions to disrupt injustice, including solitary confinement, in the United States. - Lucy
Since August I’ve seen banners, signs, Facebook statuses, and Tweets with the message “Pray for peace in St. Louis.” I’ve heard prayers for peace as people of faith gather in response to events in Ferguson, MO. In recent days I’ve seen an increase in the calls to pray as people waited for the Grand Jury announcement. I’m tired of hearing the calls for peace. Let me be clear: I do not want violence, destruction, or death. I care about the well-being of all parties from police to protesters. However, when I see some call for peace I don’t think they understand it to mean what I understand it to mean.
Note: This is the second installment of a series of three interviews with people who are living out Quaker values through their healing justice work. The first, an interview with Philadelphia Quaker and organizer J. Jondhi Harrell, can be read here.
Note: Liz Oppenheimer is a Quaker who has been very involved in supporting AFSC's Healing Justice program in Minneapolis. During Ferguson October she traveled to St. Louis and participated in protests and in supporting activists on the ground. The experience opened her eyes and led her to wonder about Quaker readiness to lend support to the communities of color most impacted by police brutality and other injustice. These are some of her reflections on her time in Ferguson, with an invitation to Quakers to become engaged and activated as allies in this movement.
Note: This guest post is by Bassem Masri, a Palestinian who has been very involved in the Ferguson protests and has documented the events with Live Stream. He was arrested this week and interrogated and writes in the post below powerfully about the ways that the police presence in Feruguson resembles the police presence in Palestine.
Note: I first met J. Jondhi Harrell through Philadelphia’s prison and reentry activism circles. Later, I worshipped with him at Germantown Friends Meeting, where he recently became a member. As an insider to the worlds of both Quakerism and the criminal justice system – he was incarcerated for over 20 years – he speaks powerfully about prison, reentry, and Friends’ mandate to confront the dehumanizing system of mass incarceration. -Madeline Smith-Gibbs
Note: Raed Jarrar serves as AFSC's Policy Impact Coordinator. He is Iraqi and Palestinian and has been speaking out in many media outlets including All in with Chris Hayes, Democracy Now, and Common Dreams since the United States' decision to bomb ISIL. Here he responds to a question that kept him up the night after it was asked at a recent presentation. - Lucy
Note: On September 28th Upper Dublin Friends Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting celebrated the unveiling of a Pennsylvania Historic marker which honored the lives of Thomas and Hannah Atkinson, members of the meeting who offered safe haven on the underground railroad. Avis McClinton, a member of the meeting, was instrumental in having a marker placed which recognized and remembered the formerly enslaved African Americans who lost their lives while seeking freedom and were buried in the cemetery in unmarked graves next to the meeting house.
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.