“We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fighting with outward weapons for any end or under any pretense whatsoever; this is our testimony to the whole world.” The Quakers to King Charles, 1660
I remember the first time I saw the Eyes Wide Open. The exhibit was on a giant open field of grass at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in 2005. I walked with a friend through the hundreds of black boots assembled on the lawn, reading the names and taking in the fragments of stories of the lives lost. We walked through the thousands of shoes representing Iraqis killed and felt something of the enormity of the impact of that war. I stood in the middle of the rows and rows of empty black boots and felt the presence of the ghosts of the war dead. I mourned.
The Iraq war is over, though the healing is just beginning and the shards of that war may never be fully repaired. We are withdrawing troops from the war in Afghanistan. With a drawdown of troops in active conflicts, I would expect a reduction in military spending would follow and a reinvestment in communities. Instead the President’s budget includes $549 billion for military programs, a 5% increase over last year, which represents 57% of discretionary spending. On top of that, war spending is also a part of the allocation to the Overseas Contingency Operations account. You can read more details in Mary Zerkel’s Truthout op-ed, “Dollars for Endless War or Investment in a New Era.”
Lucy Duncan, Director of Friends Relations
This year AFSC is partnering with Friends General Conference to create a mini-conference within the FGC Gathering focused on spirit-led activism. We are organizing a full schedule of afternoon activities, Laura Magnani is giving the Friday evening plenary address, and AFSC staff will be leading or co-leading five workshops:
Campaign for Human Rights in Palestine-Israel (Mike Merryman-Lotze & Sandra Tamari)
Journey through our Criminal Justice system (Scilla Wahrahaftig & Lewis Webb)
Shared Security: A Quaker Vision for U.S. Policy (Jim Cason & Patricia DeBoer)
Telling Stories for Racial Justice (Lucy Duncan & Sharon Goens)
Telling your Stories: The Impact of Militarism (Peter Lems & Molly McQueen)
FGC Gathering registration re-opens on Saturday, April 19th. Find out more here.
Join our next call for AFSC liaisons and other Friends TONIGHT, April 14th, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. eastern daylight time. Aura Kanegis and Doug Bennett will present on Shared Security, the basic principles, and how Quaker meetings and churches can extend the conversation and bring it forward into their communities. Call 1-866-740-1260 and enter access code 2419995# to join the call. On May 12th Quaker Judy Goldberger and AFSC Staff Chia-Chia Wang will share about working for Immigrant Justice. You can see all the future scheduled calls for Quakers here.
Continuing Revolution: Young Adult Friends Conference
Registration is open for Continuing Revolution: a conference for young adult Quakers from June 6th-11th at Pendle Hill. AFSC staff members will be presenting at the conference, which will focus on community.
Tomorrow! Join the Global Day of Action on Military Spending to call for shifting budgetary priorities away from military spending to supporting vital communities. If you can’t make it to a protest, sign AFSC’s petition calling for Congress to reign in military spending.
Tomorrow! Join a protest calling for an end to military aid to Israel. There will be protests in cities around the world. If you can’t make a protest, email your representatives calling for the end of military aid.Recent posts at Acting in Faith
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This weekend young filmmakers from throughout the country gathered in Washington, DC for a festival of films created as part of the If I had a Trilion Dollars project. Peter Lems spoke with Quakers about the project several months ago and this post gives offers a reflection about the intention of this work. Peter says, “The power of symbolism and film to bring about social change has really been at the core of what we’ve been trying to do with the project.” Read more.
Powerful fiction: Interviews with the writes of "Gaza writes Back"
American Friends Service Committee
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace, and humanitarian service. Our work is based on the principles of the Religious Society of Friends, the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.
In 1947, AFSC was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, for our work “…from the nameless to the nameless….” on behalf of all Quakers.