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Trump Is Trying to Hoodwink Us into War with Iran

We’ve seen this movie before, complete with trumped-up charges of WMD. Americans must speak out now to head off another disastrous military adventure.

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Reject Sanctions that Undermine Iran Deal and Lead to War

Members of Congress should speak out and vote against sanctions that will undermine the Iran deal and pave the path for war. President Trump's disastrous decision to de-certify the Iran deal and radically escalate militarily in the Middle East puts our country on a collision course that risks a full-fledged war with Iran. Congress should oppose all sanctions and saber-rattling efforts that increase prospects for war, and take every action possible to save the Iran deal and stand up for diplomacy.

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Iran Nuclear Deal in Danger

President Trump's escalating threats against diplomacy with Iran and against North Korea are propelling the U.S. toward military confrontations that are reckless, dangerous to U.S. security, and could result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

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First Timer's Guide to Annual Meeting and Quaker Public Policy Institute

FCNL’s Annual Meeting and Quaker Public Policy institute is less than a month away! Can you believe it? Are you getting excited to gather to support FCNL’s work, enjoy time for fellowship and worship, and, of course, to lobby members of Congress?

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Conference Call: What's Happening with the Budget, with Anthony Wier and Amelia Kegan

This November, Congress will be making some of the most important, and potentially most dangerous, decisions about budget priorities that we have seen in decades. How can we convince members of Congress to reject more money for war and cuts to security at home?

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Passing the Dream Act: What You Can Do

We have a very short window in which we need to get Congress to act and pass legislation that protects young immigrants who grew up in the United States from deportation and allows them to study, work, and live in the country they consider home.

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Withdraw Unauthorized US Military Involvement in Yemen

Please Cosponsor H.Con. Res. 81, the Khanna-Massie Legislation on Yemen.

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Senators Paul, Schatz, and Wyden Reintroduce Bill to Demilitarize Law Enforcement

Senators Rand Paul (KY), Brian Schatz (HI), and Ron Wyden (OR) have reintroduced S.1856, the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act (SMLA). This bill would prohibit the transfer of deadly military equipment to local police departments from the Pentagon under the 1033 program.

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If this faith were a bowl, could it hold me? A conversation with Chris Crass, pt 3.

Building peace Ending discrimination Black Lives Matterending white supremacy

Chris Crass is a longtime organizer, educator, and writer working to build powerful working class-based, feminist, multiracial movements for collective liberation.  He is one of the leading voices in the country calling for and supporting white people to work for racial justice. He joined with white anti-racist leaders around the country to help launch the national anti-racist network Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), which works in white communities for racial justice.  Rooted in his Unitarian Universalist faith he works with congregations, seminaries, and religious and spiritual leaders to build up the Religious Left. He lives in Louisville, KY with his partner, and their two kids. Learn more about Chris here. I spoke with Chris and Richie Schulz, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s community engagement fellow, on September 6th, we talked about the current political moment, organizing white folks for racial justice, and the stake white people have in that work. This is the third of five posts from that conversation. This wasn’t an interview per se, but a conversation with each of us contributing. 

Lucy Duncan: I wanted to move more directly into the state of Quakers and Unitarian Universalists (UU) and the work to subvert white supremacy within both faiths. I think the Quaker world is actually mimicking a lot of the larger political tensions and pushback that is happening. There's been a lot of movement, a lot of learning, a lot of shifting among Friends and we're also experiencing huge backlash to that shifting within Quaker congregations and institutions. It looks different in different places. In some yearly meetings there have been people who've been fired or marginalized inside the organization during this process of backlash. I could go on and tell lots of stories about the ways the backlash looks in different places, but it's definitely mimicking the same kind of larger, broader political manifestations.

Among Quakers there are very few people of color in the room, in Quaker spaces, and there hasn't been a real centering of their voices with some of the actions taken. There is often a very limited capacity to consider the people that are not in the room, people often most impacted by injustice, and instead there is a focusing on the needs and the feelings of the white people present and not necessarily expanding beyond that. I'm curious about your sense about where UUs are and what the movement is inside the congregations and larger UU institutions.

Chris Crass: I think within the Unitarian Universalist (UU) world there's been decades and decades of Unitarian Universalist people of color, as well as a significant number of white, anti-racist Unitarian Universalists, who, over the last 30 or 40 years have really been working on challenging white supremacy within the denomination of Unitarian Universalism. Along with challenging white supremacy internally, UU leaders of color and white anti-racists have been working to help congregations work for racial justice in their communities and in our society. In Arizona a few years ago, the state was implementing the “Show Me Your Papers” legislation, with racist Sherriff Joe Arpaio leading the way, and Unitarian Universalist congregations in Arizona were deeply involved not only in the fight against these anti-immigrant attacks, but also had deep relationships with migrant, immigrant, Latino, Latina, Latinx-led organizing in the United States. They had built these really strong relationships, over time, and were continuing to show up at demonstrations, community speak outs, were volunteering to do logistical support, were raising money, and were turning people out to take action. The “Show Me Your Papers” went into effect, Latinx-led organizations called for a “Summer of Non-Compliance” and called on allies around the country to come and commit civil disobedience.

I was part of the direct action planning team with local leaders from Puente, and one of my jobs was to help support UUs to participate in civil disobedience. The goal wasn’t just to have the hardcore UU activists take direct action, it was to move hundreds of UUs into various positions to help it happen, to have it be a catalyzing experience for the denomination as a whole to rise up for racial justice. Having UUs in mass take to the streets in solidarity with local Latinx-led organizing, was powerful both in its opposition to the racism of the state, but also in building multiracial relationships rooted in liberation values in action. A year later, in 2012, the denomination ended up having a general assembly in Arizona and instead of hundreds of UUs, it was thousands of UUs demonstrating for racial justice in solidarity with local Latinx-led resistance, and that had a huge impact on the congregations and really pushed a lot of people to [think], how do we actually live these values, how do we actually take more confrontational action? 

The Black Lives Matter movement has had a tremendous impact on the UU denomination, from the leadership of Black UUs who formed Black Lives of UU, to hundreds of congregations participating in local and national actions for Black Lives Matter. And there has been painful struggle within the congregations about the Black Lives Matter movement. A UU leader of color in Virginia told me the story of how in her congregation installed a Black Lives Matter sign was put in the sanctuary and how there were white members who were supportive, but also some white members who said, “Well, you know, this is our sanctuary, this is where we come to escape and find safety beyond the oppression and the injustice and the news out there in the world. This is where we come to get nourishment away from all of that.” She responded that as a Latina UU, having a Black Lives Matter sign in the sanctuary actually affirms that she and her family and other UUs of color can actually find sanctuary in this space and that this is a space that didn't just affirm white lives and white bodies and white need for spiritual nourishment, but a Black Lives Matter sign in a sanctuary meant “This is our values and our sanctuary is alive in these times and focused on what matters most.”

White supremacy is deeply committed to poisoning the hearts and minds of every single white person, whether they are in a Quaker congregation, a Unitarian Universalist congregation or whether they are on the streets in Charlottesville holding up a Nazi flag. We need to be able to anticipate the way this poison operates. The backlash is devastating, the backlash is painful, particularly for folks of color who in our faith tradition see a white backlash to their dignity and to their lives. But nonetheless, the backlash is going to be a part of the process and so how do we actually use the backlash to galvanize progressive sources even more? How do we unite our people even more to live our values in the time and not let the backlash undermine our efforts? How do we do this in a way that helps us be even more courageous, more clear, more committed? How do we do this to grow our numbers even more so folks say, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe that there would be this kind of reaction in our congregation, I need to get off the side lines and start to express my support of these movements like Black Lives Matter.” We have to create as many opportunities to invite people onto the right side of history in our congregations and not expect people to already be there. 

Lucy Duncan: I agree with you. And there are two things I want to speak to, one is that the whole idea that "I come here to be safe, away from the world", I think that that’s an illusion, that sense of safety.  That sense of safety arises from privilege, but that privilege is harming so many and clogs up the hearts of white folks, keeps us from connecting and being able to focus on the perils of people of color, but also the perils to our own lives. Ruby Sales (a social justice activist) asks, "Why is it that white people are so concerned with safety?" People of color are never safe. It reminds me of expanded sanctuary and Sanctuary Everywhere: What we need is to bring the world into our spaces and expand our sense of what sanctuary is and where it is so that it's everywhere so that people don't need to take refuge from oppression.

The other thing, and I'm just going to tell you this very briefly, there was a very, very powerful ministry at New England Yearly Meeting this year by a young Black Quaker man, Xinef Afriam, who said: "Here is the bowl of Quaker faith and practice and what is that bowl made out of?" He said it was made out of certain good things, but it's also made out of white supremacy; given the time and place of Quaker origins, it was made of the material in that culture. "And can that bowl hold me as a Black Quaker?" And he said that the core belief in Quakerism is that there is that of God in everyone. He continued, "If the bowl of Quaker faith can't hold me as I am as a Black Quaker, then it can’t really hold God. So, whose responsibility is it to crack that bowl or reshape that bowl?" I think cracking it is important to expand the sense of sanctuary, to expand the sense of what this container is: faith and practice that can hold everybody. And he said, “And so, if we want something that holds God we must deal with the container itself.” I think that's a really powerful metaphor.

Related posts

This is the time of monsters: A conversation with Chris Crass pt. 1

The precarity and possibility of this political moment: a conversation with Chris Crass, pt 2.

What's at stake for white people in the struggle for racial justice? A conversation with Chris Crass pt. 4

Organizing white people for racial justice: A conversation with Chris Crass, pt. 5

Climate Champions

FCNL works alongside many other organizations to foster bipartisan action on climate change. Our goals of growing respectful relationships with members of Congress at the grassroots level are shared by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL).

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U.S. Role in the World: Peaceful Engagement or Military Might?

In the midst of efforts to radically reorganize the federal government, bolster military strength over diplomacy, development, and peacebuilding, Congress is pushing back. Our efforts to protect critical conflict prevention and peacebuilding accounts are bearing fruit. Senate legislation to fund diplomacy and development is case in point.

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Congress Needs to Pass the Dream Act Immediately

Congress needs to hear from you today about the urgency to protect Dreamers. 154,200 young immigrants are up against an arbitrary Oct. 5 deadline to renew their protections under the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals program.

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Student Voices 2017-18

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-10-09 08:00

2017-2018 SVP Theme: Testimony Stories. The fifth annual Student Voices Project is underway! We welcome submissions from all middle school and high school students (Quaker and non-Quaker) at Friends schools and also Quaker students in other educational venues, such as public schools and homeschooling.

The post Student Voices 2017-18 appeared first on Friends Journal.

Tea Party-Aligned Group Helping Push Congress To Debate U.S. Role In Yemen War

And GOP leaders in the House who seek to defer to the Trump administration and avoid upsetting Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other American partners invested in the war may attempt to prevent the vote from taking place altogether through arcane legislative maneuvers, said Kate Gould of the Friends Committee for National Legislation.

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U.S. Role in the World - peaceful engagement or military might?

In the midst of efforts to radically reorganize the federal government, bolster military strength over diplomacy, development, and peacebuilding, Congress is pushing back. Our efforts to protect critical conflict prevention and peacebuilding accounts are bearing fruit. Senate legislation to fund diplomacy and development is case in point.

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FCNL Congratulates ICAN on Nobel Peace Prize

The Friends Committee on National Legislation congratulates the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for receiving the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Congressional Timeline on Pentagon Spending

Congress must take many steps to set the Pentagon’s final budget. For the fiscal year starting on October 1 (FY 2018), Congress and the president have already agreed to fund operations through December 8, 2017 at last year’s spending rate. Between now and then they still must reach a deal on the full year’s budget, or buy still more time.

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FCNL Congratulates the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons on Nobel Peace Prize

The Friends Committee on National Legislation congratulates the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for receiving the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Letter Urging Meaningful Reform of Section 702 Surveillance

A letter published on October 3, 2017 by the American Civil Liberties Union and signed by 58 organizations urges representatives Goodlatte and Conyers to pursue substantial reforms to surveillance laws, specifically Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

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Friend in Washington Program

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has long benefitted from the dedicated service of Friends who volunteer in our Washington, DC office for a focused period of time.

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