West Virginia

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New beginnings in the South Region

A sense of rebirth and renewal is spreading throughout the South Region under the dynamic new leadership of Kamau Franklin. Kamau, a civil rights attorney who was named regional director in April, brings to AFSC his rich background in organizing at the grassroots level around issues of racial justice and civic engagement. He shares his vision for the region here.

A message from the South regional director

Greetings, AFSC South Region supporters,

AFSC South Star Summer 2014

Summer 2014 issue of the AFSC South Region's South Star newsletter.

Speaking truth to power

Storm Coleman in WV

Storm Coleman testifies in front of West Virginia’s Select Committee on Children and Families.

To people who criticize welfare and disability recipients in West Virginia, 16-year-old Storm Coleman suggests a visualization exercise: “Picture yourself in my mom’s shoes.”

“Imagine that you’re overweight, or you’re in pain all day, you can’t walk around, and you have three kids to provide for, and no job will hire you either because you’re disabled or ’cause you’re overqualified—’cause my mom is really smart.”

Making affordable health care a reality in West Virginia

The Case for Medicaid Expansion cover

"The case for medicaid expansion" report cover

Cover for The Case for Medicaid Expansion, shot by AFSC's West Virginia Economic Justice Project staff member Beth Spence

When the Supreme Court made it optional for states to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income workers, AFSC and a coalition of organizations pushed expansion in West Virginia.

Coal-country teenager wants better resources to keep peers in school

Kyra Wells

ACE participant Kyra Wells.

A sophmore from Logan advocates for teens at the West Virginia Capitol.

Youth asks West Virginia to reform prisons, for children's sake

Jasmine talking to Channel 13

Jasmine Murphy, sophmore at Logan High School, speaking up for prison reform 

Editor's note: Not long after Jasmine addressed the legislature, SB 379—the state's prison overcrowding billwas passed. It gives judges the authority to grant early releases to nonviolent offenders, categorizes offenders in terms of risks vs. needs and treating them appropriately, and addresses technical parole violations that shorten time spent back in prison.

“I want to share with you a little bit about my life because I hope that maybe if I speak up, people who make the decisions that affect so many people’s lives will listen.”

The growing problems of the prison system

razor wire

fence outside a Michigan prison

Fence outside a Michigan prison

According to the Bureau for Justice Statistics, the number of adult federal and state prison inmates increased from 139 per 100,000 residents in 1980 to 502 per 100,000 in 2009 — an increase of 261 percent. Over two million Americans are now incarcerated in prisons or jails and the total number of Americans under some form of penal supervision (including jail, prison, parole and probation) is over 7.2 million.

Who we are

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

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AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.

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