October 12, 2011: Let’s Celebrate (True) Collaboration

The mini-version of “American Autumn” seems to be playing out at Friends Meeting at Cambridge in the form of collaborative efforts by my fellow Quakers with like-minded activists.

(At least that’s the view from here.)

Here’s an initiative that’s recently grabbed the attention of the Prison Fellowship group I’m part of:  Abolishment of Massachusetts’ Life Without Possibility of Parole. AKA “the other death penalty.”

Newbies to this initiative, we don’t have a clue who’s doing what. Especially among members of other MA faith communities. But as we begin to learn how best to contribute to this effort, I am mindful of how, during the Civil Right Movement, well-meaning but incredibly patronizing, self-righteous Quakers (and their best buds, the American Friends Service Committee) did an enormous disservice to the cause.

So pray for us!

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  1. I had the impression that predominately white and patronizing Quakers in general and AFSC were, did their disservice out weigh their service? I have the impression that they did help the cause along a bit. Could you explain? Maybe it would help us Quakes avoid doing it again.

  2. A wonderful question. As you and Linda have gently reminded me, AFSC has, of course, done amazing work. And, just to be clear, the events most on my mind happened 50 years ago! I merely wish to remind, first and foremost, MYSELF that working on social issues alongside people of color is never easy, always complicated.

  3. I heartily agree, Patricia. It’s part of the seeking process. I’m trying to figure out how to cast off the burden of white guilt, acknowledge I’m growing, confront my thoughts and actions when Spirit prompts. And Spirit often uses this blog.

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