Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Quakers, Blacks and Abolition - Reflecting and Visioning

Summary
Workshop Number: 
224
Leaders: 
Lewis Webb, Lucy Duncan
Who may register?: 
Open to All
Worship/Worship-Sharing: 
15%
Lecture: 
10%
Discussion: 
40%
Experiential Activities: 
35%
only full time attenders (participants should attend all week)

Workshop timeslot: Mon-Fri (June 28-July 2) - five 90-minute sessions
Audio-only participation?: Yes

There is a longstanding partnership between Quakers and Black organizers in other communities. Let's reflect upon this co-conspiratorship in the context of slavery, abolition, and its thread to visioning abolition of the current criminal justice system. We will imagine what roles and actions Quakers can take as Friends and friends.

Workshop Description

During this workshop, using discussion, role-play exercises, readings and worship, facilitators and participants will reflect on the historical and contemporary relationships between Quakers and the wider Black community. We will also vision opportunities to align with and support their call to abolish the racist criminal justice system.

We will begin with a grounding and framing session that will invite all to share their perspectives on the various relationships between the two communities, including the good and not so good.

On our second day, we will look at Quakers and slavery abolition utilizing interactive discussion. We encourage participants to look at the following in advance:

Day 3 will provide a deep analysis of the morphing of slavery into the criminal justice system via a role-playing exercise titled “Meet the Crows” followed by discussion and reflection.

On our fourth day, we will consider ways Quakers have and might respond to the calls to abolish systems of punishment including:

  • Prisons
  • The Death Penalty
  • Cash Bail
  • Juvenile incarceration
  • Life/Long Term Prison Sentences
  • Policing
  • Post-incarceration consequences

Our final day together will invite us to vision bringing today’s calls for abolition to our meetings and beyond. We will explore anticipated opportunities and challenges informed by our history, principles, and practices.

All 90-minute sessions will begin and end with worship as led by the group.

We encourage participants to bring reading suggestions for the group along with open hearts, fearless commentary, and gentle spirits.

The daily breakdown is:

DAY 1 (90 minutes) 

  • Welcome and "get to know each other" exercise - 15 minutes 

  • Worship - 10 minutes 

  • Plan and agreements - 5 minutes 

  • Discussion: Quakers and Blacks in America - the good and not so good - 30 minutes in breakouts with prompting questions 

  • Break - 5 minutes 

  • Breakout sharing and open discussion - 20 minutes 

  • Reflective worship - 5 minutes 

DAY 2 (90 minutes) 

  • Welcome and check-in exercise - 15 minutes 

  • Worship - 10 minutes 

  • Recap of Day 1 - 5 minutes 

  • Breakout interactive exercise - Quakers and slavery abolition - 30 minutes 

  • " A Minute from the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society" 

  • The Germantown Protest - "It have so General a Relation to many other P[a]rts, and therefore at present they forbear It." 

  • "Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship" 

  • Break - 5 minutes 

  • Breakout sharing and open discussion - 20 minutes 

  • Reflective worship - 5 minutes 

DAY 3 (90 minutes) 

  • Welcome and check-in exercise - 15 minutes 

  • Worship - 10 minutes 

  • Recap of Day 2 - 5 minutes 

  • Large group interactive exercise - "Meet the Crows" The Morphing of Black Slavery part 1- 25 minutes 

  • Break - 5 minutes 

  • Large group interactive exercise - "Meet the Crows" The Morphing of Black Slavery part 2- 25 minutes 

  • Reflective worship - 5 minutes 

DAY 4 (90 minutes) 

  • Welcome and check-in exercise - 15 minutes 

  • Worship - 10 minutes 

  • Recap of Day 4 - 5 minute 

  • Breakout interactive exercise - Quakers and criminal justice system abolition - 30 minutes 

  • Statement challenges on: 

  • Abolish the Death Penalty and Cash Bail 

  • Abolish Juvenile incarceration Life/Long Term Prison Sentences 

  • Abolish Policing and post-incarceration consequences 

  • Break - 5 minutes 

  • Break out sharing and open discussion - 20 minutes 

  • Reflective worship - 5 minutes 

DAY 5 (90 minutes) 

  • Welcome and check-in exercise - 15 minutes 

  • Worship - 10 minutes 

  • Recap of Day 4 - 5 minutes 

  • Large group interactive exercise - Taking Abolition to my Meeting part 1- 20 minutes 

  • Break - 5 minutes 

  • Large group interactive exercise - Taking Abolition to my Meeting part 2- 20 minutes 

  • Reflections on workshop - 10 minutes 

  • Closing worship - 5 minutes