Alumni Newsletter Summer 2023

Dear Friend,

Today, July 30, is National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. It’s a good time for us to remember and appreciate Daniel Ellsberg, who passed away last month. In 1971, Daniel released the Pentagon Papers, exposing the expansion and public deception around the Vietnam War that spanned four presidential administrations. He said he had little inclination to release these secrets until he met some of the 5,000 peace activists who decided to go to jail instead of fight in the Vietnam War. Daniel singled out two people — Randy Kehler and former AFSC staffer Bob Eaton — as fueling his decision to take a stand.

With deep appreciation,

Tonya Histand
Director of Public Engagement 

Alumni news & notes  

After World War II, independent photographer Dickey Chapelle worked for AFSC documenting our work in Poland, Germany, and France. A recent book details Dickey’s life as one of the first female war correspondents. Dickey chased dangerous assignments her male colleagues wouldn’t touch, pioneering a radical style of reporting that focused on the humanity of the oppressed. 

Everett Mendelsohn, an AFSC committee member and advisor on the Middle East, passed away this month in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the age of 91. As the chairperson for an AFSC working group on the Middle East, he was the principal author of "A Compassionate Peace. A Future for the Middle East." 

This month, former AFSC Youth Director Nia Eubanks-Dixon opened Creative Praxis: Center for Liberation (CPCL). CPCL is a space dedicated to bringing young people, educators/youth leaders, and community together for the purpose of building authentic connections, developing analysis, and gaining practical skills.  

On Sept. 6, a new exhibit at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia will feature AFSC alum Dan Seeger and his Supreme Court case, United States v. Seeger. The case greatly expanded the religious qualifications for allowing pacifists exemption from military service on conscientious grounds. And a touchscreen in the exhibit also uses a photo of Dan from AFSC’s Archives.  

Jehad Abusalim was the education and policy coordinator of AFSC’s Palestine Activism Program. Now he is the executive director of The Jerusalem Fund and its educational program, The Palestine Center. In this article, Jehad discussed the recent Israeli aggression in Jenin in the West Bank and its consequences for Palestinians.  

Do you have news to share? Email us today

Updates from AFSC 

5 things you need to know about “Cop City”  

Cop City is the police training facility slated to be built in Atlanta at a cost of over $90 million. If constructed, it would be the largest police training facility in the U.S.—all built by clear-cutting the Welaunee forest. The project faces massive opposition in Atlanta and nationally. Learn more about how the facility would further militarize and expand policing, and about the ballot initiative underway to stop it.   

Tracking military recruiter abuse 

For one year, AFSC documented reports of abuse, harassment, and misconduct by military recruiters. By far, the largest category of reports is harassment, including verbally, on social media and via text. The second most common complaint received is that recruiters are providing misleading and incorrect information to potential recruits. Read more about what we learned and our recommendations to stop this abuse. 

In a major win, AFSC and partners stop $40M migrant shelter contract!  

Thanks to a true team effort between AFSC Colorado, AFSC Economic Activism, and partners on the ground, Denver city leaders have put a halt to a $40 million contract with the private security company Gardaworld to house 1,000 migrants. “The real question is, does Denver want to be the guinea pig for sheltering of vulnerable people with a corporation that has no experience doing that, and only experience in policing and military-style operations?” Jennifer Piper of AFSC asked the Denver Post. “My answer is no,” Piper said. 

Archive dive 

As war raged in their homeland in 1938, Spanish children drew pictures of the war they'd escaped. Housed at the Southworth Spanish Civil War Collection are over 600 drawings made during the Spanish Civil War by Spanish school children, both in Spain and in refugee centers in France. Some were published by AFSC to raise funds for children’s relief efforts in Spain. 

More ways to take action and connect with AFSC: 

Thank you for reading our AFSC Alumni Newsletter!