Thirty years ago, Toni Morrison told a newspaper interviewer, “In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.” For most of us, whiteness is still the default, the norm, in our communities – and that makes identifying and eradicating racism more difficult. Our Friend Prof. Janet Gray, currently editing a book of feminist writings on whiteness, joins us online to discuss the idea of whiteness, and how it affects us as individuals and in community. We all have much of value to contribute to the conversation – so Let’s Talk. All are welcome at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81587816369 on Thursday 15 December at 7:30pm for this conversation sponsored by Moorestown Friends Meeting’s Anti-Racism Committee.
Peace and Social Action
If you are interested in learning more about the Spring Term, Pendle Hill’s ten-week residential student program, join us for this informal online conversation.
As Pendle Hill lives into the final decade of its first century, we celebrate our rich history as an experiment in spiritual learning community. In a moment when the world feels exhausted, fractured, and depleted, Pendle Hill’s Spring Term offers a greenhouse – a protected space for Friends and other seekers to bring leadings, ideas in their infancy or ready to move to the next level, and other seeds of the “already but not yet” – to nurture these visions into being, through the daily rhythm of study, worship, and work, in community.
The Spring Term at Pendle Hill is March 1-May 10, 2023. Learn more about the Spring Term here: https://pendlehill.org/learn/resident-study-program/
The Travel and Witness Granting Group (TWGG) provides grants to support active service and witness by individuals following leadings of the Spirit.
The group has made fewer grants since March 2020 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on travel plans and gatherings. This decrease means that the group has more funds available for future grants, and therefore welcomes applications for creative ideas that involve connecting with other communities through travel or witness. [Read more…] about Apply for a Travel & Witness Grant at the March 1 Deadline
PYM’s Natalie Clifford Barney Fund provides grants to organizations providing family planning, specifically planned parenthood and birth control. Over the course of winter 2021, members of the Quaker Buildings & Programs granting group met several times to discern an impactful use of the funds today.
Greetings from the Indian Committee
We want you to be aware of on MONDAY NOVEMBER 5th 10PM PBS will broadcast DAWNLAND
About the Film
They were forced to assimilate into white society: children ripped away from their families, depriving them of their culture and erasing their identities. Can reconciliation help heal the scars from childhoods lost? Dawnland is the untold story of Indigenous child removal in the US through the nation’s first-ever government-endorsed truth and reconciliation commission, which investigated the devastating impact of Maine’s child welfare practices on the Wabanaki people.
PS Learn the Lenape Language online! http://talk-lenape.org/getting-started
Green Street Meeting’s EMIR Ministry Support Group says a heartfelt “Thank you!” to everyone at Green Street, the meetings in Philadelphia Quarter, and beyond who supported our school supplies drive in summer 2018.
The drive benefited 103 children whose families had lost a loved one to homicide, and who received services and support from the EMIR Healing Center. The center was founded by our member Victoria Greene, and named in memory of her son Emir, who was murdered. The name also makes the statement “Every Murder Is Real.” No matter who the victim was, or how much or little attention the crime received, that person’s loved ones are mourning their loss for years afterwards.
Still going strong in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood, after 19 years, the EMIR Healing Center continues to help families survive and eventually heal from the pain of losing a loved one to homicide.
Friends from Green Street Meeting formed the EMIR Ministry Support Group in early 2018. We use the Quaker Social Change Ministry model, developed by American Friends Service Committee (especially Green Street member Lucy Duncan). In this model, a group of Quakers partner with a local organization led by people most impacted by a particular issue. The Quaker group follows their lead in deciding what to work on. The model also makes time for spiritual sharing, connection, and reflection, leading to deeper relationship, followership, and grounding of action.
Victoria asked our group at Green Street to organize a drive to provide backpacks with school supplies to the children EMIR serves. When a parent is mourning a murdered family member, whether it be a brother, sister, parent, or child, it can be very hard for them to keep things together for the rest of the family. They may be depressed and overwhelmed, and not as able to track things like school start dates and supply lists. They may lose income or even their job.
Our ministry support group got organized in the spring, asked the Meeting to take us under their care, and then spent the summer campaigning and publicizing the drive. An online buying service was set up so supporters could buy things and have them shipped directly to EMIR. (See this PYM news story from May 2018.)
With a couple of weeks to go before our deadline, we had 51 backpacks, toward our goal of 85. And then we found out there were 103 kids served by EMIR! With God’s abundance, people came through. We had enough to serve every child. We raised about $1,750 in donations, which enabled us to fill gaps in what was bought online or contributed in person.
The week before school started, we gave away 103 backpacks with school supplies in them at the EMIR office. The little children in particular were overjoyed. There were even a few backpacks left over, in case other children have a need.
Victoria said it was a great success and thanked our support group for doing the project and everyone who contributed supplies, funds, or time.
To everyone who purchased supplies online, dropped off supplies directly at the Meetinghouse or at the EMIR office, or made a donation, THANK YOU!
– Chris Mohr, support group convenor
Photo: Victoria Greene, member of Green Street Meeting and founder of EMIR Healing Center, with a box used to collect school supplies. Learn more about EMIR at emirphilly.org.
On May 16, 2018, Fran Sheldon (Providence Meeting) and Paul Sheldon (Lansdowne Meeting) participated in a Demand the Ban action in Philadelphia to demand that Senator Toomey co-sponsor Senate Bill 2095 that bans the sale of assault weapons. [Read more…] about Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Friends support arrestees at Demand the Ban action outside Senator Toomey’s office in Philadelphia
Green Street Meeting’s Quaker Social Change Ministry group in support of EMIR Healing Center is having a “Fill a Bookbag” drive to gather school supplies for 85 children participating in the center’s programs this year.
EMIR stands for “Every Murder is Real.” The center, in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, was founded by Green Street member Victoria Greene, after her son Emir was murdered. Victoria has spoken about the work of EMIR Healing Center in keynote addresses at PYM Annual Sessions and the FGC Gathering, as well as in a QuakerSpeak video.
Murder is devastating to families. Children risk falling behind in school or being unprepared due to the traumatic emotional and financial consequences of murder. Parents and caregivers may still be struggling with grief and trauma long after the incident. The ministry support group is pulling together backpacks with school supplies for the children, so their families have one less thing to worry about.
You can help by writing a check to Green Street Friends Meeting, memo EMIR Fill a Bookbag, or shopping an Amazon wish list and having the supplies shipped directly to EMIR Healing Center. The ministry support group will assemble the backpacks in August. Learn more at http://greenstreetfriendsmeeting.org/emir.html.
Day 1- Feeling the Faith behind Lobbying
We gather on Saturday, March 17 at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Hundreds of Young Adults from 40 States convene to learn how to effectively lobby our government from a place of faith on the topic of immigration for Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) Spring Lobby Weekend. Today we go deep right away to answer the questions: “Why are we here?” and “What stories do we bring?” In small group discussions there is a shared shyness about opening up and telling our stories, but it starts, and our advocacy corps member gives guiding support for what stories are useful when talking to our representatives. When we gather back in our large group of around 400 people, we settle into silence and Friends begin to share their stories. Many of the people who stand up share that they themselves are DACA recipients, or have family members who are undocumented, and whose families have been affected by the criminalization of immigration in the United States. My witness to our lobby topic deepens in the worshipful sharing. In closing worship a Friend stands and quotes Assata Shakur, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
Day 2- The Lobby Ask:
On Day 2, Immigration & Domestic Policy Lobbyist at FCNL, Hannah Graf Evans, introduces us to the lobby ask, or in other words, what exactly we are asking our government to do. This is the wording given by FCNL: “We urge Congress to protect Dreamers by enacting a pathway to citizenship without breaking families apart or ramping up extreme border enforcement. Passing protections for Dreamers is just a first step. True immigration reform will require much more to align policy with our shared values of welcome, compassion, and diversity.” You can find the full lobby ask here.
At the keynote today, Greisa Martinez Rosas from United We Dream shared her story and why she fights for people who are undocumented. She also shared with us a Mexican proverb, “They tried to bury us, but they did not know we were seeds.” You can watch the full speech on FCNL’s Facebook Page.
Day 3- Lobby Training.
After a Congressional Staff Panel, we gather in state-groups to plan our lobby visit. I meet with PA but there are other PYM YAF’s who are representing New Jersey. We have an afternoon appointment in Senator Casey’s (PA) office so there is a sense that the pressure is on. One of the most helpful pieces of Spring Lobby Weekend was the Lobby Visit Roadmap they shared with us (FCNL’s strategy for an effective meeting). It includes introductions, thank yous, the ask, and having three people share their stories, followed by repeating the ask, more thank yous and a post visit follow-up email. In our Pennsylvania delegation we identified the people who would be sharing stories today, which included a DACA recipient who is a student at Penn State, a friend from rural PA with a Christ-based faith approach to the ask, and ME! (Before working at PYM I did a lot of work with undocumented communities and I’m grateful I was able bring this experience here.)
In the afternoon we follow the lobby visit roadmap and have a semi-successful meeting with a staffer of Senator Casey. Successful in the fact that Sen. Casey supports our ask. However, discouraging because the staffer believes the Democrats have no power even to get this on the floor right now. As I reflect on the meeting on the front steps of Russell Senate Office Building, Casey walks right up the stairs next to me!
Day 4- Lobbying and a snow storm
Unfortunately on the final day of Spring Lobby Weekend a snow storm picks up and I head off early as to not get snowed in. However the PA delegation kept lobbying and met with staffers of Senator Toomey!
written by Meg Rose
Young Adult Engagement Coordinator
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