Canadian Friends Service Committee’s (CFSC) work has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, for the first time in two decades CFSC wasn’t at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that was scheduled for April—because it was canceled. Although the CFSC office is closed, staff are able to do most of the same work virtually, and in some cases moving to Zoom has even allowed for a broader geographic diversity of participants.
Staff have started offering a free six-week-long peace skills workshop series allowing group members to learn from each other using several chapters of CFSC’s award-winning 2019 book Are We Done Fighting? Building Understanding in a World of Hate and Division as a basis for conversation. There are also facilitated group activities and one-on-one discussions in breakout rooms. The series is scheduled based on each group’s availability; registration information is available on the website.
In response to the killing of unarmed Black and Indigenous people in the United States and Canada, CFSC created another free series of workshops that help participants study and learn about systemic racism, particularly as it relates to the criminal justice system. This series started in September and includes a number of external experts helping to advise and shape the discussions.