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We will come under the weight of addressing racism as a yearly meeting, exploring action in the world and possible, additional structures in our governance. This will be one in a series of plenary sessions considered to be part of our extended, virtual 2020 Annual Sessions.
- 10:00 a.m. to 11 a.m. — Optional worship with attention to connection and grounding during a pandemic, with land acknowledgement (60 mins)
- 11 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. — Introductions from Clerk, Review of Agenda and Tech (15 mins)
- 11:15 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. — Review of the strategic direction on corporate ministry and explanation of yearly-meeting-wide witness (10 mins)
- 11:25 a.m. to 11:35 a.m. — Review of and receiving minute(s) (10 mins)
- 11:35 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. — Brief Presentation on the Poor People’s Campaign from Sophia Burns, AFSC (10 mins)
- 11:55 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. — Q&A from the body, involving panelists from the recorded panel discussion, see below (15 mins)
- 12:10 p.m. to 12:40 p.m. — Small groups, queries related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (40 mins)
- 12:40 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. — Report back from small groups and closing worship (20 mins)
To prepare for the plenary session we encourage Friends to watch the below series of videos. We conducted individual interviews with Oskar Castro, .O, Ayesha Imani, Vanessa Julye, Ellen Morfei, Dwight Dunston, and Sophia Burns. We also conducted a panel discussion with these Friends.
- Interview with .O Plenary Session 2020: on Addressing Racism (Part 1)
- Interview with Ayesha Plenary Session 2020: on Addressing Racism (Part 2)
- Interview with Dwight Plenary Session 2020: on Addressing Racism (Part 3)
- Interview with Sophia Plenary Session 2020: on Addressing Racism (Part 4)
- Interview with Oskar Castro Plenary Session 2020: on Addressing Racism (Part 5)
- Interview with Vanessa Julye Plenary Session 2020: on Addressing Racism (Part 6)
- Interview with Ellen Morfei Plenary Session 2020: on Addressing Racism (Part 7)
- Addressing Racism Ground Rules (.pdf)
- Addressing Racism Minute – Establishing the Yearly Meeting Wide Witness (.pdf)
- Fellowship of Friends of African Descent 2016 Minute (.pdf)
- Poor People’s Campaign Endorsements (.pdf)
- We Won’t Stop Until We Dismantle the Whole Racist System (afsc.org)
- A Quaker call to defund the police (afsc.org)
- Virtual Opportunities for People of Color (fgcquaker.org)
- Becoming an Anti-Racist Faith Community (fgcquaker.org)
- The Outgoing Epistle of the 2020 Virtual Pre-Gathering of Friends of Color and their Families (fgcquaker.org)
- Vital Friends: Responding to Systemic Racism with Systemic Love (fgcquaker.org)
- Institutional Assessment on Systemic Racism Task Force: Recommendations & FGC Central Committee 2018 Discernment (fgcquaker.org)
Oskar Castro, Quaker Voluntary Service, Director of Equity and Inclusion and Philadelphia Coordinator
Oskar Pierre Castro is an artist/author/analyst/non-violent activist with over twenty-five years of service in the non-profit sector working on youth development, career development, peace activism, decolonization work, and labor rights. He currently serves with Quaker Voluntary Service as the Philadelphia City Coordinator and the Director of Equity & Inclusion. A member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, Oskar recently published his first Afro-futurist novel, and is developing a documentary film about the debt crisis that plagues his homeland of Puerto Rico.
Dwight Dunston, Friends’ Central School, Coordinator of Equity and Justice Education, and member of City Love, a West Philly social justice music and education group
Dwight Dunston (aka Sterling Duns) is a West Philly based Quaker hip-hop artist, musician, educator, facilitator, organizer. He holds a BA in English from Dickinson College and an MA in Poetry from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Dwight is the former Coordinator of Equity and Justice Education at Friends’ Central School, a trainer with the University of Pennsylvania Lion’s Story, as well as serving on numerous boards throughout Philadelphia and speaking at colleges and conferences throughout the country. Sterling has performed throughout the world with numerous groups, such as Hardwork Movement, and has shared the stage with many different musical acts such as Talib Kweli, QuestLove, Redman, Method Man, Rhiannon Giddens, and many more. His passion for music stems from his desire to make sense of the events that make our lives unique and intertwined, all at once. Sterling has worked with youth from all different backgrounds, at summer camps and in classrooms, for the last 10+ years and truly believes that if we empower and inspire the youth of today, our future will be in great hands.
Ellen Morfei, Professional Mediator, member of Providence Friends Meeting
Ellen is a Mediator and Restorative Practitioner via her business, Progressive Conflict Solutions, an attender at Providence Meeting, Co-clerk of Providence Meeting’s Racial Justice Group, and long active in many causes and communities in Delaware County including Transition Town Media, Delco CPR (Coalition for Prison Reform), and SURJ SEPA/Delco (Showing Up for Racial Justice).
.O, Facilitator and Healer, member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting
.O, is an African-American Quaker, community activist, and spiritual guide in the Philadelphia area. Her ministry Love and Respect Transform: A ministry of deepening our understanding and experience of alternatives to violence by exploring the transformative power of Love was recognized by Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting in 2017. Neighboring Philadelphia communities is where she addresses issues pertaining to environmental racism, classism, addiction, negative thought systems, and internalized oppression. She is a maturing leader and founding mother of two environmental justice organizations in the city: Serenity Soular and Philly Thrive. .O also serves as a healing justice facilitator within the organization POWER an interfaith organization committed to building communities of opportunity that work for all. She has over 30 years of facilitating Large and small group/break-out sessions and is skilled at using theater to address difficult social issues. .O is the recipient of the 2014 Leeway Transformation Award as a Solo Performance Artist for her social change work in North Philadelphia. The Leeway Award for social change concerns art with a vision that alters how we think about ourselves, our society, or our culture. In 2019, she received the Shepherd of Peace Prize from the Good Shepherd Mediation Program.
Vanessa Julye, Friends General Conference, Ministry on Racism Program Coordinator
Vanessa acknowledges that she lives and works on the traditional territory of the Lenape Nation.
Vanessa is Friends General Conference’s Coordinator for the Institutional Assessment’s Implementation Committee, the Committee for Nurturing Ministries focusing on the Racism and Youth Ministries Programs, as well as, a member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and Ujima Friends Peace Center.
She is and has been working on increasing awareness of racism in the Quaker and sectarian communities for over 25 years. She has a call to a ministry with a concern for helping the Religious Society of Friends become a whole blessed community. She travels throughout the country and abroad speaking on this topic and leading workshops about racism focusing on its eradication and the healing of racism’s wounds. She meets with Quakers of Color throughout the world, many of whom are isolated members of their Quaker meetings in Britain, Canada, and the United States of America. Vanessa is a co-author with Donna McDaniel of Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship: Quakers, African Americans, and the Myth of Racial Justice that focuses on the relationship between African American Friends and non-Friends with Quakers of European descent from the 17th through 21st Centuries. She wrote the foreword for Margaret Hope Bacon’s pamphlet; Sarah Mapps Douglass, Faithful Attender of Quaker Meeting, View from the Back Bench. Vanessa has published numerous articles and pamphlets on Quakers and racism including The Seed Cracked Open, Growing Beyond Racism.
Ayesha Imani, Ujima Friends Peace Center, Clerk and Head of School of Sankofa Freedom Academy and Executive Manager of Imhotep Charter High School
Ayesha Imani is Clerk of the Fellowship of Friends of African Descent and is one of its founders. She is also Clerk of the Ujima Friends Peace Center in Philadelphia. She has been a member of Germantown Monthly Meeting for 37 years. Ayesha serves on the Quaker Life Council of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and has served on the Germantown Friends School Committee, PYM Religious Education Committee, PYM Racial Concerns Committee, PYM Outreach Committee and has been Superintendent of GMM First Day School. Ayesha Imani is the founder and Head of School of Sankofa Freedom Academy, an African Centered social justice charter school in Kensington and Executive Manager of Imhotep Institute Charter High School , an African Centered STEM school in east Germantown. Ayesha has been working for black liberation through education for the past 53 years.
Sophia Burns, American Friends Service Committee, Fellow
Sophia Burns (she/her) is the Robert Andrew Stuart Fellow at American Friends Service Committee working in collaboration with the Poor People’s Campaign. Born and raised in South Jersey, she is the Black-Irish-Cuban-American daughter of a working class family, and her work honors these roots. In her present role, she is dedicated to bringing action-oriented programming focused on anti-racism and economic justice to Quaker communities. As an organizer and facilitator, Sophia has worked with young people from rural New York to Camden, NJ to pursue liberation through community, conversation, and creativity. Oral history, popular education, and her studies in Cuba deeply influence her approach to activism. She is excited to explore intergenerational organizing at AFSC over the next year. Sophia holds a BA in Urban Studies from Vassar College and is based in Philadelphia.