March 22, 2017
To the Leadership of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
With respect, deep caring and continued affection, Green Street Monthly Meeting announces to you that, at our March 19, 2017 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, after long and prayerful consideration, we approved withholding our covenant contribution to the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) of $30,000.
We are led to take this action because we cannot support a retreat from seeking racial justice. We ask that PYM put an immediate pause to the recent staffing and reorganization changes to make use of all its available resources for an enquiry. We ask that PYM will share with its constituent monthly meetings the process by which it made its decisions and share the implications of those decisions for changing the direction of PYM from the vision that we corporately hold.
We also feel called to ask that an enquiry be made into the culture of the PYM workplace and its structure, which has resulted in hostility toward truthfully confronting the imperfections in racial awareness to which all of us are subject. We feel called to live into a new way of being in which we trust our African American members who have responded to Quaker expressions of interest in racial justice and who have been willing to instruct us.
We specifically express our support for our valued member, Marille Thomas, and ask that the reductions in her employment be halted and her previous compensation be reinstated. We commend her to you for her competency in her work and for her actions, prompted by love and hope, to give guidance to broaden our racial understanding. We cherish her clarity and courage and the valuable resource she is for us in our meeting and in the larger world of Quakers. We deplore that she has experienced a painful lack of respect while employed in our Quaker institution.
We ask that the supervisory committees of the General Secretary, which should be supplemented, examine with the General Secretary her ability to succeed in her role.
We ask that a climate of safety and transparency be employed in all aspects of the enquiry and that those entrusted to conduct the enquiry include a broad representation of Friends, including Friends of Color, from inside and outside the structure of PYM.
We also cannot support a retreat from wholeheartedly serving our youth.
Green Street will review the situation at PYM and make a decision about reinstating its gift at a later date.
JoAnn Seaver, Clerk of Green Street Meeting