Friends Council Statement on Charlottesville

Friends Council on Education Statement on Charlottesville - August 15, 2017

Quaker education is directly opposed to the violent expressions of hatred, racism, white supremacy, and anti-Semitism in Charlottesville, Virginia. Quaker schools are committed to teaching students habits of heart and mind that insist upon a disposition of openness and respect for every member of our community regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, place of national origin, gender identity or gender expression.

In time of uncertainty, and deep distrust, Quaker school communities turn to the Quaker values of peace, integrity, equality and community, as well as the longtime practices of peaceful conflict resolution and nonviolence, as touch points for navigating these turbulent waters.

In support of educators, Friends Council is offering the following programs:

  • September 28, 2017: UnColumbus Day – Rethinking our teaching about myths in U.S. History.
  • October 3, 2017: Teaching for Uncertainty – a ZOOM gathering for educators to talk with each other about methods and strategies for addressing issues of social justice, current events, and how to put Quaker values into action.
  • Starting October 11, 2017: SEED Seminar (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) – a series of workshops offering opportunities for real and challenging conversations about identity factors, including race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual identity, ability, age.
  • October 20, 2017: Sanctuary/Immigration – the topic for our service-learning peer network, will feature Liliana Velásquez, a young woman who fled her native Guatemala in pursuit of sanctuary in the U.S. How can Friends school communities support those who come to the U.S. in search of freedom and safety?

Friends Council offers the following resources for educators:

William Penn founded the first Quaker school in 1689, one hundred years prior to the formal addition of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution.  Penn directed that the school educate students from all walks of life, genders, religions, and ethnicities to prepare them to be moral leaders within the Commonwealth no matter what profession or trade that they might someday pursue.

Penn’s school created a program of study through which these young people might together imagine a more ideal society. Today all Quaker schools strive to serve this critical public purpose just a Penn imagined it in the earliest days of what would become the United States.

Each of the 78 Quaker schools across the United States is founded on core Quaker values and practices. These principles strive to address issues of societal injustice. Friends schools seek to create inclusive and diverse communities and to live into the Quaker values of peace, equity, and social justice.

It is our sincere hope that as children everywhere return to school that they may come together, in the spirit of respect for all, to find a way to listen deeply to one another, to value the gifts that all students bring with them to school everyday, that they might, together, imagine an ideal society.

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