Quakers understand that there is a strong connection between working toward social justice and walking through life in mindful spirituality. Insights emerge from a life that expresses and searches for that of God in everyone. These insights often present opportunities to recognize the need for collective liberation. With further examination, we can see that we do not live in a world where every person has access to the same opportunity that the understanding of, “that of God in everyone,” would suggest they should. Our faith in the Spirit invites Quakers into a space where we can work together for an equitable life of justice for all. From the beginning, Quakers have made efforts to emphasize the connection between spirituality and social justice. Today, within Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM), we can see this work continued.
PYM has stated a focus on addressing issues of racism and white supremacy within the Religious Society of Friends. Throughout our yearly meeting community, we see efforts being made in an attempt at working toward this goal. A burgeoning group associated with the Philadelphia chapter of an organization called Showing Up for Racial Justice has started a reading group for the Movement 4 Black Lives Platform. The group’s aim is to deepen our political education on issues of racism in our country and to better understand ways we can engage in work already being done to support the policies that the platform promotes. Our Quaker LIfe Council (QLC) has also been wrestling with the platform. As noted in a letter from Lane Taylor, QLC Clerk:
Recently, we have come under the weight of a request from the Movement for Black Lives to endorse their platform. I also recently learned that the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has endorsed this platform. Due to our Yearly Meeting’s Spirit-led obligation to address racism as Minuted at the January 2015 Called Session, this request and platform has come under our thoughtful discernment…We are aware that so many of our Monthly Meetings are engaging in powerful anti-racism work, and we want you to have access to these resources immediately, in the event that they speak to thy condition.
Haddonfield Monthly Meeting is scheduled to host an Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) training to promote conflict resolution through non-violence.
There are countless other ways that our PYM community is involved in trying to create a world that supports the liberation of all people. Because we recognize the important place of faith and spirituality in this work, we need to gather in mutual support of one another and broaden our capacity for transforming ourselves and the world. For this reason, Swarthmore Monthly Meeting will host a thread gathering to explore ways to participate in social justice efforts already taking place in our communities. On December 10th, we are hosting a Spirituality and Social Justice Thread Gathering for this very purpose. The program will center on anti-racism education and service. Joins us as we explore how our spirituality moves us into a pursuit of social justice, and go to the PYM Calendar to look for ways to be involved in work that is happening around us that promotes the belief of that of God in everyone.