American Friends Service Committee Interchange Reports
The text of Interchange reports from the American Friends Service Committee are available below. To jump to a particular report, simply click the link below.
|Winter 2012 Interchange|
|Winter 2017 Interchange|
American Friends Service Committee was founded in 1917 in response to WWI, with the goal of both relieving the suffering of war and providing alternatives to military service. AFSC knows that miracles can happen when we build the capacity for peace person-by-person, community-by-community. As our 100th anniversary approaches, we want to share powerful lessons from our history and remember the connections AFSC has built across the world. We’ve developed a traveling museum exhibition about AFSC and will be hosting a peace and justice summit conference in Philadelphia to share and learn with you.
Waging Peace: 100 Years of Action is an interactive exhibition opening in January 2017 at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. The exhibit demonstrates the effectiveness of nonviolence to build justice, overcome oppression and prevent violence, using the provocative stories of those who struggled against injustice during the last century. The exhibit is built around five issue areas AFSC continues to engage with today: building peace, ending discrimination, addressing prisons, just economies, and immigrant rights. A call to action, inspiring visitors to engage in justice work beyond the museum, is the capstone of the museum experience.
AFSC has also created a condensed version of the exhibit for use at Quaker meetings and churches. If your Meeting/Church would like to host the condensed exhibit, visit https://www.starcafe.org/service/centennial to fill out a short reservation form. We will provide a guide with promotion and event ideas to meetings displaying the exhibit.
Another part of our 100th anniversary celebration is an AFSC-sponsored summit April 20-23, 2017 in Philadelphia. With the summit, we will articulate a vision forward for peace and justice by joining movements that are making the connection between militarism, racism, and materialism. The summit consists of an academic symposium and a variety of workshops, culminating in a day of action to “let our lives speak”. Everyone is welcome to participate in the summit, but pre-registration is required to attend the workshops. Visit the AFSC Centennial website, afsc.org/100, for details.
We know that after 100 years, AFSC has many deep and poignant connections within the Quaker community. If you have had a meaningful experience with AFSC, as a participant, staff member, supporter, or donor, we invite you to share your story for our “Peace works” series on the AFSC website, peaceworks.afsc.org. A First Day School curriculum will also be available in 2017 for meetings, including an intergenerational session on gathering Peace Works stories.
Let us continue this powerful work together for the next century!
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is undergoing a restructuring/reorganization. Our region, the Mid-Atlantic Region (MAR), has had programs in Logan, West Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, DC; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and even some in New York State. This region will be merging with the South East Region (SERO). Many of you have been integral to the works of the AFSC though the decades. The new South Region will span 17 states, including some of the MAR areas; specifically the Maryland, Washington, DC, and West Virginia programs will go South, while Pennsylvania and New York programs move with the Northeastern region. It is easy to think that this is merely a financially motivated move. But “the most exciting part of this new structure is the opportunity to revitalize our ways of working together as corporation, board, staff, volunteers, Friends meetings and churches and community partners” according to Lucy Duncan, the Friends Liaison for the AFSC, in an informative piece for the February 2012 edition of Friends Journal.
As Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Representative to the Executive Committee, you may e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) any questions you have about this transitional time. You may also want to check out the AFSC website to read about their programs. Or talk with people about the work of AFSC. Several people from Baltimore Yearly Meeting are involved in programs, or serve on boards. I have been excited about the work being done in this region, work with prisoners and their families, with teachers and their curriculum, with youth in PA and WV, and with the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in WV. Moving forward will be exciting as we learn more about the good work being done in the Deeper and Deep South! As I write this a new South Regional director is being sought, and other regions are also in this process. What an exciting time!