It is an afternoon of contrasts – ice cream and cake sprinkled with tragic tales of border crossings and details of due process. Summer interns in the AFSC Immigrant Rights and Healing Justice Programs held their annual “Ice Cream Social” at the Newark office July 10. Pat Simpson, a supporter who sponsors many of these interns, got to meet them. Everyone in attendance (ice cream guarantees a full house) learns who has done what at the midterm point of the internship.
Criminal Justice reform is catching fire in Quaker communities around the country, in large part due to the publication and popularization of Michelle Alexander’s book, “The New Jim Crow.” The facts embedded in every page are undeniable and horrifying, and illustrate a truth that many have known for years, that these injustices are tied directly to this country’s history of slavery. It’s as if the book has finally made it okay for Quakers (and others) to speak up against injustice and to face our country’s past.
Note: Laura Magnani, a member of Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting in Berkeley, Calif., and the director of AFSC’s Bay Area Healing Justice program, tells the story of how local Quaker congregations accompanied a formerly incarcerated man back into the community.
Vacant row homes await demolition in Baltimore's Middle East neighborhood next to the expanding Johns Hopkins Medical Campus.
The Friend of a Friend mentoring program in Baltimore is doing more than providing support for incarcerated men; it is inspiring a movement for serious reform of the criminal justice system, from the inside out.
Madeline Schaefer sits down with participants as they share stories of the program's success and their own transformation. By learning how to deal with conflict nonviolently, and by connecting with one another, participants are reclaiming their voices and speaking truth to power.
Drawing from experiences in Burundi and Maine, Lucy Duncan shows how telling stories of violence and trauma in a context in which those stories will be believed, listened to, and deeply held by the community can lay the foundation for healing and for reconciliation between perpetrators and victims—and pave the way to ending harmful practices and conflicts.
For perpetrators and victims, trauma only ends when devastated lives can find enough healing to offer a shared promise of peace to future generations, says General Secretary Shan Cretin in her opening letter:
"I hope you will be as heartened as I am to 'see what love can do' when a narrative built on punishment and retribution is replaced with one built on transformation and wholeness."
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 offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.