Quaker Organizations Launch Racial Justice Initiative

Unlearn racism light brigade by Joe Brusky. Photo: Joe Brusky via Flickr CC license/Joe Brusky.

On June 16, 2021, a coalition of four Quaker organizations announced a new initiative, Quakers Uprooting Racism, designed ”to accelerate the work to end white supremacy among and beyond Friends.”

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Friends Council on Education, Friends General Conference, and Pendle Hill will collaborate to host a group of around 80 participants with affiliation or experience among Friends. This “community of practice of racial change-makers” will hold monthly Zoom meetings, along with smaller online nurture and support group meetings, from September 2021 through June 2022. They will also take part in a three-day initial training, to be held online in September 2021, and a three-day, in-person retreat at Pendle Hill in March 2022. Together they will create a plan for sustained racial justice work in home communities, including yearly meetings, schools, and other organizations.  

Lisa Graustein, a member of Beacon Hill Meeting in Boston, Mass., and Niyonu Spann, a member of Chester (Pa.) Meeting, will serve as facilitators for all sessions. Both have long offered workshops titled “Beyond Diversity 101.”

 “With Black Lives Matter uprisings and with many yearly meetings adopting commitments to focus on uprooting racism, we see the Religious Society of Friends at a critical juncture at this time,” said Lucy Duncan, Director of Friends Relations for AFSC. “We envision a Quaker community that is continually dismantling white supremacy within the Religious Society of Friends, Quaker institutions, and beyond.” 

Participants will be drawn from North American Quakers (members or those with affiliation and experience among Friends) with demonstrated commitment to anti-racism and/or decolonization work. Applications are due no later than September 1, and organizers are particularly seeking racial parity, representation from queer, gender-nonconforming, and non-heterosexual Friends, as well as Friends under 35 years of age. 

FJ News Editors

Erik Hanson and Windy Cooler are the news editors for Friends Journal. They contributed to the reporting of this story. Do you know about any Quaker news stories we should be covering? Send us tips at news@friendsjournal.org.

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