Following on our April 22 ‘Let’s Talk About Deep Delta Justice’ session, Moorestown Friends Meeting’s Anti-Racism Committee welcomes our member Matthew van Meter to continue the conversation of his compelling book, the historic Supreme Court case Duncan v. Louisiana, and its implications for anti-racism efforts today. The book is available through Pendle Hill and numerous other outlets. Click here to join the discussion, or phone 646-558-8656 and use meeting ID 815 8781 6369.
Haddonfield Quarterly Meeting will include a presentation on Black History, featuring Dr. Teresa Nance. Friends are invited to participate, with worship starting at 10 AM, followed by the program at 11 AM.
Nance is currently serving as the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Chief Diversity Officer at Villanova University. Her office has launched a new campaign called Living Race—Transforming Community that focuses on organizational systemic change and high-impact community engagement to facilitate opportunities for Black and minoritized students, staff and faculty to succeed and thrive within the University. She has ties with both Swarthmore and Central Philadelphia Monthly Meetings. Please see the PYM Stories about Dr. Nance for additional information.
Pre-registration is required; zoom information will be sent on Saturday, 4/24 to those who have pre-registered. Link: https://www.southjerseyquakers.org/quarterly-mtg-4-25/
Join Moorestown Friends Meeting’s Anti-Racism Committee as we read and discuss our member Matthew van Meter’s book about life, politics and civil rights in the 1960s – and the landmark civil rights decision of Duncan v. Louisiana. Matthew, a journalist and activist (Shakespeare in Prison), did extensive research to create an account of “how grassroots heroism can topple even one of segregation’s most fearsome tyrants.” The book is available through Pendle Hill and numerous other outlets. Click here to join the discussion, or phone 646-558-8656 and use meeting ID 873 3565 8140. And save the date: Matthew joins us Thursday, May 13, at 7:30pm, to discuss his work.
Moorestown Friends Meeting’s Anti-Racism Committee invites you to read and discuss this essay by Reginald Dwayne Betts, a poet, lawyer and ex-convict whose mother survived a violent crime, and worked to put her attacker in prison. Betts brings an important, multi-layered and eloquent perspective to questions of crime, punishment and race in America today. Click here to join the conversation on Thursday, March 25 at 7:30 pm, or phone 646-558-8656 and use meeting #873 3565 8140.
If the link above doesn’t work, copy this URL and paste into your internet browser to read the essay: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/20/magazine/kamala-harris-crime-prison.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article.
If the link for the meeting doesn’t work, copy and paste this URL to join the conversation: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87335658140.
Moorestown Friends Meeting’s Anti-Racism Committee welcomes you to read and discuss this essay by Reginald Dwayne Betts, a poet, lawyer and ex-convict whose mother survived a violent crime, and worked to put her attacker in prison. Betts brings an important, multi-layered and eloquent perspective to questions of crime, punishment and race in America today. Click here to join the conversation, or phone 646-558-8656 and use meeting #873 3565 8140.
Boaz Matlack, a criminal justice activist and former Camp Dark Waters counselor, joins Moorestown Friends Meeting’s Anti-Racism Committee for a conversation about working with law enforcement, school districts, F/friends and neighbors to address racial justice issues in our communities. Click here to join the conversation on Thursday, March 11 at 7:30 pm, or phone 646-558-8656 and use meeting #815 8781 6369.
The Anti-Racism Committee of Moorestown Friends Meeting seeks to identify political and legislative priorities to support anti-racism. Given the Meeting’s roots in NJ farming, one obvious area of interest is agriculture. The committee acknowledges the systemic racism that permeates agriculture and farming in the United States. US Senator Cory Booker has taken note of the relative paucity of Black-owned farmland not just in NJ but throughout our nation. The direct connection between discriminatory practices of the USDA and the status of Black farmers was first documented by government-sponsored reports in 1997. The discrimination primarily took the shape of denying Black farmers timely access to government loans which caused Black farmers to lose their farms. The 2002 Farm Bill and the 2018 Farm Bill signaled progressive efforts to address this discrimination. While some progress has been made, e.g., an increase in the number of Black farmers and the acreage of Black farms, more is needed as the average farm income of Black-operated farms in 2017 was 40% of that of white-operated farms. To address this gap, the Justice for Black Farmers Act, co-sponsored by Senator Booker in late 2020, seeks to provide land grants to Black farmers.
On the recommendation of Member Pete Small, several committee members met for a tour of Free Haven Farm in early November 2020. We fell in love with the owners, the kale, and the fire sauce. Established in 2017, Free Haven Farms is a Black-owned farm in Lawnside, NJ. Its owners are Cynthia (Moorestown Friends School, 1997) and Micaiah Hall. The Halls are passionate about their mission of sustainability and attainability. To that end, Free Haven Farm produces much more than produce – farm tours, ag workshops, soil testing, garden consultation, a science camp for kids, and yoga and capoeira angola (Brazilian martial art) classes. Mr. Hall is the former Farm Director of Mill Creek Farm in Philadelphia. Dr. Cynthia Hall is an environmental geochemist and Associate Professor at West Chester University. Their farm reflects their interest in building bridges into the community through healthy food and food education for those with limited access to both.
Please join the Moorestown Meeting’s Anti-Racism Committee on Thursday, February 25 at 7:30 pm by Zoom for a conversation with Cynthia and Micaiah Hall. Click here or phone 646-558-8656 and use meeting #873 3565 8140.
In the U.S., there are 71 Friends schools affiliated with the Friends Council on Education, serving PreK through high school students. What if all of those schools were sanctuary campuses, offering protection for their undocumented students and their families? Recently, AFSC and PYM decided to find out if any Quaker schools were having these same dreams of Quaker witness in the face of injustice.
Of the roughly 30 schools I spoke with, most had no sanctuary campus statements or other official policies regarding undocumented students. A handful of schools had procedural plans in place to guide staff through interactions with ICE on campus. San Francisco Friends School has shared their written guidelines. One Friends school had knowingly gone through the process of admitted an undocumented student, while a few others said they didn’t ask for any kind of documentation but have considered that some of their students might be undocumented. Even though many schools didn’t have policies in place, there was a hunger for more information about how to implement best practices for undocumented students.
Swarthmore College is the only Quaker-affiliated college to declare itself a sanctuary campus and only did so after direct pressure from students. Bryn Mawr, Earlham, Haverford, and Whittier colleges all follow sanctuary-type policies (supporting DACA students, not participating in E-Verify and not allowing ICE on campus without a signed warrant), but none have taken the step of using sanctuary language.
Beyond creating a safe learning environment for undocumented students, there is the possibility of Quaker schools using the same model as Quaker meetings and other churches who have taken individuals into sanctuary. ICE policy is to avoiding raiding schools as well as places of worship—how powerful would it be to offer sanctuary in 71 schools across the country? How powerful would it be to include radical actions like providing sanctuary as part of a Quaker education?
It’s more complicated than simply telling Quaker schools to be better. There are very few models for this kind of resistance, and many real concerns, such as becoming a target for enforcement or how sanctuary might interfere with a school’s relationships with the government agencies that issue student visas. Some of these fears have answers, but others will require experiments and test cases.
AFSC and PYM want to help connect Quaker schools to the resources that already exist. AFSC has gathered resources used by public schools as part of the “Sanctuary Everywhere” initiative. All of these documents could be translated into Quaker language that adds the weight of our faith to a moral imperative. Once these resources exist, we can begin to encourage Quaker schools to do more in a time of crisis.
So, if you’re a student, teacher, administrator, or board member at a Quaker school, consider using the Quaker Social Change Ministry manual with a group of students to form an accompaniment team, or think about how to adapt the board policy language and classroom instructional materials on AFSC’s Sanctuary in Schools webpage for your school. There are also guides for organizing protests in support of sanctuary policies.
Whatever you do, keep in touch with AFSC and PYM! Let us know what else you need to make your school a sanctuary.
–Emily McGrew, Quaker Voluntary Service Alumni Fellow, American Friends Service Committee
Maybe you’ve heard of FCNL.
I first came into relationship with Friends Committee on National Legislation by way of a push from a Friend. They said, “This is important, you are important, you should team up.”
So I attended Spring Lobby Weekend (begrudgingly!) in 2014 with expectations of feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and disappointed in our government. But somehow, over a few days, FCNL sneakily transformed me into a hopeful lobbyist. I entered my representative’s office on Capitol Hill alone, prepared, centered, and, I believe, effective.
I had lobbied on ending the Authorization for Use of Military Force, an issue on which I certainly did not feel like an expert, but that I knew with my whole spirit was something that needed to be addressed in Congress. I was impressed by the smooth organization of that conference—how calm and prepared I felt in my new lobbying shoes. I was immediately energized by the 4 “We Seeks” that define the mission of FCNL’s operation:
We seek a world free of war and the threat of war
We seek a society with equity and justice for all
We seek a community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled
We seek an earth restored
I felt supported by the logical and radical concept of using morality as a common denominator. It felt right to say, “I know we have different views but I think we can agree that a society with equity and justice for all is something worth working for, and here’s what I think will help make that happen.”
I’m 26 years old, and since I was a teenager I’ve felt embarrassed to be an American. I didn’t want to be associated with the reckless consumerism, the racism, the violent greed I tied with our history and our current system– character flaws I had learned to despise growing up in Liberal– and Quaker– circles.
It was through difficult open-minded conversations that I finally realized that my disassociation would not change a powerful country that desperately needs to change. I needed to be an American. I needed to be heard as one, and to be heard, I needed to speak.
But I thought I was already speaking, right? I told Facebook how I felt, and my liberal friends supported me with dozens of clicks. I complained to my mom about the broken system. She was very sympathetic. But eventually I had to admit that, although my mom is important, and social media is a critical tool, the reality is that sweeping political change comes from …policy.
And did you know that our representatives are hired by their constituents to take our concerns to the nation’s government? Since none of my representatives have accepted my friend requests (lol), I’m stuck with writing to them and meeting with them to let them know how I want to be represented. It’s still a little overwhelming, because the system is complicated, and what impresses me over and over again is how easily FCNL prepares ordinary people to talk to their representatives.
The bottom line is: You don’t need to be an expert. You just have to be a human.
Bring your human experience with you, and tell your story; you are a lobbyist. Every time you tell someone what you need, you are a lobbyist. You can do this. And you have an incredible opportunity in the resources that FCNL provides at Spring Lobby Weekend (March 18-21, 2017)– this year the issue focus is eliminating economic injustice (specifically addressing healthcare and poverty in the U.S.)
If you are affiliated with PYM and are 18-35ish, the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting can provide funds for your registration as well as travel and housing. Check it out here.
More about Spring Lobby Weekend.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I love Spring Lobby Weekend. I LOVE IT.
– Joey Hartmann-Dow, Lehigh Valley Monthly Meeting
P.S. How many PYM YAFs can you spot in this video??
Reposted, with permission, from Joey’s Earth 4 President blog, which you should definitely check out.
On January 13th, Chris Crass spoke at Friends Center on “Courage for Racial Justice, Courage for Collective Liberation in the Era of Trump.”
The event was hosted in collaboration by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Showing Up for Racial Justice – Philly, Jewish Voice for Peace – Philly, and American Friends Service Committee.
Over two hundred people filled the room for lecture and discussion with longtime anti-racist/collective liberation organizer, author, and educator Chris Crass to explore how we can all rise for racial justice and work for collective liberation in these times.
The event was recorded by American Friends Service Committee.