Some Minutes relating to our Equality testimony
- August 2021: Minute on Reparative Justice and Reconciliation PDF document
- February 2021: Minute on Hatred, Racist Violence, and Domestic Terrorism PDF document
- July 2020: Minute on Anti-Racism (also
available as PDF document)
In the wake of recent killings of Black people by police and white vigilantes, Atlanta Friends Meeting stands with Black Lives Matter, and we work to bring about a life without fear and racism. As Quakers, we believe in the equality and worth of every person, and today we honor the sanctity of Black lives and work for justice and equity . We condemn police violence. We are deeply disturbed by the militarization of police and use of military troops. Black and interracial families rightly fear that their loved ones could be harmed by racist actions not only by police or extremist groups, but also by white people complicit with or in denial of racism. We protest the racism that results in disproportionate incarceration of Black people; disparate health, environmental, and economic impacts on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and continued devaluing of Black lives and Black voices. The voices and agency of Black people are excluded, omitted, ignored, considered unimportant, silenced, or otherwise sidelined. In response, and in keeping with our Quaker testimonies of equality, peace, integrity, and community, we recommit to uprooting systemic racism and white supremacy both externally in our communities and nation, and internally, in ourselves, our Meeting, and the Religious Society of Friends.
Lasting change requires a long-term commitment to undoing systemic racism, and the removal of unjust policies, practices, and laws.
We urge local, state, and national leaders to immediately demilitarize law enforcement, for example, by stopping programs that give free military equipment and weapons to police departments, and by changing police training.
We call on our local, state, and federal elected officials to reimagine public safety. Although there is a need for a strong public safety response on occasion, the overwhelming problems are brutal responses of police to alleged minor offenses and police killings of Black people.
So we call for officials to create a system that establishes standard codes of behavior, including use of force policies, promotes accountability, and ensures equitable treatment for all.
We call on local, state, and national elected officials to redirect many of the funds currently going to police departments and jails/prisons to public safety programs that make available unarmed social workers, health workers, mental health support, and negotiators.
We call for communities, institutions and governments to work on systemic changes that prioritize investing in young people, health, education, housing, living wages, and transformative justice. We call for all of us to dismantle the interlocking web of structurally racist policies, laws, practices, and norms among institutions such as law enforcement, the legal system, education, housing, health, elections, and business that harm Black, Indigenous and People of Color and maintain the system of white supremacy.
Undoing more than 400 years of racism is up to all of us. Since 1660, Quakers have expressed abhorrence of violence in war and the refusal to kill or take lives. Yet white Quakers have allowed violence toward Black people in the form of enslavement and exclusion, and by being silent for too long about personal, institutional, and systemic racism. Atlanta Friends Meeting commits to continue addressing racism in ourselves and our predominantly white institutions and to working in multiracial coalitions for an equitable and racially just society for all.
- April 2005: As a community of faith, we [the Atlanta Friends Meeting] have become aware of the many ways in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer people have been silenced and excluded. We will never go back to silencing these voices among us, or suppressing these gifts, for in so doing, we impoverish our whole community. Our experience has been that Spiritual gifts are not distributed with regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. Our experience has been that the life of our Meeting and its work have been immeasurably enriched over the years by the full participation and Spirit-guided leadership of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer Friends. Full participation includes encouragement in ministry and positions of leadership, ability to be married under the care of the Meeting, and nurture to all families. We therefore explicitly celebrate the participation of LGBTQ Friends in these, as in all other aspects of the life of the Meeting. Our experience confirms that we are all equal before God, as God made us, and we feel blessed to be engaged in community and religious life together.
- March 2000: The Atlanta Friends Meeting intends to become a safer and more welcoming spiritual home for all. Recognizing that becoming more welcoming of any group makes us more welcoming to all, we ask all committees and organized groups of the Meeting to engage in a process of prayerful reflection and review about how the specific activities of their committees/groups contribute toward this goal. As a step toward this goal, we ask committees/groups to consider their activities specifically in relation to F(f)riends and attenders of African descent. We also ask Committees and groups to prepare and submit, by September 2000, a written report of their results and concerns so that there is an historical reference in the minutes of the Meeting for Worship for Business. Near the beginning of this process, a one-day workshop on personal racism will be made available to any member or attender who wishes to participate. The Meeting expects that the clerk or other designated person from each of the committees/groups will participate.
- June 1990: The AFM affirms our willingness as a Meeting
to hold celebrations of loving commitment under our care. We
intend to follow the same customary and careful process of
arriving at clearness for any couple who should wish to unite
under our care, regardless of sexual orientation, when one or both
of these partners participate in our community.
We are aware of the diversity of attitudes toward the term "marriage" and leave to the couple the characterization of their relationship--whether a celebration of marriage, commitment, or joining.
The Meeting acknowledges the certificate signed by the couple and those present at the ceremony as the witness of Friends to the couple's spiritual union. Mindful that only the heterosexual couples among us have the right to legally sanctioned marriage and its privileges, the Meeting asks Friends, and particularly couples preparing for marriage, to examine how best to respond and bear witness to the inequalities still present in the legal system.
- April 1986: A Minute on Patriarchy was approved, calling for the replacement of patriarchal oppression with full equality for all humanity. "We acknowledge and believe that we as Quakers must identify, examine and eliminate patriarchical behavior which resides in ourselves. We will work in our homes, our monthly meetings and our communities to arrive at a new day when patriarchal oppression has been replaced by full equality for all humanity."
- March 1968: A decision has been made to support in every way possible Martin Luther KingÍs march in Washington, D.C., and to urge John Yungblut to help in any way he can. John brought it before the Meeting for consideration of total support. We could bring some leaders working in the poverty areas of Atlanta here to Quaker House to explore how Atlanta can be involved, even though Georgia Rural poor are asked to go to Washington. The title is "The Poor PeopleÍs Campaign for Jobs and Income." Friends agreed to support the campaign in every way feasible.
- August 1952: It was agreed to inform the League of Women
Voters of the approval of the Meeting of their recent resolution
condemning the injection of racial and religious prejudices into
election campaigns, and requesting all participants to abstain
from exciting such emotions.
We call on political leaders and candidates for public office in the State of Georgia to see that our political campaigns are free from appeals to racial or religious prejudice.
We respectfully urge the newspaper editors and publishers of Georgia to decline any political advertisement which makes such an appeal to intolerance.
And further we ask the managers of radio and television stations of Georgia to do everything within their power to discourage any such violation of the basic principles of this State and this Nation.
- Statement of Support for Schools Teaching the History of Racism (2021/07/14)
- Standing with Asian Americans Statement
- Anti-Racism Report for SAYMA, 2021/03/06
with Protesters, Hold Police Accountable, Work for Systemic
(QRE Statement of Support: 2020/06/08)
- Racial Equality Work AFM 2019
- Statement of Core Values and Commitments
on Anti-Racism Work in Atlanta Friends Meeting [1997-2007]
In our Meetings for Worship with Attention to Business, we often make public statements, called Minutes. Because we do all business by consensus, these Minutes represent the unanimous will of our entire community.
SAYMA Minute on Patriarchy
This minute on patriarchy was approved by Southern Appalachian
Yearly Meeting and Association (with which we are affliated) in May