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Acting in Faith

Acting in Faith

Reflections on Palestine: The madness of occupation in Hebron

By: Pedro Rios
Published: October 21, 2015
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About the Author

Pedro Rios serves as director of the AFSC’s U.S./Mexico Border Program and has been on staff with AFSC for 13 years. He is also chairperson for the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, a coalition of over 25 different organizations in San Diego working to support the rights of immigrants.

A native San Diegan, Pedro has worked on immigrant rights and border issues for over 20 years. He became active on immigration issues in the early 1990s, when California was debating the passage of Proposition 187, the anti-immigrant initiative that was later ruled unconstitutional.

Currently, Pedro is overseeing a program that documents abuses by law enforcement agencies, working with many community groups, advocating for policy change, and interacting with migrant communities. Pedro has been widely interviewed and published by the Associated Press, Univision, ABC10, NBC7, and  Think Progress, among others. 

Toshi Reagon & Octavia Butler: Sowing seeds of change

By: Lucy Duncan
Published: October 15, 2015
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About the Author

Lucy serves as Director of Friends Relations for AFSC. She has been a storyteller for 20 years and has worked with Quaker meetings on telling stories for racial justice and of spiritual experience. Before working for AFSC, she was Director of Communications at FGC, managed QuakerBooks of FGC, and owned and managed her own children's bookstore in Omaha, The Story Monkey. She attends Green Street Friends Meeting (PhYM) and lives with her son and partner in a Quaker cemetery.

Tragedy and transformation: Visuals of violence in Palestine

By: Mike Merryman-Lotze
Published: October 14, 2015
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About the Author

Mike Merryman-Lotze is the American Friends Service Committee’s Palestine-Israel Program Director.  He coordinates AFSC’s Israel and Palestine focused advocacy and policy programming, working closely with AFSC’s offices in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and throughout the US.  From 2000 through 2003 Mike worked as a researcher with a human rights organization in the West Bank, and from 2007 through 2010 he worked in Save the Children UK’s Jerusalem office managing child rights and child protection programming.  Between these two experiences he worked for an international development NGO managing community and local government development programs in Lebanon, Jordan, and Yemen.  

Staying safe in Baltimore: Waking up in a Sundown Town

By: Sandy Robson
Published: October 1, 2015
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White Quaker singer-songwriter Sandy Robson reflects on fear and how it operates to maintain segregation and racial oppression in this moving piece about growing up in Baltimore and understanding the vulnerability and lack of safety her black friends feel.

About the Author

Sandy Robson is a Quaker singer-songwriter from Baltimore, Maryland. Until recently she worked for the Friends Committee on National Legislation. She performs under the name Letitia VanSant.

A big step forward on solitary confinement

By: Laura Magnani
Published: September 24, 2015
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On September 1st an historic settlement was reached in California on the use of long-term isolation or solitary confinement. This win came after years of organizing in which AFSC staff were actively participating. This is a summary of the agreement reached and of all the work and actions that went into making the agreement possible by incarcerated men, their families, and other allies working together persistently and faithfully for change.

About the Author

Laura Magnani is director of AFSC’s Bay Area Healing Justice Program in California and has worked on criminal justice issues for over 35 years. She received her BA from the University of California in ethnic studies in 1971 and an MA from the Pacific School of Religion in 1982. She has worked on criminal justice issues for AFSC since 1989. She wrote "America's First Penitentiary: A 200 Year Old Failure in 1990" and co-authored the AFSC publication, “Beyond Prisons: A New Interfaith Paradigm for Our Failed Prison System" in 2006. She is a member of Strawberry Creek Meeting of Pacific Yearly Meeting.

Response to Palestine Activism in an Anti-Racist Framework

By: Mike Merryman-Lotze
Published: September 22, 2015
Topics:

About the Author

Mike Merryman-Lotze is the American Friends Service Committee’s Palestine-Israel Program Director.  He coordinates AFSC’s Israel and Palestine focused advocacy and policy programming, working closely with AFSC’s offices in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and throughout the US.  From 2000 through 2003 Mike worked as a researcher with a human rights organization in the West Bank, and from 2007 through 2010 he worked in Save the Children UK’s Jerusalem office managing child rights and child protection programming.  Between these two experiences he worked for an international development NGO managing community and local government development programs in Lebanon, Jordan, and Yemen.  

Circles of resistance

By: Lucy Duncan
Published: September 18, 2015
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In this personal reflection, Lucy Duncan, talks about facing with despair and how she has found that small groups working for change, including through the Quaker social change ministry program, give her hope and strength. She says, "We are all standing on holy ground, we are in a desperate situation and what we need to face it is within us, between us, in these circles willing to struggle."

About the Author

Lucy serves as Director of Friends Relations for AFSC. She has been a storyteller for 20 years and has worked with Quaker meetings on telling stories for racial justice and of spiritual experience. Before working for AFSC, she was Director of Communications at FGC, managed QuakerBooks of FGC, and owned and managed her own children's bookstore in Omaha, The Story Monkey. She attends Green Street Friends Meeting (PhYM) and lives with her son and partner in a Quaker cemetery.

Black Lives Matter, Bernie Sanders, and the power of an interruption

Published: August 19, 2015
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A white person attending the Bernie Sander’s rally in Seattle last week probably understood what was happening as an unwelcome, uninvited interruption of Bernie’s attempts to speak on social programs. But in the world of Marissa Johnson and Mara Jacqueline Willaford, the two Black Lives Matter activists who took the stage, they weren’t just interrupting Bernie Sanders - they were interrupting white supremacy.

Art and social change: Five artists with a cultural strategy for change

By: Sara Z. E. Hughes
Published: August 14, 2015
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About the Author

Sara Zia is a curator of film, visual art and new media and for over a decade has produced film screenings and exhibits in the Philadelphia area. She has worked as a consultant with Independent Television Service (ITVS) and with individual independent filmmakers on their engagement and outreach campaigns. Currently, she works as a Social Media Specialist at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). A MFA graduate of Temple University, her own short films have screened internationally and been awarded grants from Chicken & Egg PicturesRooftop Films and the Leeway Foundation. In Spring of 2015 she released her first web series, Bailout, which she wrote and directed.

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