The American Friends Service Committee experienced another landmark year in 2003. The philosophy we’ve lived by became the engine for a nationwide movement: Peace is precious—war is never acceptable. Across the United States and around the world, concerned people joined us in expressing concern and outrage at our government’s headlong rush to violence.
But despite our strong voice of reason—our pleas for respect, compassion, and understanding—the United States went to war in Iraq. And the truth we foresaw has come to pass: Democracy cannot be formed at the end of a gun. Terrorism can never be defeated through intimidation and arrogance.
Since 1917, AFSC has been building partnerships, establishing friendships, earning trust and respect. That history, based on fairness and justice, put us at the forefront of the national peace campaign. We’ve been eager to reach out to new participants in our activities and provide inspiration and encouragement for others to take action.
Certainly the war in Iraq received the majority of the media headlines, and we focused as much of our time and resources on it as we were able—but we continued to work in more than 20 other countries and in communities across the U.S. There are still families in West Virginia who are about to lose public assistance. There are war victims in Colombia, Afghanistan and Bosnia trying to move forward with their lives. There are military recruiters targeting lowerincome high school kids…
…so the work of the American Friends Service Committee must look beyond Iraq. We have more work to do—and thanks to the support of our friends and allies, we are up to the task.
Our gratitude goes to our donor partners and our appreciation to the diverse communities who allow us to join them in witness to the best that humankind offers. I hope you will find the following Annual Report informative, stimulating, and satisfying.
With hopes for peace,
Mary Ellen McNish