I recently read an article on the Alongsiders website entitled, “Movement vs. Monument, which one are you building?” It made me think quite a bit about Quakers, and AFSC’s organizational culture and purpose.
The juxtaposition is expressed this way in the article (a paraphrase of key points):
Carlos “Elmo” Gomez, an intern who lives in Mar Vista and who has worked with the program for a couple of years, said, “Planting seeds and the garden are instruments to organize the community. We figure out how to use what we have to shape our community. Once a garden is planted we the people have experienced shifting something, doing something in the hood. Food justice is about sharing food with our brothers and sisters.”
As AFSC approaches its 100th anniversary, it could be tempting to become a monument organizationally. Working to balance unity with distributed authority and effectiveness is always a challenge in our work. But for me it was powerful to talk with “Elmo” in Mar Vista and to see the program, which seems so much about AFSC supporting the development of power, rather than being the source of power. It reminded me of Quaker faith which, for me, is all about igniting the spiritual fire in ourselves and others to make a just and peaceful world.
Lucy Duncan, Director of Friends Relations
Join us on May 12th at 7:30 pm EDT for a call with Chia-Chia Wang, AFSC's Civic Participation Coordinator of the Immigrant Rights Program in Newark, New Jersey, and Quaker Judy Goldberger of Beacon Hill Friends Meeting in Massachusets, for a conversation on what the AFSC and Quakers around the country are doing to support immigrants' struggle for human rights. Learn how to be an effective ally, supporting movements in your local community with power and humility.
To join the call dial the toll free number 1-866-740-1260 and enter access code 2419995#. Click here to learn about future calls.
The FGC Gathering is a yearly, week-long conference of liberal Quakers, being held this year from June 29th to July 5th. AFSC’s activities offer a time for those longing to stoke spirit-led action to gather together, share and learn. Find out more here.
Continuing Revolution: Young Adult Friends Conference
Invite and support young Quakers in attending 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.
Suggest nominees for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize
Quakers were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947, and as laureates, have the opportunity to make a nomination each year. AFSC & Britain's Quaker Peace & Social Witness engage in a careful discernment process each year, and we welcome your input. Please spread the word! Learn more or nominate people here.
Stop the slush fund for Pentagon war spending
Urge Congress to end the use of budget gimmicks—such as the massive $80 billion Pentagon slush fund contained within the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund. Contact Congress here.
Recent posts at Acting in Faith
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An intrinsic part of the whole: On undoing racism among Friends
Linda Lewis, AFSC's Country Representative for China and North Korea, visited the Philadelphia office last month and shared stories of her work with farmers in North Korea. Friends Relations Associate Madeline Schaefer had a chance to sit down with her and discuss how AFSC's underlying Quaker values influence her work in such a secular culture: "A lot of organizations throw these words around, 'we treat people as partners.' But what does it really look like if you treat people as partners?" Watch this video of Linda on finding the common humanity with AFSC's North Korean partners.
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.