Human Rights Learning participants at Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. make a statement against bullying through their work with AFSC's DC Peace & Economic Justice Project.
Mary Zerkel points out that the track record of corporate influence on foreign policy and prisons makes a strong argument against involving profit-driven defense contractors in border enforcement.
Are you looking to start a conversation in your meeting/group around drones? Interested in a survey of the drone program for class discussion?Concerned about the impact of the drone war on communities around the world? If so, Drones 101 is for you.
The presentation outlines the evolution of the U.S. drone program, provides an explanation of whom it targets and how, and surveys the countries where drones are being used. While a great deal of documentation has been made available through the work of human rights agencies and news reports, this remains a covert program with many questions unanswered. It was only in April 2012 that the Obama administration admitted for the first time that armed drones were used to target and kill individuals in countries with whom we are not at war.
Drones 101 looks at the power of the Congressional drone caucus and the increasing dependence of the Air Force on unmanned vehicles -- 50 percent of the fleet by 2018 -- and exposes the enormous profits being made by drone manufactures. Profit-making and current policies of secrecy have ushered in a new era of military violence.
The presentation puts the drone war in the context of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) and ends with an appeal to confront the military industrial complex by “moving the money” out of the Pentagon and into programs that address human needs.
This is a resource that groups can use to start a conversation or deepen an existing campaign.
27 minutes. Available online and on DVD.
More than half the federal discretionary budget goes to the Pentagon, leaving less than half for everything else, and forcing communities across the country to struggle with cuts to education, healthcare, job programs and other crucial services. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and partners from across the country are working to change these priorities and “move the money.”
Since 2011, the If I Had a Trillion Dollars youth film festival (sponsored by AFSC and the National Priorities Project) has engaged young people in creating videos to show how they would allocate the federal budget to better serve their communities. Their honest, moving, entertaining—and sometimes emotional—responses reflect the neglect felt by those cut out of our nation’s budget priorities—as well as a youthful vision of a better future.
The videos in this collection, selected from several years of the IHTD youth film festival, make a compelling case to “move the money” from military spending to meeting human needs. They are ideal for use with schools, churches and community groups.
For more resources and action opportunities to change budget priorities:
For more information on the If I Had A Trillion Dollars youth film festival (including how to submit videos): www.ihtd.org
A young Orthodox Jew declared his refusal to serve in the Israeli Army late last month. Uriel Ferara, an 18-year old Israeli, was consequently sentenced to a first prison term of 20 days. He is currently in solitary confinement in military prison, and upon his release, he will most likely be sentenced to another prison term.
Uriel joins Omar Sa’ad, a Palestinian-Druze citizen who is serving his seventh consecutive prison term amounting to more than 130 days in total.
Sahar Vardi, AFSC’s Israel Program Coordinator, had the chance to record the demonstration that took place on April 27, 2014 in front of the military base of Tel Ha-Shomer. Families and friends of Uriel Ferera and Omar Sa’ad showed up in front of this base, to express their refusal to serve the occupation and oppress the Palestinian people.
For more information about Uriel and other young Israelis refusing military service, visit: https://www.facebook.com/refusingIDF and http://972mag.com/watch-idf-to-jail-ultra-orthodox-jew-for-refusing-to-serve-the-occupation/90063/
As the daughter of a community advocate, Vera Parra developed her social consciousness at a young age, but it wasn’t until she joined New Jersey’s community of immigrant-rights advocates that she felt the power and strength to keep working for change.
While accompanying a man—father to three U.S.-citizen children—to his check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Vera witnessed ICE detain him on the spot and deport him the next day. “It was before I really had a national network that could push back,” she says. “I felt such loneliness in that moment—powerlessness, feeling like I was throwing my whole body up against this crazy system that destroys families and is driven by profits.”
Vera interned with AFSC’s Immigrant Rights Program in Newark and then spent a year as an organizing fellow there, gathering stories about local police involvement with federal immigration enforcement while building a grassroots coalition to work for change. During that time, she says, she realized that “the power to counteract that [sense of powerlessness] comes from the relationships that we have with…those of us who are committed to working together, fighting together, loving together, taking care of one another.”
In late 2013, Vera took an organizing job with a national faith-based network through which she is continuing her work with the immigrant community in New Jersey. She took with her AFSC’s vision for a just world, based on Quaker principles.
“There aren’t a lot of organizations that think outside of the current debate. The current [immigration] bill is not going to stop detention and deportation. AFSC profoundly refuses to accept the terms of the [immigration policy reform] debate, and pushes for a vision that is worth fighting for,” she says.
In this three-minute video, Katie Huerter introduces herself, her work with AFSC Iowa, and what motivates her to seek peace and justice in Palestine-Israel.