By Madeline Schaefer
Published: May 8, 2014

A few weeks ago I sat down with Linda Lewis, AFSC’s country representative for China and North Korea, during her visit to the Philadelphia office.  She spent much of her time on the East Coast speaking with AFSC donors and Quakers in the area about her work with farmers in North Korea. Linda’s passion for this work comes through in her presentations and her stories.  She may not discuss religion or spirituality with AFSC’s Korean partners in the region, but it was clear to me that the work was firmly rooted in the belief in a common humanity and dignity. -Madeline

By Lucy Duncan
Published: May 7, 2014

I talked recently with Ng Shui Meng, the wife of Sombath Somphone, a Laotian man and close associate of AFSC who ran civil society programs in Laos until he disappeared in December, 2012.  Despite having close circuit television (CCTV) footage documenting his abduction, the Laotian government has denied any knowledge of Sombath Somphone’s whereabouts.  Shui Meng came to the United States recently to request the assistance of AFSC, Amnesty International, Quakers and others to take action to support the return of Sombath Somphone.  You can find many ways to support Sombath...

By Lucy Duncan
Published: May 2, 2014

I started taking yoga again a few months ago in a well lit, open studio in west Philadelphia. The teacher started the class by saying that yoga isn’t a religion; it is a spiritual practice open to all. When she introduced each standing pose, she talked about how important alignment is: that taking time to pay attention and settle into the pose with attention makes all the difference in how you practice yoga and in the benefits you receive from it. 


By Clark Reddy
Published: April 29, 2014

Note: Below are two comments made by Clark Reddy, a white ally, on a long string of comments focused on FGC’s New Meetings Project website in the context of a Facebook group about Revitalization of the Friends Message. Greg Williams, a black Quaker in New England, commented that he was surprised and disheartened that the new website of the New Meetings project didn’t include more images or content that would draw in Friends of Color or speak more explicitly to the need to create meetings that were built on the foundation of anti-racism and committed to creating truly multi-racial...

By Lucy Duncan
Published: April 25, 2014

In the Mar Vista housing project, residents are not allowed to plant food or flowers in their yards.  When I was in Los Angeles in February, Carlos “Elmo” Gomez, who works with AFSC, showed me his home where he had planted corn, rosemary, tomatoes, and beans. A few weeks later the housing authority came and pulled up and scattered all his plants. 

That didn’t stop Elmo, though. He continued to advocate for and with residents to have places to grow food. The day we visited he showed me the fenced in yard in which residents, with the...