Happy New Year and welcome to the first newsletter of 2024. I’m not a believer in setting New Year’s resolutions, but rather setting New Year intentions. In 2024, I am setting my intentions toward cultivating a mind of peace and deepening my connection to Spirit and myself. For me, this looks like spending more time in nature, engaging in hobbies that bring me joy, and building community.
Do you set New Year’s resolutions or intentions? And what beliefs or practices guide you toward Spirit this time of year?
In 2023, AFSC celebrated the launch of our new website and the success of our first hybrid Corporation program. We also launched our Apartheid-Free Campaign and the Refugee Response Fund, commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Quaker United Nations Office, and much more. We connected with hundreds of Friends across the world and attended over 20 Yearly Meeting annual sessions this summer.
As we look forward to 2024, it’s more important than ever that we join together under a shared vision of peace and justice for all. I would like to thank you all for your continued support of our work and your efforts to build peace within your own communities. I feel blessed to work with such an amazing team of people at AFSC and grateful for the opportunity to connect with Friends far and wide.
I will be taking some time away from work at the end of the month and will be out of the office during February. During that time, if you need immediate assistance, please reach out to Brian Blackmore, director of Quaker Engagement, at email@example.com.
Here are more ways you can engage with AFSC, plus a few updates on our work:
AFSC Board member Sa’ed Ashtan speaks with NPR: Sa'ed, an associate professor of peace and conflict studies and anthropology, and chair of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College, spoke about leaning into his Quaker faith in times of conflict. “Seeing the violence that's all around us is a reminder to me of why it is that we need pacifists in society who put a mirror to society who say, we want to reflect back to you the harms of violence,” says Sa’ed. Listen to the full conversation here.
Quarterly liaison call (Jan. 25, 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT): Join us for the next liaison call where Friends from across the country will learn about AFSC’s work and give updates from their meeting. U.S. Migration Director Amy Gottlieb will talk about organizing and advocacy efforts for just, humane migration policies. We look forward to connecting with you and learning more about the work you carry out in your communities! Register here.
Stop Cop City Corporate Week of Action: The Atlanta Police Foundation is trying to use millions of tax dollars and millions in corporate contributions to build one of the largest militarized police training facilities in the country in Atlanta, Georgia. Home Depot and UPS are among the Corporate contributors to Cop City, and AFSC is taking action to tell Corporations to divest from militarizing police forces. Please join your community the week of Jan. 15 -21 to demand that these corporations end their involvement with Cop City. Learn more here.
What’s happening in Gaza and the West Bank (updated Jan. 5): Nearly 23,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s attacks on Gaza, and over 10,000 more are estimated to be buried under the rubble. More than 1.93 million have been displaced from their homes. AFSC is working to provide humanitarian relief to displaced people as conditions allow. Join AFSC in calling for an immediate and permanent cease-fire, and demand unconditional humanitarian access into Gaza. Read AFSC’s full update on the situation in Gaza here.
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Peace in Palestine and Israel: Please join us every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. PT as we worship with Friends from across the U.S. We also invite you to join AFSC’s Action Hour for a Cease-fire Now. You are welcome to share this invitation with members of your Meeting and communities.
Video: Putting our values into action: As the new year begins, we hope you enjoy this video celebrating the impact we are making together. Thank you to our global community of donors, advocates, organizers, partners, and volunteers who help AFSC to meet essential needs and to build a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world. Watch the video here.
Promoting well-being among local farmers: The New Mexico People of the Land program hosted a unique celebration to show appreciation for the local farmers in their network. The “Farmer Unwind” event focused on farmers’ well-being, providing a nourishing meal, massages, opportunities for connecting, and more. Many farmers in New Mexico have been negatively impacted by the climate crisis, resulting in higher levels of stress and anxiety. Sayrah Namaste, NM program co-director writes, “We hoped they’d leave feeling well fed, physically good, with a happy heart and spirits lifted.” Learn more about AFSC New Mexico and read about the event here.
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. The most recent podcast features a special “Reunion” episode, produced by AFSC and MOSAIC productions, featuring Quaker leaders from the United States and United Kingdom sharing insights about how Quaker organizations are activating Quaker values for a just world.
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
P.S. You can find more ways to get involved at our Friends Engage page. And as always, feel free to contact me with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.