Want to know about the Multicultural Audit Steering Committee (MASC)?
The charge of the Steering Committee is four-fold: To develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) that outlines the intention, scope and work of the audit.
To review proposals that are submitted, meeting with finalists to learn more about their approach to this work, conducting a full reference review (talking with former clients, etc.), and making a final selection of the consultant who will lead us in the audit.
To report back to the yearly meeting community about the process and selection.
To support the consultant in beginning the audit.
Consequently, the Multicultural Audit Steering Committee (MASC) is tasked with selecting a consulting firm that helps organizations such as The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PhYM) assess its scorecard in terms of its own actualization of its re-imagining vision, Re-Igniting The Fire. We will combine research, interviews, feedback, discernment and the joy of continuing revelation to ascertain who is best qualified to assist us in our institutional self-assessment.
If you were seeking information about the Request for Proposal from Independent Consulting Services for a Multicultural Community Assessment in Diversity and Inclusion, please see this page: RFP
If you were looking for the MASC’s accomplished work, please click on the image above.
In 1868, retired Union General O.O. Howard, Howard University’s namesake, visits the American Missionary Association’s freedmen school, Storrs School (now Clark Atlanta University) in Georgia. Howard queries, “What should I tell the people up North the plight of former slaves?” A 13-year-old Richard Robert Wright answers, “Sir, tell them we are rising.” Later in life, Wright starts and serves as the first president of the forerunner to today’s Savannah State University in Georgia.
As clerk of this community, I fervently pray when asked of a committee member, at the end this committee’s labor, “What report does thou have?” With a joyous heart, the answer is, “We are rising in revelation and treating one another sacredly.”
I dearly hope that words will serve as bridges, not cliffs, as we articulate the truth as we receive the revelations. This is why I write in the plainspoken language.
To learn more about the Multicultural Audit Steering Committee, please scroll down to “Meet MASC Members.”
tonya thames taylor, Clerk
The People’s Committee
The committee represents 12 Quarters and 17 Monthly Meetings in the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PhYM).
The clerk of this committee of 17 has nicknamed the Multicultural Audit Steering Committee as “The People’s Committee.”
Why? Our committee is comprised of nominations that derived from a “Call to Serve on the Multicultural Institutional Audit Committee” that the former Clerk of PhYM, Penny Colgan-Davis, circulated to everyone who has provided contact information to PhYM in July 2017. After Annual Sessions, Jesse Purvis, Office Assistant at yearly meeting, diligently and admirably followed up with emails and phones calls to each nominee. Throughout September and October 2017, Nomination Council, Quaker Life Council, and Administrative Council discussed each nominee on their lists and work to populate the committee.
The following persons graciously accepted the call to serve:
Allan Austin, Matthew Bradley, Howard Van Breeman, Lauren Buckalew, Oskar Castro, Laura Pickering Ford, Jondhi Harrell, Gabbreell James, Sandra Boone Murphy, Ed Nakawatase, Carter Nash, Arla Patch, Jeff Rosenthal, tonya thames taylor (Clerk), Noah White, Deb Will, and Wanda Wyffels.
As of November 2018, the following Friends, who initially accepted the call, transitioned to other labor within our PhYM community. Yet, several of the following Friends greatly enriched our work: Ayesha Imani (Ujima Friends Peace Center/Germantown MM, Philadelphia Quarter (PA); Sam Lemon (Providence MM, Chester Quarter (PA); Nikki Mosgrove (Trenton MM (NJ), Burlington Quarter); Delia Pitts (NJ); and Sarah Willie-LeBreton (Providence MM, Chester Quarter (PA), and Anthony Stover (Germantown MM, Philadelphia Quarter (PA).
When I asked why one answered the “Call to Serve” for this committee, here is one of the responses I received (updated as pictures and/or comments are received).
Allan Austin, North Branch MM, Upper Susquehanna Quarter (PA): “The direct connection that Friends draw between faith and practice has produced a long Quaker activism on issues of race, both in the meeting house and in the wider community. The conversations that have revolved around such activism, however, have never been easy ones. I am pleased to see Friends taking up such difficult conversations once again, and I am happy to serve in this most important work.”
Howard Van Breeman, Wicomico MM (MD), Southern Quarter: “Simply one or more Friends suggested me as someone who could serve. I was asked to serve. And finally and most importantly I believe from my experiences I can make meaningful contributions.”
Lauren Buckalew, Birmingham MM, Concord Quarter (PA): “I responded to the call to serve because I felt honored to be invited into the conversation, one which has increasingly became part of PYM (and the nation’s) consciousness. I look forward to the process, the learning as much as the contributing.”
Oskar Castro, Central Philadelphia MM, Philadelphia Quarter (PA): “Fundamentally, I have agreed because I wish to be of service to the Yearly Meeting and because this sort of conversation is one I have been having for most of my professional life. My lived experiences, my professional experiences, and my spiritual direction can be useful in this regard and I am pleased to be of service.”
Laura Pickering Ford, Harrisburg MM, Philadelphia Quarter: “I graciously agreed to serve on the MultiCultural Audit Steering Committee as I believe the importance of being inclusive in our communities. I believe this comes with a responsibility to listen with an open heart and mind to others; leave ego at the door; walk in others shoes and follow the leadings as presented. This work is important to our entire community as we live our faith through action each day.
Jondhi Harrell, Germantown MM, Philadelphia Quarter (PA): “The reason that I felt called to serve on the Multicultural Audit is due to the profound sense of disillusionment and disharmony which has permeated the Yearly Meeting in recent years around the issues of perceived racism and white privilege. It is my belief that PYM has a clear responsibility to build community and be a leading force in the struggle for social justice in the greater Philadelphia area and tri-state region. This responsibility is being compromised by internal dissent. Perhaps this audit can be a initial step in creating an atmosphere of unity to steer friends onto a course of action that truly reflects who we are as a community walking in the light.”
Sandra Boone Murphy, Mickleton MM (NJ), Salem Quarter: “When asked, ‘Why have I answered the ‘Call to Serve’ on the PYM Steering Committee toward tasking a Multicultural Audit?’ now known as The Peoples Committee, I can say this: ‘Why have I answered the ‘Call to Serve’ my faithful community? Among Friends there is a discord toward welcoming diversity, causing a lack of inclusive voice, gifts and inner light; what raised me up is loving and called upon as a breath into the spaces of dis-ease; I long for the wider community to experience that peace of my ‘home’ that loves the stranger, by coming into relationship. Perhaps a Multicultural Audit will expose what has been missing from our hearts and witness.”
Carter Nash, Harrisburg MM, Caln Quarter, (PA): “I was pleased to agree to serve because it is important that we work together to find an honest, truthful way of understanding how to be loving, welcoming, caring to all who are among us and will come among us be it for an hour, a day, a month or a lifetime.”
Arla Patch, Doylestown MM, Bucks Quarter (PA): “My interest in justice was a seed planted in Doylestown Friends Meeting in First Day School by Larry Miller when I was a teen. Recently I was honored to work on the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Maine on what happened to Native children in the child welfare system. Working with Quaker colleagues on Multicultural issues is an exciting prospect to me.
tonya thames taylor, Clerk, Fallowfield MM, Western Quarter (PA): In the liner notes of “Love Supreme,” musician and messenger John Coltrane writes, “May we never forget that in the sunshine of our lives, through the storm and after the rain – it is all with God – in all ways and forever.” Meditation, self-reflection, acceptance, and service to others are four actions gleaned, thus far, in my celestial journey. PYM is exploring how it can better love, serve, and emit goodness and that journey reminds me of a scripture, Matthew 7:7, that has sustained me since my youth “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
Deb Will, Providence MM, Chester Quarter (PA): “I have agreed to serve on this committee because it brings together two passions of mine, diversity, and inclusion, and Quakerism. I recognize that Friends have not fully lived up to our testimony of equality because our institutions, and the individuals within them, are part of a society where racism and other isms run rampant. I want to help Friends and PYM in particular, to recognize ways that we can become a more inclusive and welcoming community.”
Wanda Wyffels, Abingdon MM, Abington Quarter (PA): “From childhood I’ve believed we are all one and have tried to live out the testimony of equality by not being a respecter of persons. My spirit leaped for joy when I first heard of the possibility of a multicultural audit of PYM. While I have long felt the oneness of all in my spirit, I know that working that out in the world around me is not that simple, even among those with good intentions. I trust performing the audit on PYM will be enlightening and bring us closer to the beloved community we seek together in Spirit. I come to my service to this end both humbly and hopefully.”
The Multicultural Audit Steering Committee (MASC)
Over the next several months, The People’s Committee, your MASC, committee will keep our ongoings posted via this page.
A Little History: Our First Meeting
Sunday, Dec 10, 2017:
Peace and Progress! The Clerk’s Reflection of the First Gathering of the Multicultural Audit Steering Committee, where 19 Friends met, held on Saturday, Dec. 9th at Arch Street Meeting affirmed the purpose of, encouraged each other, and participated engagingly and delivered their best fruits. – tonya thames taylor
Our First Meeting
Our first meeting was held on a cold, crop Saturday, December 9, 2017 at Arch Street Meeting House in Philadelphia. A snowstorm was predicted, but held off until after we meet.
At the onset of the meeting, The Clerk distributed copies ofHoward Thurman’s Jesus and The Disinherited (New York: Abington-Cokesbury Press, 1949; Reprint, Boston, Beacon Press: 1996). She explained that for all to be one page regarding the task ahead, the reading of this spiritual grounding would help.
To (re)introduce Thurman, the Clerk showed several videos (listed below):
“What Do you Want?”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUsG4B8VKqQ
Followed by a showing of Alice Walker’s “Broken Things”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OqWCOQre6g
Afterward, we, over savory, tasty food served by African-American caterer Sodiah Thomas, discussed how we would gather, communicate, design committees, establish a doable timeline, and figure out how we articulate what we are seeking until we find the consultant.
Our first meeting was from 10 AM-2 PM at Arch Street Meetinghouse because of the position of Grace Douglass, a dynamic attender who worshipped at Arch Street and served work in the areas of abolition and women’s rights as she taught children.
We are rising,
tonya thames taylor, Clerk