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2018 Annual Report
The Committee of Racial, Social, and Economic Justice has experienced the Beloved Community through communicating and connecting with each other as full human beings with deep love and respect. Our meetings are filled with worship, love, and joy. Our vision for all of our Yearly Meeting is that we may all experience inclusion. We express our mission with the diversity within our committee as we bring our individual and communal deep spiritual commitment in this work.
We’ve supported each other and found strength in that support for our ministries including the Poor People’s Campaign, civic engagement against police violence, antiracism work, and working for homeless concerns.
We are in our third year of trying to resolve the financial discrepancies in the Freedmen’s Fund. We also have been wrestling with our place in the constellation of New England Yearly Meeting as we worked on our Purposes and Procedures. In addition to these concerns we have had a productive year:
- We helped 3 students with the Freedmen’s Funds. One will graduate from Fisk this year, another will graduate from Savannah State University in December; the third just finished her first year at Georgia State.
- At Sessions 2017 we:
- gave a workshop, (YOUR Healing Racism Toolkit; A Catalyst for Transformation)
- sponsored table conversations on race and Sarah Walton’s dinner talk on Police Education and Active Civil Engagement
- led a Black Lives Matter vigil with the Dragon Panel Project
- We produced the Freedom and Justice Crier
- We created a video to demonstrate our Toolkit which was updated multiple times
- We firmed up funding for the Book Project and approved and sent out Mashpee Nine: A Story of Cultural Justice
- We continued the development of the Journey of Healing Project
- We developed liaisons with Ministry and Counsel, Finance Committee, and the book group sponsored by NEYM M&C reading Fit for Freedom
- We provided support for two different Legacy Grants
- We minuted support for the Poor People’s Campaign.
And maybe most important, the love, friendship, and support and spiritual depth present in each other as we come together building this wonderful community. May it spread to other’s hearts and hands.
—Rachel Carey-Harper and Nur Shoop, co‑clerks
An Epistle to New England Friends from
Racial, Social, and Economic Justice
We write you today to acknowledge that we know we are all struggling, in each of our imperfect selves, towards the beloved community. God has many faces and forms. They are all beloved.
Love is not just hugs and roses; it is also truth-telling. For over 50 years the Committee of Racial, Social, and Economic Justice has been doing our best, with hearts full of love, to deal with racism, classism, and other social justice issues. However through much of this time we have felt marginalized, insulted, disenfranchised, and shunned.
We’ve asked ourselves why, as New England Friends, do we seem not to want to hear the message that we need to insure that all marginalized people, and especially people of color, are treated with dignity and respect because we believe there is something of God in all humans? Faith and Practice, “Characteristics of a Quaker Concern” (pg. 177) says that a “characteristic of a Quaker concern is that it does not rest until it has penetrated through the superficial evil to its root causes.”
Bypassing the RSEJ committee and empowering new ad hoc groups* is a reflection of the pattern that NEYM has committed itself to try to change—behavior based upon white privilege and supremacy. With decades of the RSEJ committee bringing difficult questions that many didn’t want to hear and experiencing intense pushback and denial, we ask ourselves and our fellow New England Friends:
How do we treat those outside of our familiar circle, who trouble us or who make us uncomfortable?
Do we merely speak our testimonies or do we live them?
What could our community look like if we truly searched for the Light within each other?
How do we work together to change our individual and collective practice?
Faith and Practice (pg. 117) goes on to say, “the person with a social concern is willing to accept censure and ridicule—Yet in the last analysis, obedience to light is the only satisfying course.”
—Rachel Carey-Harper and Nur Shoop, co‑clerks
*Gender Inclusivity Task Force (Sessions Committee 2015)
Racial Inclusivity Task Force (Sessions Committee 2016)
Ad hoc Challenging White Supremacy Working Group (Permanent Board 2017)
Ad hoc Reparations Working Group (Permanent Board 2017)