Tomorrow I am going to La Jolla to take part in Southern California Quarterly Meeting's spring gathering. I am excited about connecting with Friends from all around Southern California, but I am also feeling stretched thin. It is a joy to serve on both committees but clerking both is too much of a good thing. I am hoping that someone will step forward to help either by co-clerking one or both of these committees or by taking on my duties.
Having said that, I must confess I love being part of these Peace Committees and am always inspired and encouraged when I hear of the wonderful work being done by Friends around issues of peace and justice, and also Quaker service. I especially want to lift up Claremont Meeting for reaching out to the homeless and turning their meetinghouse into a shelter for those in need and Lynnette Arnold for her remarkable work on behalf of refugee children crossing the border. She is currently traveling to Karnes, Texas, to take part in an action supporting mothers who are being held in detention and have gone on a hunger strike. Please hold her in the Light. See her blog: alasmigratorias.wordpress.com
Each month the Peace Committee has a phone conference call, to which all are invited. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be included. You can also learn more about peace concerns at my blog: laquaker.blogspot.com.
The PYM Peace and Social Order Committee will sponsor interest groups at our 2015 PYM Annual Session dealing with the following concerns:
· Mass Incarceration and Restorative Justice: An AFSC interest group convened by Laura Magnani and her colleague, Jerry Elster, a formerly incarcerated man who has become our healing justice coordinator. A national network of Friends involved in these issues has been launched by AFSC and Friends around the country, to help support the work carried on in different states. This interest group will not be just focused on California. We will particularly be addressing Friends who are already active, who want to deepen their involvement.
· A Quaker response to the increased migration of Latin American children and families, an interest group led by The Child Refugee and Migration Subcommittee of the Latin American Concerns Committee. We are particularly concerned with the treatment of migrants in the areas of incarceration and detention, legal and immigration proceedings, and voluntary/involuntary deportations.
· Stopping Lethal Drone Warfare: PYM approved a minute calling for Friends to oppose militarized drone warfare. This workshop will provide an update and action suggestions for implementing that minute based on the Princeton Theological Seminary lethal drone warfare conference held at the end of January with 150 interfaith participants, including around 10 Friends. Presented by AFSC's Stephen McNeil.
· Friends Peace Teams. A Spirit-led organization working around the world to develop long-term relationships with communities in conflict to create programs for peacebuilding, healing and reconciliation. FPT’s programs build on extensive Quaker experience combining practical and spiritual aspects of conflict resolution.
The main concern to surface this year in both SCQM and College Park Quarterly Meeting has been immigration, and the plight of refugee children crossing the border. The Latin American Concerns Committee of PYM has appointed a special subcommittee devoted to this concern; and the Casa de los Amigos in Mexico City is deeply involved in immigration and migrant issues. Five Meetings—Santa Barbara, Inland Valley, Humboldt and Redwood Forest, and Sacramento-- have approved minutes of concern regarding the plight of refugee children crossing the border; and Orange Grove Meeting is currently considering one. There will be an interest group on this topic at Yearly Meeting session this summer.
I encourage you to support the efforts of the AFSC and FCNL to promote humane and fair immigration reform. See AFSC: http://www.afsc.org/resource/just-and-humane-comprehensive-immigration-reform and also http://fcnl.org/issues/immigration/advocate_for_refugees_at_border/
The four minutes approved so far can be found online at:Finally, here is action recommended by AFSC - click on the link to send a letter to your Congressperson asking them to vote in favor of a budget amendment that would get rid of the "bed mandate" that requires 34,000 immigrant detention beds to be filled every day: