Quaker Peace & Social Witness November Mailing

Housing: Responding to social inequality and injustice

At Yearly Meeting 2015 we were reminded that the housing problem in Britain is not insoluble – although, as with the abolition of slavery, it may take some time (Qf&p 23.23).

As a continuation of the session at Yearly Meeting, a threshing meeting was held at Woodbrooke in September 2015 with the aim of helping Quakers in Britain strengthen individual action and to suggest how we can be more effective collectively in this area of social inequality and injustice.

The meeting began to identify alternative models and different strands which Friends might wish to work on. These are seen not  as isolated issues, but as interconnected and with many existing and potential links to activity already within BYM. Eight specific ideas are captured in the minute made by the group at the end of our weekend together.

The housing minute is available online [PDF: 89kb]. For further information contact Paula Harvey; paulah@quaker.org.uk / 020 7663 1036

Welfare reform

link to previous blog post 

Thank you to all those who responded to our recent action alert about the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. The Bill is currently at its 2nd reading in the House of Lords.

We are working with other faith groups to urge Peers/Members to support amendments that would remove or reduce the impact of clauses 11 and 12, which limit the support provided to families through tax credits and Universal Credit to the first two children.

When the Bill returns to the House of Commons there may be further opportunities to lobby your MP. Many Friends may have been disappointed by the initial response of their MP but please do not lose heart. This is a slow process but there is movement and raising your concerns is having an impact.

More information about what Quakers in Britain is doing about the Bill, as well as the joint briefing to the House of Lords, is available at http://old.quaker.org.uk/wrwb or from Ellie Roberts; ellier@quaker.org.uk / 020 7663 1056.

also of note 38 Degrees campaign is seeking funds to put posters up in Conservative MPs constituencies about tax credits link here

Climate justice through Paris

If you are wondering what you can do to uphold climate justice during the climate negotiations in Paris in December then visit http://old.quaker.org.uk/climate-justice for ideas and links to more detailed briefings, or contact Ellie Roberts; ellier@quaker.org.uk / 020 7663 1056.

You might want to:

Join the People’s March for Climate, Justice and Jobs, on 29 November in London (and 28 Nov in Cardiff and Edinburgh). Sign up for the march to let us know you are coming and to join a Quaker meet up point.

Tell the UK government to stop financing fossil fuels abroad. We have joined with Christian Aid, as part of their ‘Big Shift’ campaign, to tell Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, to make a public commitment to ending the government’s support for coal projects through export credit guarantees.

Come to Friends House on 14 December to hear Eileen Flanagan, US Quaker climate activist speak about the journey that led her to handcuff herself to the White House fence. More details about the talk on the event page.

To stay in touch with future climate justice activity, and what QPSW is doing on economic inequality too, make sure you sign up to the Earth and Economy mailing list. We email updates once a month, and circulate a full newsletter twice a year, with the latest edition just out!

***Freddie from Milford Haven/Haverfordwest intends going there for the last day.***

War and conscience

2016 marks the centenary of the introduction of conscription and the recognition of the right to conscientious objection in law. Speakers on ‘Objections to war: A Quaker approach’ are now available for meetings to book. To request a speaker for your meeting, please contact Helen Bradford; helenb@quaker.org.uk / 020 7663 1071.

Friends have long argued that it is the conscription of our money rather than our bodies which makes war possible today (Qf&p 24.19). We are continuing to support Conscience: taxes for peace not war in their work to introduce a ‘Taxes for Peace’ Bill into Parliament. More information is available at www.conscienceonline.org.uk

Be the change

QPSW has teamed up with Quaker Life to develop a new resource to support young Quakers to take action on Friends’ concerns. It’s called Be the Change.

To begin with, we have chosen three themes – ‘tackle inequality’, ‘create climate justice’ and ‘no nukes’ – each of which will be the focus of much Quaker activism in the coming year.

There are postcards for young Quaker activists to get started on the three campaigns and a webpage for each so that they can collaborate online – planning, sharing and publicising their activism together.

To request postcards for young people in your meeting email Cat Waithaka at catw@quaker.org.uk or 020 7663 2011. To get started, young Quakers should go to www.yqspace.org.uk/bethechange and create a ‘Causes’ account, which will allow them to share their activism online.

Peace education

The new Fly Kites Not Drones peace education pack is now available. Inspired by the internationally successful project from Afghan Peace Volunteers, it introduces children and young people to creative nonviolence in action.

In or out of school, the pack offers activities to learn about the impact of drones on human rights and on children in particular, inviting young people to come to their own critical understanding of the issue.

The resource pack is available from www.flykitesnotdrones.org  and hard copies are available from the Quaker Centre;  quakercentre@quaker.org.uk / 020 7663 1030.

Conflict resolution led by young people

Quakers were at the forefront of developing peer mediation in Britain. Recently, Quakers from Hammersmith Local Meeting supported a local school to train its first peer mediators. A team of Year 6 pupils are now on hand to help fellow pupils find win-win solutions to the conflicts that inevitably arise in school, just as they do in any part of life.

We are hoping to support more Quakers with a passion for peace education to take steps to support schools in their area to develop peer mediation. Contact Ellis Brooks; ellisb@quaker.org.uk  / 020 7663 1009 if someone in your meeting would be interested in joining other Quakers in a ‘train the trainer’ workshop to develop their skills as a peer mediation facilitator.

To stay in touch about future peace education activity, as well as what QPSW is doing around disarmament sign up to receive Educate & Disarm

QPSW peaceworkers

Each year QPSW recruits peaceworkers to support the work of peace organisations at local, national and international levels. This year our UK peaceworkers are Rhianna Louise, Zara Rizvi and Holly Wallis. Look out for their journal letters on our website in early December.

Rhianna Louise is placed with Medact in London, working on issues around revitalising the health for peace movement and the recruitment of children (under 18s) into the British armed forces.

Zara Rizvi is placed with Omega Research Foundation in Manchester. Her project is on the use of military, security and police equipment in committing human rights violations.

Holly Wallis is placed with Conscience: taxes for peace not war, to play a key role in their work to promote a Conscientious Objection to Military Taxation (COMT) Bill.