April 20-23, 2017
Last April, AFSC held their 100th Anniversary Centennial Summit in Philadelphia, together with their Board Meeting.
I attended the presentations, despite being in the last days of a nasty flu.
Much of the Summit is available online now.
Here is the Summit Schedule of Events:
YouTube has many of the speakers’ presentations online.
There are eleven videos in a playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6XORLn … v8vWdhZZf6
It might be easier to sort out all the video presentations by opening them in an adjacent browser window to the schedule, as the playlist isn’t in chronological order.
Erica Chenoweth’s Keynote has been widely heralded by Quakers around the country, and there have been a number of discussion/screenings of it. Most notable is it’s political and statistical research that shows that most successful political revolutions are non-violent. Certainly food for thought!
You can watch it here: https://youtu.be/j6jJGFv23Jw
Several books are referred to during it. Here are links to them:
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
By Timothy Snyder
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0804190119/_e … O90V&psc=0
(not entirely sure this first link was from this talk, but it came up in discussion during the Centennial)
Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict
by Erica Chenoweth, Maria Stephan
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0231156839/_e … O90V&psc=0
Statistics of Deadly Quarrels
by Lewis F. Richardson (Author), Quincy Wright (Editor), C. C. Lienau (Editor)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0910286108/_e … O90V&psc=0
Inequality, Grievances, and Civil War
by Professor Lars-Erik Cederman (Author), Kristian Skrede Gleditsch (Author), Halvard Buhaug (Author)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1107603048/_e … O90V&psc=0
Many of the presentations were academic papers relating to work by Quaker Activists all over the world. There were also a number of participatory workshops. George Lakey presented the opening address; https://youtu.be/G6XORLnlq0k
It was nice to meet him, as he was scheduled to visit our Meeting and nearby Santa Monica Meeting later that spring to give a presentation on his new book, “Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Right-and How We Can, Too”
I also enjoyed meeting Pedro Rios, whom I’d spoken with on some AFSC Conference Calls, and who was scheduled to speak at our Meeting the following month.
Resistance to the Militarization of the US-Mexico Border
He discussed and presented a wide range of issues relating to the civil rights violations of immigrants and US Citizens, and the ways that the government skews their presentation of the supposed threats, while instead harassing or imprisoning innocent families.
A related workshop was offered by reps from Tucson (Emily Verdugo) and Portland AFSC offices, discussing the private immigrant detention system, and human rights abuses at the facilities, and problems with GPS ankle tracking bracelets. It doesn’t seem to be in video form. After meeting Emily, we arranged for her subsequently to give presentations at our Meeting and ICUJP during a visit to LA.
I also attended a workshop on “Youth Undoing Institutional Racism” with leaders from the Freedom School.
One of my favorite workshops was “How to Change A Narrative” with Beth Hallowell and Jos Truitt.
They discussed some approaches for finding common values with people “from the other side” so you can cooperatively initiate social change. They also presented some issues that come up with people with shared values, but embarrassment about being inadequately informed about pressing issues.
During Meeting for Worship, the March for Science passed by, creating a distraction for some, and a sign of hope for others.
The final presentation was by Oscar Arias, two-time President of Costa Rica and 1987 Nobel Laureate. I wasn’t as moved by his speech, although it was impressive to have him there.
Overall, the whole Summit was quite inspiring. Since Trump’s election, the news had been nothing but a series of lies, corruption reports, and successive reports of human rights abuse. It was great to learn that throughout it’s 100 year history, many AFSC members had continued to speak truth to power, use direct action to instigate change, and had shown up for victims of human rights abuse regardless of the political climate where they offered service. Some of these efforts were huge, some seemed small, but they all made a difference.