Great work is happening across the South Region! From dismantling destructive narratives surrounding mass incarceration, to expanding free school meals for kids, to addressing deepseated issues in New Orleans through and past Hurricane Katrina's 10th anniversary, we support our programs in their mission for peace.
For the past 10 years since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast, the American Friends Service Committee has been working in New Orleans to aid in the recovery of the city and its residents. While city and state officials boast about the success of rebuilding efforts, many New Orleanians have yet to see their lives restored in the wake of the post-recovery era. Many young adult activists, who were children when the disaster occurred, are now coming to terms with the policies that have led to an unjust displacement and replacement of the city’s residents.
In mathematics, the letter x often represents an unidentified variable, the unknown. In Roman numerals, x represents the number ten. In New Orleans, many remember it as the symbol first responders marked on the front of one’s home during Hurricane Katrina to signify how many were found dead or alive.
Across the region, offices working with youth have joined together to expand Peace by Piece (PxP), a program collective designed to spread the meaningful youth work currently being done in the south. By tapping into successful initiatives tested in New Orleans, and shaping new groups of young people who are involved in their respective communities elsewhere, AFSC is working to develop a strong platform for tackling social issues regionwide.
In January, AFSC staff and youth from across the South Region led protests and a national panel discussion to confront the issue of police violence and militarization in the United States.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday served as the launch date for SOAR (South Organizing Against Racism), which inspired youth-led events in over 15 cities including Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Greensboro, Miami and New Orleans.
The McKenna Museum of African American Art in New Orleans was the setting for the 2015 Designing Our Freedom Event, Healing Through the Arts. This year more than 20 young artists from Dillard University and several high schools and middle schools from around the city participated in the event.
Instead of holding AFSC's traditional t-shirt and hoody themed fashion show, New Orleans participants opted to broaden the use of art and let young people express themselves through several modes of creativity.
For the past three years, New Orleans has seen a decline in the city’s murder rate for the first time in almost 30 years. Sources credit social programs, changes in ER procedures, a gang task force, effective prosecutions and a variety of other factors for the three-year decline. Despite the dip, the city’s murder rate still remains above the national average according to nola.com.
A sense of rebirth and renewal is spreading throughout the South Region under the dynamic new leadership of Kamau Franklin. Kamau, a civil rights attorney who was named regional director in April, brings to AFSC his rich background in organizing at the grassroots level around issues of racial justice and civic engagement. He shares his vision for the region here.
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.