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American Friends Service Committee

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Recent Posts at Acting in Faith

Quakers work together for immigrant justice in North Carolina

Activism in the Meetinghouse: How you and your meeting/church can support just immigration reform

Friend,

“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. at the March on Washington in August, 1963


Fifty years later how much closer are we to fully embracing the vision that King expressed that day? Our prisons house more African-Americans than were ever enslaved in this country, young black men are still killed in their own neighborhoods for being in the “wrong place,” immigration “reform” means excessive militarization of the border, public schools are being shuttered in cities all over the country, young people have more debt than opportunity, daily we face ecological annihilation from addiction to fossil fuels, the Voting Rights Act has been deeply compromised by the recent Supreme Court decision, and we continue to spend more of our federal dollars on the military than on programs of “social uplift.”  The list could go on and on…

As King said, “the whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

The Civil Rights movement was a powerful movement of the heart as well as of bodies and minds. Still James Baldwin said, “Morally, there has been no change at all, and a moral change is the only real one.”

Are we condemned to endure the perpetual reconstruction and reinvention of systems of oppression or is there a way to organize to begin to impact the moral and spiritual roots of brutal systems? I’m not naïve enough to believe that evil will be eradicated; it is a part of us, and as Ella Baker said, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest…” But perhaps there is a way to begin to disrupt the assumptions underlying the intricate web of injustice that has been built up around us.

At the same time that I see deep injustice, I also see and witness revelations, awakenings, people participating in conversations and actions in which there is longing for real change, for moral change, for spiritual change. My hope and expectation is that the anniversary of the March on Washington can be a time of personal and collective remembrance and reflection which will result in the kind of deep work needed to create the family of God.

AFSC is honoring the anniversary by participating in events around the country. We also have a page of four suggested actions that anyone can take wherever they are. In a recent interview posted at Acting in Faith, Vincent Harding suggested that each person take time to gather in groups, carefully read or listen to the full speech, and try to uncover its real meaning and how to honor King’s words “in the fierce urgency of Now.”

In Peace,

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Lucy Duncan
Friends Liaison


Recent Posts at Acting in Faith

Realizing the Dream: a conversation with Vincent Harding

Madeline and I got to spend a few hours with Vincent Harding at the FGC Gathering in Greeley in July. We savored his loving, challenging presence and words. He said, “So I think one assignment we could give to ourselves again for the 50th anniversary is to really talk to ourselves and talk to each other about that matter; how do we get to know the content of each other’s character, and can we know it without engaging each other honestly in dialogue, honoring each other in conversation.” Read more.

Vincent Harding on creating the Quaker community that does not yet exist

Vincent Harding engaged FGC Gathering attenders in a conversation about his book Hope and History: Why we must tell the Story of the Movement. Paul Ricketts asked him about creating a truly multi-racial, multi-cultural Religious Society of Friends. He said, “You know something about building a Quaker community, you can see it. The vision that you have is not meant to be kept to yourself, it's meant to be expressed, to trouble some people, to push some people, to embrace some people, but for you to keep saying, ‘I see a Quaker community that does not yet exist and I am absolutely committed to its coming into being.’” Read more.

Quakers work together for immigrant justice in North Carolina

AFSC has been working with FCNL and local Quakers to advocate for just immigration reform. Lori Khamala, the director of the North Carolina Immigrant Rights Program in Greensboro said, “I don’t know if our hardened conservative legislators will end up supporting a fairer immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for my friends or not. But I know that without the work of AFSC, FCNL, the work of local Quaker congregations and immigrants speaking out and sharing their stories, nothing will change. And even if our legislators don’t change, this work changes us.”  Read more.

Activism in the Meetinghouse: How you and your meeting/church can support just immigration reform

Continuing in the tradition of accompanying populations of immigrants and displaced persons, the AFSC is engaging with community members and elected officials as described in Lori’s post to ensure that immigration policy reforms underway in Washington, D.C. preserve our shared humanity.  

Your help is needed!  The AFSC invites YOU to add your voice to the call for policies that keep families together, create a truly accessible path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and protect our labor and human rights during AFSC’s “Week of Action”! From August 18 – 25th we will take action in our local communities, online, and by calling our Members of Congress to demand humane immigration policies. Participating is easy and fun! Here are three ways you can get involved:

  1. Please join us for a webinar on Wednesday, August 21st at 12pm EST to learn more about proposed immigration policy reforms, how they align with the New Path principles (see our downloadable document at www.afsc.org/newpath) and the response from impacted communities we accompany. *Please view below instructions for how to join this conversation. We look forward to speaking with you then!
  2. Call your U.S. Representative and let them know you support immigration policies that create a truly accessible and quick path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. You can reach your Representative by calling the Capitol Switchboard at: 202-224-3121.
  3. Read our one page summaries and assessment of immigration bills poised to be discussed on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

* Instructions for joining the webinar: Participants are encouraged to click on this link and use a headset or computer speakers for audio, in addition to enjoying the visual component of the presentation. Should your computer not provide adequate audio, you may use your phone to access the audio component by calling toll free: +1-855-749-4750, meeting number: 317 101 167.

Click here in advance of the webinar, so you may test your ability to join a WebEx meeting.


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Philadelphia, PA 19102
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