Note: I sat down to write a reflection piece on the White Privilege Conference, which I attended with other AFSC staff and board members and a number of Quakers in April, and I ended up exploring how I learned racism instead. This piece is dedicated to my teachers: Niyonu Spann, Vanessa Julye, Pamela Haines, Pat Jennings, kamillah fairchild, Rosa Silveira, Nancy Duncan, Frances Hoover, and so many others. – Lucy
“There is no greater agony than carrying an untold story inside of you.” – Maya Angelou
I spent a day with Pablo Paredes and a few of the courageous immigrant youth with whom he works when I was in San Francisco in December. Pablo is AFSC program director for 67 Sueños, a youth-led program that works to make visible the stories and dreams of undocumented youth who are often left out of the immigration debate.
“People can be transformed by being open and human. We believe that people have a need to be heard, but how they are heard really matters – if they take the risk of telling their story, it needs to make a difference.” – Denise Altvater
“These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wombs of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born.
We must move past indecision to action. …
Now let us begin. Now let us re-dedicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world.”
Denise Altvater (far right)and siblings weeks before they were taken from the reservation and placed in a non-native foster home by the state of Maine.
Denise Altvater is a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and has worked for AFSC for eighteen years. She has been instrumental in developing the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission between a sovereign Tribal Nation, the Wabanaki, and a U.S. state, Maine, to address hurts caused by the foster care system. The commission will be seated on February 12, 2013.
In the Liberian version of the Christmas story, “Every Man Heart Lay Down,” retold by author Lorenz Graham, God is frustrated.
He says, “The people no hear My Word, The people no walk my way, Nev mind. I going break the world and lose the people, I going make the day dark and the night I going make hot… And I going make a new country and make a new people.”
“Let them remember that there is a meaning beyond absurdity. Let them be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power, and that we can do — every one — our share to redeem the world despite all [the] absurdities and all the frustrations and all [the] disappointments. And above all, remember that the meaning of life is to live life as if it were a work of art.” – Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
Thanks to Andrew Tomlinson, Director of QUNO-NY, Olivia Ensign, QUNO Program Assistant, and Theresa Kirby for assistance composing this post.
Security was tight in New York City as delegates gathered for the high-level meetings that marked the opening of the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly in late September. There were snipers on the roof of the UN buildings, and black limousines with flashing lights crowded the streets nearby as they lined up to get through the NYPD roadblocks.
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 office around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.