American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
2010 Annual Report:
Over the past year, the AFSC has been very active, both in the US and all around the world. AFSC actively works to promote Quaker testimonies and is one of the most public faces of Quakerism in action around the world.
Let me draw your attention to some of their actions in particular:
- Haiti: "On January 12, 2010, a disastrous earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck Haiti, killing tens of thousands and leaving untold numbers wounded, homeless, and without basic needs. AFSC immediately provided funds to partners on the ground for medical assistance, cooking kits, materials for shelters, and meals served in community kitchens... The overall goal of AFSC's program in Haiti is to strengthen local people's capacities to manage conflicts and reduce violence. The starting point for this work will be to establish a 'Safe Space' by setting up a large, mobile tent in each of the shelters."
- Israel/Palestine: "Today, AFSC through its Palestinian staff and partners in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem supports young people and their communities to enable them to marshal local resources that can directly meet pressing humanitarian, social and educational needs. Over the past eight years the AFSC Palestine Youth Program has worked with over 4,000 young people, offering them the opportunity to use their talents and develop their skills to undertake projects that they themselves have identified in their local community."
- Withdrawing US Troops: "AFSC has opposed every war since its inception in 1917, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are no exception. AFSC has been a steadfast voice for an end to the reliance on military solutions, withdrawal of U.S. military forces and support for civilian-led reconciliation and reconstruction to resolve the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan."
- Shaping a Just Federal Budget: "With two major wars underway and huge expenses to prepare for wars of the future, the United States spends 59% of the discretionary federal budget on military related expenses. AFSC, founded in a time of war, resists warfare and the preparations for war."
- Peace & Economic Security Program: "AFSC's Peace and Economic Security Program (PES) leads and coordinates AFSC's education and organizing to prevent nuclear war and to create a nuclear weapons free world. Its staff plays a lead role in coordinating the activities of the 2010 NPT Review International Planning Committee (NPTR-IPC), a network of 25 major peace and justice organizations in Asia, Europe and across the United States."
- Immigrants' Rights: "We believe that the basis of U.S. immigration policy should be the protection of human rights of all people."
This is only a small selection of AFSC's activities over the past year. See their website (AFSC.org) for more information.
In a time of financial uncertainty, AFSC relies more than ever on reliable support from Quakers. While all of us have an individual responsibility to work in support of the Testimonies within our own lives, supporting AFSC offers us an opportunity to foster peace all around the world.
Report prepared by Tatiana Harrison