On January 23, 2021, 126 people devoted six hours on a Saturday to attend PYM’s Addressing anti-Blackness Thread Gathering. Organized by Community Engagement Coordinator, Olivia Brangan and Events and Resources Coordinator, T.J. Jourian, the event featured Sarah Willie-LeBreton, Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Swarthmore College and Oskar Castro, Director of HR and Inclusion at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Tenaja Henson, NC Campaign Coordinator for Reproaction, while unable to attend, was also to be featured and contributed to the planning and visioning of the event, along with Sarah and Oskar. [Read more…] about Anti-Blackness Thread Gathering: Change Happens When A Thought Becomes An Action
Deb Hejl, co-clerk of the Legislative Policy Collaborative, submitted the story below about healing circles at the Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project (YSOP). February is a good month to focus on our nation’s problems with incarceration, because there is still time to get informed and ready for FCNL’s Spring Lobbying Sessions.
The school to prison pipeline, and ongoing inequalities faced by persons of color within the policing and judicial systems are things our society must face. Behind the large problems, though, are human hearts and minds that bear witness to the impact on children who have been sentenced to prison for a ‘lifetime of punishment.’ [Read more…] about Life in Prison as a Juvenile: Post Incarceration Stories Shared at Gwynedd
To meet Sarah Willie-LeBreton, Ph.D. is to encounter an exceptionally grounded Friend with a deep knowledge of human societies. Currently Swarthmore College’s Provost and Dean of the Faculty since 2018, Sarah was appointed after having chaired the Department of Sociology & Anthropology (2009-2018), chaired the President’s Task Force on Sexual Misconduct (2013-14), served as Associate Provost (2005-8), and coordinated the Black Studies Program on and off for more than a decade beginning in 1998. Somehow, as she does all this, she has still found time to be present in leading PYM towards growth in important areas. [Read more…] about Quakers in Education: Sarah Willie-LeBreton, Sociologist and Swarthmore Dean
Let us center the experience and contributions of Black Americans throughout history and today. The resources below provide an opportunity to do so while exploring racism, privilege, and bias with young people in our care. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, was one among many Black Americans who built a community and network of activists to achieve change, and there is more work to do.
PYM Presiding Co-Clerks Frank and Jean-Marie Barch presented the following report in the called December 8th Meeting for Business in Continuing Sessions. They shared information gathered from Monthly and Quarterly Meetings in response to the three PYM Initiatives launched at Annual Sessions in July 2020.
Clerks of Meetings who have not already submitted feedback to Jean-Marie and Frank Barch may use this form to do so.
As we look ahead to election week we’ve assembled resources for Friends concerning care for community, crisis response planning, buddy systems, worship sharing, alternatives to calling the police, plus state-specific websites and some democracy organizations. We know that different communities have different needs and interests so have provided a range of alternatives. [Read more…] about Preparing for Election Week
Last summer, PYM created a series of zoom video interviews with members of our community. The videos were part of our addressing racism plenary. These videos are a snapshot in time, and they are a reminder that spoken truth from individuals shape our faith as Friends.
We are republishing a 2020 letter and 2016 minute regarding state sanctioned violence from the Fellowship of Friends of African Descent
This group of African American Friends was formed at a Gathering at Pendle Hill in Pennsylvania in 1990. It arose from a leading among a group of committed Friends, and was born of a desire for Quakers of African descent to get to know each other. Their 1991 mission statement is:
- To publish and respond to the concerns of Friends of African descent within the Religious Society of Friends.
- To provide for the nurture of Friends of African descent, their families and friends.
- To address and respond to issues affecting people of African descent in their communities.
In the 1960’s Freedom Riders rode interstate bus lines in mixed race groups to advocate for desegregation in the south. Many Friends like Bayard Rustin, Norval Reece, and Samuel Snipes devoted their time to collaborative work on the civil rights movement.
Today, Friends and Friends Meeting communities are looking for modern equivalents as they work to embrace equity for all people.
That work often starts very close to home with an examination of one’s personal upbringing, habits, limits, and capacities. It also involves looking at the consequences of legislation designed to make it harder for people of color to access the same freedoms and rights that all people should benefit from. It’s important that this work not be done in isolation, and that it is spiritually grounded. Otherwise the work is much harder.
Overall, we’ve had 386 people attend during six days of annual sessions’ virtual programming, including young people who participated in Youth Programs.
While the Community Engagement team ran a multitude of keynotes, worship sharing/affinity spaces and meetings for Business or Worship, devoted Youth Program staff built meaningful All Together Time, and facilitated morning and afternoon programs supported by Friendly Presences. There were also Bible classes, tech sessions, and very helpful, previously curated, advance documents and videos. Young Adult Friends (YAFs) did spiritual practices including lectio divina, welcomed two YAFs as keynote speakers, and convened contemplative prayer. Parents gathered for an evening worship sharing as an online version of the “Family Neighborhood.” Five plenaries, 18 workshops, and five meditation classes preceded everything as part of the ‘Runway to Sessions.’ [Read more…] about Annual Sessions Final Keynote: “We Belong Together” With City Love