The Work of the American Friends Service Committee

I’ve always admired the Quakers. Over the years, I’ve read about how this group is always in the forefront of social issues in the last 200 years of American history: they were in the forefront of the abolitonist movement, the right of women to vote, the antiwar movement. I attended 2 Quaker services about 3 years ago and was impressed with the spirituality and quietness of their service. The American Friends Service Committee is a group that tries to put Quaker values into action, in our country and around the world.

In their Mission Statement that was adopted by their Board of Directors in June 19, 1994 states:

This AFSC community works to transform conditions and relationships both in the world and in ourselves, which threaten to overwhelm what is precious in human beings. We nurture the faith that conflicts can be resolved nonviolently, that enmity can be transformed into friendship, strife into cooperation, poverty into well-being, and injustice into dignity and participation. We believe that ultimately goodness can prevail over evil, and oppression in all its many forms can give way.

We cherish the belief that there is that of God in each person, leading us to respect the worth and dignity of all. We are guided and empowered by the Spirit in following the radical thrust of the early Christian witness. From these beliefs flow the core understandings that form the spiritual framework of our organization and guide its work.

We regard no person as our enemy. While we often oppose specific actions and abuses of power, we seek to address the goodness and truth in each individual.

We assert the transforming power of love and nonviolence as a challenge to injustice and violence and as a force for reconciliation.

We seek and trust the power of the Spirit to guide the individual and collective search for truth and practical action.

We accept our understandings of truth as incomplete and have faith that new perceptions of truth will continue to be revealed both to us and to others.
AFSC’s Work

We seek to understand and address the root causes of poverty, injustice, and war. We hope to act with courage and vision in taking initiatives that may not be popular.

We are called to confront, nonviolently, powerful institutions of violence, evil, oppression, and injustice. Such actions may engage us in creative tumult and tension in the process of basic change. We seek opportunities to help reconcile enemies and to facilitate a peaceful and just resolution of conflict.

Today, the AFSC is working to bring the troops home from Afganistan and Iraq through advocacy and education work to teach the public and our politicians of the human and economic costs of the war.

They’ve worked for the abolition of nuclear weapons through their advocacy of such things as the recent START treaty that was passed last December.

The AFSC is fighting for a humane immigration policy must include a fair path for undocumented workers to gain permanent residence status. Coupled with this, the AFSC is fighting for working people to earn a living wage in their native countries.

The American Friends Service Committee is also fighting for the right of incarcerated people to have proper medical care, appropriate mental health services, and interaction with others. This work includes fighting against the death penalty.

The American Friends Service Committee has influenced many activists, from Grace Paley to Bayard Rustin. Grace Paley wrote in her book Just As I Thought:

Another fact, I came out of a socialist background as a kid and my meeting with pacifists was an extraordinary experience. I met people in the American Friends and the War Resistors League, people like that, totally unfamiliar to me…

…So my meeting in the early sixties, very early, maybe even ’59, with what I later discovered were Friends, was a real breakthrough. The whole idea, the simple sentence “Speak truth to power” really shook me. I was writing more and more stories and thinking about the truth of art and the truth of politics and going further- Act truth to power.

They continue to do commendable work that is an inspiration for all progressive activists to follow.


About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He does a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippines Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since March 2013, he has also contributed cartoons to the Manila Mail, a Filipino American newspaper based in Washington D.C. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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2 Responses to The Work of the American Friends Service Committee

  1. Pingback: nuclear war 2011

  2. Angelo, another great post. I checked out the Everyday Citizen post too. Thank you for your thoughtful and well-documented work!

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