My heart aches for all those who have lost loved ones in the ongoing violence in Palestine and Israel. The continuing conflict has left thousands displaced from their homes and communities, and my love and solidarity are with those seeking safety amidst the chaos. I pray that we come together to call for an end to the military occupation and blockade of Gaza, and that all in the region are able to live in peace.
As we contend with feelings of uncertainty and sadness, the Quaker engagement office has created space for Friends to gather in worship and solidarity, and hold those that are most impacted in the light. Please join us on Friday, October 27 at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT. Join here.
AFSC continues to urge Congress to call for humanitarian access in Gaza—and an immediate end to the violence in Palestine and Israel. Last week, we sent you an email with information and resources for you and your meeting/congregation to take action. You can access all of those resources and get further updates here. Read AFSC's public statement here.
Here are more ways you can engage with AFSC, plus a few updates on our work:
Quarterly liaison call (Oct. 26, 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT): Join us for the next liaison call where Friends from across the country gather to learn about AFSC’s work and give updates from their meeting. U.S. Economic Justice Director Rick Wilson will share successes and ongoing advocacy for a more just, sustainable future for all. We look forward to connecting with you and learning more about the work you carry out in your communities! Register here.
USDA expands access to school meals for more students: Earlier this year the USDA proposed a policy that would vastly expand free school meals for millions of U.S. school children and make them eligible for SNAP benefits in the summer. We asked Friends to submit their public comments in support of expanding the policy change. We’re excited to share that the USDA announced that it would institute the policy. Thanks to everyone who spoke out on this issue!
Emerging Leaders for Liberation: AFSC’s Emerging Leaders for Liberation (ELL) is a program for young adults looking to deepen their social justice and leadership skills. This year’s ELL participants are confronting militarism, Israeli apartheid, and other forms of systemic injustice. Read more to learn about this year’s cohort and the work they’re doing to bring peace and justice to their communities.
AFSC Michigan advocates for second chances for all: AFSC’s Michigan Criminal Justice Program is led by people inside prison, their loved ones, and people who were formerly incarcerated. The program is also the lead advocate for “Second Look” legislation in the state, which would give many more people the chance to come home. Learn more about their efforts.
AFSC Colorado and partners stop $40M migrant shelter contract: The AFSC Denver office, along with AFSC’s Economic Activism and other local partners, are celebrating their success with convincing Denver city leaders to rescind their contract with GardaWorld, a private security company which had plans to build a facility to house 1,000 migrants. AFSC’s Director of Quaker Engagement, Brian Blackmore, and members of the Friends Relations Committee of AFSC’s Corporation joined Denver activists in an action at the Aurora detention center. Many thanks to Mountain View Meeting who hosted the Friends Relations Committee’s Retreat over the following weekend.
Join us: Apartheid-Free Communities in-person gathering (Oct. 26-27): AFSC and Live Oak Friends Meeting are hosting an in-person gathering of Apartheid-Free Communities in Houston, Texas, preceding the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights gathering. We hope you can join us! We also encourage you to stay for the USCPR National Conference (uscprconference.org). The gathering is being graciously hosted by the Live Oak Friends Meeting House in Houston.
Quakers Today Podcast: AFSC is sponsoring season two of the “Quakers Today” podcast, which features musicians, writers, and others who seek wisdom and understanding in a rapidly changing world. Each month Friends are asked to consider a query and share their thoughts. Call 317-QUAKERS (317-782-5377) or email email@example.com.
Thank you for your continued support of AFSC’s work and all that you do in working for a more just and peaceful world!
Sofia Di Pietro
Quaker Engagement Coordinator