Black History Month honors the triumphs and struggles of African Americans throughout U.S. history. To celebrate this, we draw attention to Quakers and the way their lives speak through organizations that make a difference today.
Two inspiring examples of Quakers making black history in 2020 folllow:
Ujima Friends Peace Center
It is important to build communities through an experience of faith and love.
The Fellowship of Friends of African Descent was formed at a 1990 gathering at Pendle Hill for Quakers of African descent who wanted to know each other and shape shared ministry. Out of that ministry, Ujima was created.
In 2016, the Fellowship of Friends of African Descent wanted to address the causes and consequences of state-sanctioned violence at a local level, and also wanted to be visibly present and active in a community. This led to the opening of The Ujima Friends Peace Center.
The word Ujima conveys a powerful intention: to make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together. The Center has formed profound connections in the community with inter-generational programming, and Ujima has become stronger since its founding, with growing numbers of young members wanting to be a part of the community.
Ujima Friends Peace Center’s worship community is located in the heart of the African-American community in North Philadelphia, at 17th Street and Lehigh Avenue. Last year, PYM’s Quaker Life Council made its second $15,000 grant to Ujima Friends to help with their rent and other costs.
Stay tuned for more in depth reporting on Ujima as we have news to share.
Every Murder is Real (EMIR) Healing Center
Every week we let our lives speak. We choose how to engage with the community, in faith, and with love. On Valentine’s day, the Inquirer ran an interesting story about love, and we link to it today because it features a Greene Street Meeting Friend known for her NGO (Every Murder is Real-EMIR) and her deep engagement around the issue of gun violence. Her name is Victoria Greene and she has let her life speak through love.
We are reminded every day of the differences people make in the lives of others.
Victoria founded the Every Murder is Real (EMIR) Healing Center after her son, Emir was shot in the back and killed at the age of 20. In 2004, EMIR received its non-profit status and began working directly with families and community members who have been affected by homicide and violence. Their focus is to treat trauma and promote healing through education and emotional support.
There is no better way to close this month than to remind ourselves that history is being made every day by people who inspire others to care.