Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

FULL - No Place for Racist Policies: Advocacy Strategizing for Now

Workshop Number: 
Christine Ashley, Lauren Brownlee
Who may register?: 
Open to All
Experiential Activities: 
only full time attenders (participants should attend all week)

Workshop timeslot: Mon-Fri (June 29-July 3) - five 90 minute sessions
Audio-only participation?: No

Friends will prepare advocacy tools and skills for their Meetings or schools, specifically attending to our urgent need to address systemic racism in policing, elections, access to healthcare, for example. Participant experiences will shape the workshop. Come develop advocacy toolboxes and create and build momentum for advocacy in your communities!

Workshop Description

Quakers have been speaking truth to power for over 400 years. Lauren and Christine believe now is the time for Quakers and friends to build the movement and effective advocacy for a world centered around peace and justice, equity, safety, health, and opportunity for all. We are living through several crises, and in this workshop, we will examine how systemic racism in legislation mean life and death for all of us. We need to change legislation in policing, elections, healthcare, housing and food access, for example. How will we move forward, and stay the course for the long haul?

We believe and have experienced, through our experiences working with young people and grassroots organizing of thousands of F(r)iends, that Meetings have an opportunity to be a space where we can expand pathways for Friends to witness for peace. We have many resources already developed for Friends to independently access and employ in the pursuit of changemaking. During the FGC gathering and this workshop, we plan to share these resources and help Friends strategize how they can bring more opportunities for advocacy and witness into the Meeting or school.  

As Friends, we experience the beauty and impact of building community with one another, through lifelong ties with the members of our meeting. For the past 55 years, Carolina Friends School has followed Quaker pedagogical principles and developed resources for early learners through high school to grow into a community of learners dedicated to creating a world we seek, the Beloved Community.  

As we experience the ties that bind in the meeting, we can experience the impact of building long-lasting ties and community and strong relationships with members of Congress, grounded in mutual respect and listening.  

By the time Friends leave the workshop, they will have experienced through advocacy training, reviewed Carolina Friends School and FCNL advocacy curriculum as well as and created a strategy to bring advocacy and witness back to their home meeting. Friends will know how to:

  • build an ongoing relationship with their members of Congress;
  • work with the media to lift news we want to publicize as Friends;
  • foster a network of advocates in the local community;
  • help their members of Congress become champions for peace and justice;
  •  change Washington for the better. 

Over the course of the week, participants will map strategies to bring advocacy to the meeting, compile resources for Meeting changemakers, and formulate next steps. By the end of the week, each Friend should be able to articulate and share a next step for building a Meeting- or school-wide community of advocates.

  • Day 1: What are the antiracist policies Friends can address this summer, and what opportunities are there for advocacy today?  How are Friends unpacking, unravelling and working to dismantle systemic racism in our legislative policies? How can we transform our institutional challenges and obstacles for peace and justice? 
    • Share leadings and concerns during worship sharing. 
    • Identify how the Meeting or school community is impacted and concerned with specific public policy decisions. 
    • Share findings to the group. 
    • HW: Map Meeting or school strengths and resources. Map personal strengths and resources. 
  • Day 2: Deep dive into the issues and concerns, and unpacking our stories for Congress  
    • Using FCNL’s lobby visit road map, we will craft our stories as part of our advocacy “ask”. 
    • Identify areas of opportunity to connect with congressional offices. We will review sample scenarios for legislative change and leave the day with a specific legislative ask for our members of Congress.
  • Day 3: How are Friends effective as organizers and building an advocacy community?
    • We will conduct a media training and use media as an effective tool for social change: letters to the editor and engaging with reporters and media professionals. 
  • Day 4: How can Junior and Young Friends utilize advocacy resources and lift up opportunities for Junior and Young Friends to lead the Meeting in witness? What multi-age opportunities exist for our Meetings to support growing and deepening witness?
    • Strategize opportunities and craft preliminary plan for Meetings’ Religions Education curriculum for Junior and Young Friends
    • Explore opportunities to engage our local schools. 
    • Day 5: What are our next steps to introduce/grow/deepen multi-age opportunities for Quaker Advocacy 1.0 or 2.0 into the life of the Meeting or school?
      • Participants will present their change strategies to the group for review and feedback. 
      • We will discuss next steps.
      • We will identify ways we can take care of ourselves and remain resilient in the upcoming year ahead.

    Each day will begin and end with worship.

    We will structure interactive learning modules and utilize breakout rooms for role playing, interactive exercises and small group discussions

    Expectations and Objectives for the Week:

    • Create a spirit-led, practical and personalized action plan for Meetings to grow witness and multi-age advocacy within the community;
    • Learn and practice advocacy skills as practiced by FCNL, Quaker state lobbies and Carolina Friends School;
    • Meet like-minded Friends who are interested in lifting up practical opportunities for Meeting communities to grow multi-age opportunities and form an informal cohort of support and guidance.