Travel Advisories in Florida and Iowa

Recently, separately, the NAACP and Equality Florida (the state’s largest LGBTQ civil rights group) issued travel advisories in Florida. These advisories highlight the consequences of Florida’s relentless far-right political agenda and passage of legislation to implement its extreme policies.

At the end of this is a description of Des Moines Black Liberation’s declaration of #BlackEmergencyIA in October 2020. Des Moines Mutual Aid has always supported Des Moines Black Liberation. Also, in one of the photos below you can see how Des Moines Black Liberation (BLM) supports the Wet’suwet’en peoples’ struggles against the Coastal GasLink pipeline in Canada, showing how justice groups support each other.

The #BlackEmergencyIA declaration was reissued at the time of President Biden’s inauguration in light of the January 6th attack (2021) on the U.S. Capitol.

NAACP Issues Travel Advisory in Florida


May 20, 2023

Contact: Chyna Fields

WASHINGTON – Today, the NAACP Board of Directors issued a formal travel advisory for the state of Florida. The travel advisory comes in direct response to Governor Ron DeSantis’ aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools. 

The formal travel notice states, “Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.” 

“Let me be clear – failing to teach an accurate representation of the horrors and inequalities that Black Americans have faced and continue to face is a disservice to students and a dereliction of duty to all,” said NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson. “Under the leadership of Governor Desantis, the state of Florida has become hostile to Black Americans and in direct conflict with the democratic ideals that our union was founded upon. He should know that democracy will prevail because its defenders are prepared to stand up and fight. We’re not backing down, and we encourage our allies to join us in the battle for the soul of our nation.”

The travel advisory was initially proposed to the Board of Directors by NAACP’s Florida State Conference. NAACP’s collective consideration of this advisory is a result from unrelenting attacks on fundamental freedoms from the Governor and his legislative body. 

“Once again, hate-inspired state leaders have chosen to put politics over people. Governor Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida have engaged in a blatant war against principles of diversity and inclusion and rejected our shared identities to appeal to a dangerous, extremist minority,” said Chair of the NAACP Board of Directors, Leon Russell. “We will not not allow our rights and history to be held hostage for political grandstanding. The NAACP proudly fights against the malicious attacks in Florida, against Black Americans. I encourage my fellow Floridians to join in this fight to protect ourselves and our democracy.”

Following Gov. DeSantis’ so-called leadership in driving the state to reject students’ access to AP African American studies course in March, the NAACP distributed 10,000 books to 25 predominantly Black communities across the state in collaboration with the American Federation of Teachers’s Reading Opens the World program. The majority of the books donated were titles banned under the state’s increasingly restrictive laws. The NAACP continues to encourage local branches and youth councils to start community libraries to ensure access to representative literature.

The NAACP encourages Florida residents to join this effort to defeat the regressive policies of this Governor and this state legislature. Interested residents and supporters can visit for additional information and updates.

The advisory cited specific Florida policies including SB 266 and HB 7.

SB 266, signed into law just last week, effectively prohibits higher education institutions from spending state funds on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. In the words of Governor DeSantis, this law will help “treat people as individuals” by banning programs that “[stand] for discrimination, exclusion, and indoctrination.” This bill builds on SB 7044, which required periodic reviews of tenured faculty members and mandated professors to post their textbook lists online 45 days before their first classes.

In March, college students in Florida organized numerous walkouts in protest of HB 999, a similar proposal being worked on in the state’s House of Representatives.

HB 7, also known as the Stop Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees Act (“Stop W.O.K.E. Act”), was enacted in 2022. It attempted to ban “woke indoctrination” by limiting the teaching of Critical Race Theory at public universities and restricting diversity training among employers. A federal court blocked parts of HB 7 after finding them unconstitutional.

NAACP issues travel advisory for Florida over state efforts to limit Black history classes and ban diversity programs in schools by Caitlin Williams, U. Pittsburgh School of Law, JURIST, MAY 22, 2023 06:53:27 PM

Florida’s largest LGBTQ rights group travel advisory 4/11/2023

Florida’s largest LGBTQ civil rights group has issued a travel advisory for the state.

Equality Florida says the advisory, issued Wednesday, was prompted by “the passage of laws that are hostile to the LGBTQ community, restrict access to reproductive health care, repeal gun safety laws, foment racial prejudice and attack public education by banning books and censoring curriculum.”

Florida has recently adopted a slate of hateful laws, and is fast-tracking additional measures that directly target the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and basic freedoms broadly. Already, those policies have led Florida parents to consider relocating, prospective students to cross Florida colleges and universities off their lists, events and conferences to cancel future gatherings, and the United States military to offer redeployment for service members whose families are now unsafe in the state. These laws and policies are detailed below.

Florida travel advisory issued by state LGBTQ civil rights group. The group pointed to issues of gun violence, LGBTQ restrictions and more by Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, April 13, 2023, 9:35 AM

The Equality Florida travel advisory describes the following concerns:

  • Assaults on Medical Freedom
  • Assaults on Academic Freedom
  • Censorship and Erasure of the LGBTQ Community
  • Assaults on Arts, Entertainment, and Sports Participation
  • Assaults on Business
  • Efforts to Foment Racial Prejudice
  • Repealing of Gun Safety Laws
  • Attacks on Immigrant Communities

Des Moines Black Liberation State of Emergency

This reminds me of the declaration of #BlackEmergencyIA in October 2020. Des Moines Mutual Aid has always supported Des Moines Black Liberation. In the video, you can see my Des Moines Mutual Aid comrade, Patrick Stahl, describing that support.

This blog post contains much more information about this.
Black State of Emergency in Iowa #BlackEmergencyIA

Patrick: Hi, I’m Patrick Stahl with Des Moines Mutual Aid.

Des Moines Mutual Aid is a collective that does outreach for homeless folks in our community, houseless folks in our community. We also assist BLM with their rent relief fund, and most of the work we’ve done is running the bail fund for the protests over the summer. In the course of that work, we have witnessed firsthand the violence that is done upon people of color, Black people specifically, by the white supremacist forces of the state – in this state, in this city, in this county. There is absolutely a state of emergency for people of color and Black people in Iowa. The state of emergency has been a long time coming. We will support – DMMA will absolutely support any and all efforts of this community – BLM, and the people of color community more generally- to keep themselves safe. Power to the people.

Des Moines BLM reissues travel advisory ahead of inauguration

The #BlackEmergencyIA advisory is set to go into effect Saturday ahead of the President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20 in Washington.

Des Moines BLM reissues #BlackEmergencyIA travel advisory ahead of inauguration

Author: Hollie Knepper

Published: 7:08 PM CST January 14, 2021

Updated: 7:10 PM CST January 14, 2021 

DES MOINES, Iowa — Starting this weekend, a travel advisory reissued by the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement (DSM BLM) will go into effect for all Black Iowans and other people of color. 

The Iowa Coalition for Collective Change (ICCC) is also helping with the advisory, which is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 16-27. 

ICCC and DSM BLM organizers held a press conference Thursday to go over more details.

“So last Wednesday, January 6, we all saw as white supremacists attacked the US Capitol,” said Jaylen Cavil, chair of DSM BLM’s advocacy department. “For many, we heard that this was a surprise, but for us at the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement, this was business as usual.”

“Here we are again and I’m tired of doing these press conferences, but unfortunately they are a necessity,” ICCC Executive Director Luana Nelson-Brown said. “The violence that we’ve seen over the past few months continues to escalate.” 

Nelson-Brown said the first travel advisory happened in September.

“As many are aware, authorities and other outlets are putting out warnings saying that in all 50 [states] and this nation’s capital there will be white supremacist violence that is being planned in the coming week surrounded around the inauguration of Joe Biden,” Cavil said.

That is why DSM BLM is reissuing the advisory. 

Basic measures include:

  • Do not travel alone or at night if at all possible
  • If you must, then make sure to inform someone of where you are going and when you plan to return
  • Know your rights
  • Make sure to have an exit plan for any situation you find yourself in

Martin Luther King, Jr. 2023

Yesterday, April 4th, was the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Every year there is a solemn gathering at the Kennedy-King Park in downtown Indianapolis to commemorate the speech that Bobby Kenndy gave there in 1968, announcing King’s death. This was in the days before cell phones, and that was the first time most in the crowd heard the news. The Indianapolis police pleaded with him not to go to that neighborhood, fearing they could not protect him from the crowd. Indianapolis was one of the few major cities in the country where riots did not occur that night.

That event in Indianapolis was supposed to have been a campaign stop for Kennedy’s Presidential bid. Kennedy received the news on the plane to Indianapolis. There was no time to prepare a speech. The video at the end of this is the extemporaneous speech Kennedy gave that night.

There is a remarkable sculpture at the Kennedy-King Park symbolizing the connections between Martin Luther King, Jr, and Robert Kennedy.

(c)Jeff Kisling, Kennedy-King Park, Indianapolis, IN

Martin Luther King has been an important part of my life. I was coming of age during his time, a Junior at Scattergood Friends School when he was killed. I had so much trouble trying to sort out what I should do about the Vietnam War. Martin Luther King was criticized by people in the civil rights movement when he began to speak out against the war, but that was a great help to me.

These days I’m working to replace capitalism by building mutual aid communities. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work was as much about economics and poverty as it was about racial equality.

“I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic,” Martin Luther King admitted to Coretta Scott, concluding that “capitalism has outlived its usefulness.”

Speaking at a staff retreat of the SCLC in 1966, King said that “something is wrong … with capitalism” and “there must be a better distribution of wealth” in the country. “Maybe,” he suggested, “America must move toward a democratic socialism.”

For King, the only solution to America’s crisis of poverty was the redistribution of wealth. In a 1961 speech to the Negro American Labor Council, King declared, “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.”

The Forgotten Socialist History of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Matthew Miles Goodrich, In These Times, January 16, 2023

“War Is An Enemy Of The Poor.”

Although seldom recognized, Martin Luther King Jr. was anti-war. His politics should be applied to demand an end to NATO and the war in Ukraine, say activists.

“We are here, honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said co-executive director of The People’s Forum, Claudia De La Cruz, to a crowd of hundreds gathered in Times Square, in front of the US Army Recruiting Station, on January 14. “We are here to reclaim his legacy and say: no to war.”

The organizers and workers mobilized to demand an end to NATO and a peaceful resolution to the ongoing war in Ukraine. The rally and march was organized by the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition, a US anti-war organization, and the People’s Forum. Activists raised slogans to demand a peaceful resolution of the war through negotiations rather than continued US weapons funding. Banners read “Money for our needs/Not the war machine” and “No to NATO/Yes to peace”.

With Congress passing a massive spending bill in December, containing over $44 billion in US aid to Ukraine, the United States is now set to spend over $100 billion total on the Russia–Ukraine War. Activists are demanding that these billions be used instead to fund public services, such as education, jobs and healthcare.

“We have to continue to fight for integration, collaboration, negotiations, because that’s been the only way of resolving conflict. War is a tool of our enemy,” said De La Cruz, in closing, to the crowd assembled inside The People’s Forum. “The only legit war is class war.”

US Activists Honor the Anti-War Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr by Natalia Marques, People’s Dispatch, January 17, 2023

I’m of the firm opinion that a system that was built by stolen bodies on stolen land for the benefit of a few is a system that is not repairable. It is operating as designed, and small changes (which are the result of huge efforts) to lessen the blow on those it was not designed for are merely half measures that can’t ever fully succeed.

So the question is now, where do we go from here? Do we continue to make incremental changes while the wealthy hoard more wealth and the climate crisis deepens, or do we do something drastic that has never been done before? Can we envision and create a world where a class war from above isn’t a reality anymore?”

Ronnie James

The major threat of Martin Luther King Jr to us is a spiritual and moral one. King’s courageous and compassionate example shatters the dominant neoliberal soul-craft of smartness, money and bombs. His grand fight against poverty, militarism, materialism and racism undercuts the superficial lip service and pretentious posturing of so-called progressives as well as the candid contempt and proud prejudices of genuine reactionaries. King was neither perfect nor pure in his prophetic witness – but he was the real thing in sharp contrast to the market-driven semblances and simulacra of our day.

Martin Luther King Jr turned away from popularity in his quest for spiritual and moral greatness – a greatness measured by what he was willing to give up and sacrifice due to his deep love of everyday people, especially vulnerable and precious black people. Neoliberal soul craft avoids risk and evades the cost of prophetic witness, even as it poses as “progressive”.

If King were alive today, his words and witness against drone strikes, invasions, occupations, police murders, caste in Asia, Roma oppression in Europe, as well as capitalist wealth inequality and poverty, would threaten most of those who now sing his praises.

Today, 50 years later the US imperial meltdown deepens. And King’s radical legacy remains primarily among the awakening youth and militant citizens who choose to be extremists of love, justice, courage and freedom, even if our chances to win are that of a snowball in hell! This kind of unstoppable King-like extremism is a threat to every status quo!

Martin Luther King Jr was a radical. We must not sterilize his legacy by Cornel West, The Guardian, April 4, 2018

YouTube video I created of speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr, and Bobby Kennedy using photos I took at the Kenned-King Park in Indianapolis.

Quakers, abortion, and the white Christian problem

The Policy Committee of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is asking Quaker meetings for input for a statement about reproductive justice and abortion.

In the interest of time, I have not yet converted this to a blog post. You should be able to read and/or download “Quakers, Abortion, and the White Christian Problem” using the link below. We plan to discuss this at my Quaker meeting this weekend.

I began collecting various statements about abortion from my Yearly Meeting. Reproductive justice has always been a concern of Indigenous people in this country, so I also included some writings from my Indigenous friends. As can be seen in this document, young people, and especially my Indigenous friends see abortion as a problem of White Christians. I’m wondering what my White Quaker Friends think about that. Does that change how White Friends think and act about reproductive justice? Isn’t this an opportunity to build community amongst all of us?

DISCLAIMER: I am the author of this, and it is not an official publication of any group or organization.

Police vs Atlanta and the rest of us

The proposed construction of “Cop City”, an 85-acre, $90 million dollar project to build a police training facility in the South River Forest in Atlanta, is a prime example of so many injustices.

  • Land theft from the Muskogee people
  • Forced displacement of the Muskogee, the “Trail of Tears”
  • Enslavement of people of color
  • Once a prison with a history of abuse
  • Environmental injustice
  • Attempted corruption of city council members
  • Killing Manuel Teran (Tortuguita)
  • Charges of terrorism against people protesting the training center, and the death of Tortuguita

And these concerns are not limited to Atlanta, or Georgia. The plan is to train police there from all over the country.

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Groups who oppose the construction of Atlanta’s future public safety training facility are asking the courts to block construction at the site until the appeal against its land disturbance permit is sorted out. 

In Monday’s complaint, individuals said that despite an appeal against its permit, the Atlanta Police Foundation — who is the main funder of the project — is still clearing land at the planned site of the future training facility. The site has been the epicenter of a more than yearlong protest movement that refers to the area as “Cop City.”

Those who oppose the facility said the appeal should mean that the foundation must stop all construction or clearing of the site until the zoning board reaches a decision — but the foundation has continued business as usual.

Complaint filed to stop construction at Atlanta Public Safety Training Center amid permit appeal, Documents allege crews are still working on the land when they shouldn’t be by Gabrielle Nunex, 11Alive News, Feb 15, 2023

This video from Al Jazeera explains the many problems related to the proposed “Cop City” project in Atlanta.

From the transcript:

I’m not sure they’re trying to force us out of the community and just take over the whole Community overall but that’s what it looked like. The path we headed down to Atlanta’s proposal to construct the police facility here speaks to the land’s painful history.

The site was a prison farm until 1995. Prisoners there were subjected to harsh punishments and slave conditions including poor sanitation nutrition and overcrowding. Some critics say claims of unmarked graves have not yet been properly investigated.

Before that the land is thought to have been a plantation that enslaved at least 19 people. It was originally stolen from the Muskogee who lived there until the U.S government forcefully displaced them to Oklahoma. Today both activists and tribal members have reclaimed the indigenous name as Weelaunee People’s Park. Local Advocates have long called for the area to be preserved as a historical site. They just can’t wait, they cannot wait, they just want to go in and bulldoze everything and then write the history the way they want. They haven’t even done proper you know, ecological surveys yet. But Cop City isn’t the only facility that the residents have opposed. Around the forest is a Hollywood studio, sanitation Center, juvenile prison and asphalt and trucking factories, and KIRO landfill. Nobody wants to address the environmental Injustice of this. Those issues have never been vetted. The facilities have severely polluted Muscogee Creek which flows downstream to the South River.

History of the Land

Until the 1830s, the Weelaunee Forest — now called the South River Forest, located southeast of Atlanta — was occupied by the Muscogee people. The Muscogee were known as the first tribe to become “civilized” through George Washington’s civilization plan, a six-step plan to disrupt Native culture, occupy native land, and teach Indigenous people how to live like white settlers. 

The Muscogee were forcefully removed from the forest in the 1830s through the “Trail of Tears,” a decades-long movement to forcibly remove Indigenous people from their homelands, resulting in thousands of deaths. Following their removal, the land was purchased by plantation owner Lochlin Johnson. During the Civil War, it was the site of the Battle of Atlanta.

In 1918, 1,250 acres of the forest were bought by the Bureau of Prisons and United States Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta for $160,000. Until the early 1990s, the land was used as a prison farm.

Atlanta Is Starting Construction of ‘Cop City.’ Here’s What You Need to Know. We take a deep dive on the history of the land, the environmental and political implications, and the growing movement against the facility by Adam Mahoney, Madeline Thigpen, and Adam Mahoney, Capital B News, Feb 9, 2023

This is a link to posts I’ve written about “Cop City”.

On January 31st, we had a solidarity action in Des Moines related to “Cop City” and the killing of Tortuguita. We visited the local office of Cushman and Wakefield. They are a global corporation and John O’Neill is the President of U.S. Multifamily Capital Markets of the global firm. We asked the president at the local office to contact him to cut ties with the Atlanta Police Foundation. He confirmed that he did, for what it’s worth.

Following are some of the photos I took at our action that morning.

FCNL Statement on Anti-racism, Anti-bias, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

My parents, Burt and Birdie Kisling, were involved with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) for many years. I’m very grateful they persuaded me to become involved, too. I was on the General Committee for nine years.

I was reluctant at first because I refused to have a car, so the trip from Indianapolis to Washington, DC, took twenty-two hours via the train, if it was on time, which it usually wasn’t. I would arrive sometime around 9 pm and walk from Union Station to William Penn House. I just had to stop by the US Capital building on the way to take photos, as it was lit so beautifully. I was sometimes approached by Capitol police, but I guess I appeared to be harmless. (Don’t tell my friends at FCNL that I mainly went to DC so I could take photos of all the monuments and memorials. Some of those photos can be found at the end of this.)

As Black History Month begins, here is an article by Lauren Brownlee. Following that is the new FCNL Statement on Anti-racism, Anti-bias, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion that I wanted to share with you.

“I Rage Because I Love”

I strive every day to put my faith, and the love at its heart, into action. I will always remember sitting in a Meeting for Worship in the early days of the Black Lives Matter movement and realizing that I rage because I love. Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, said, “I had to change my mourning into a movement, my pain into purpose, and sorrow into a strategy.” As Quakers say, ‘friend speaks my mind.’  

As Black History Month begins, I again feel rage in mourning for Keenan Anderson, Tyre Nichols, and too many others. I strive to channel my righteous indignation into grounded action. Sometimes that action is reaching out to loved ones to check in on them. Sometimes it is going to a rally, a protest, a vigil, or a march.

Sometimes it is organizing and advocating to change the systems that maintain white supremacy, and those are the moments that I am most grateful for FCNL. While the world we live in was built on a foundation of white supremacy, the world we at FCNL seek centers racial justice.  

Dr. Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” We are the ones who help bend it and there are myriad ways that we can do so. Each of our FCNL issue areas are designed around bending that arc, and our new Statement of Anti-racism, Anti-bias, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (AJEDI) guides how we bend it. 

(article continues here:  

As Black History Month begins, I again feel rage in mourning for Keenan Anderson, Tyre Nichols, and too many others. by Lauren Brownlee, FCNL, February 2, 2023

The Friends Committee on National Legislation is a national, nonpartisan Quaker organization that lobbies Congress and the administration to advance peace, justice, and environmental stewardship.

Founded in 1943 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), FCNL fields an expert team of lobbyists on Capitol Hill and works with a grassroots network of tens of thousands of people across the country to advance policies and priorities established by our governing General Committee.

Indigenous Land Acknowledgement
As we bear witness and lobby in solidarity with Native Americans, we also honor the Nacotchtank tribe on whose ancestral land the FCNL, FCNL Education Fund, and Friends Place on Capitol Hill buildings stand. They are also known as the Anacostans, the Indigenous people who lived along the banks of the Anacostia River, including in several villages on Capitol Hill and what is now Washington, D.C. By the 1700s, the Nacotchtank tribe had merged with other tribes like the Pamunkey and the Piscataway, both of which still exist today.


Doesn’t it seem that we are in a time when many swollen tributaries are coming together, causing massive flooding?

Not only literally from environmental chaos.

While I’ve been devasted by the killing of land defender Manuel Teran Tortuguita in Atlanta, there is the emerging story of yet another police murder, that of Tyre Nichols in Tennessee. This against a background of mass shootings occurring nearly daily. Sometimes more than one a day. School children drilled on what to do in response to an active shooter.

The violence of the militarization of policing. When Congress cannot pass laws related to gun safety and reforms of policing. The violence of the attack on the US Capital. The authoritarian practices and legislation passed there. The example this provides to other countries around the globe. The extreme gerrymandering and voter suppression.

Against a background of the violence of poverty, hunger, and houselessness. The epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous relatives. The ongoing discovery of the remains of thousands of native children on the grounds of the institutions of forced assimilation. Children continuing to be removed from their homes. Continued violence against women, including criminalizing abortion.

The continued colonization and broken treaties.

The violence of US military around the world. The escalating proxy war against Russia in the Ukraine.

The violence against Mother Earth. Monocropping, CAFOs, fertilizers, pipeline construction and leaks. The violence against the water.

The violence of substance abuse and deaths. And suicides.

The violence of banning books. Violent suppression of free speech. Eradicating study of the multicultural peoples that many of the students are members of. Forced assimilation continues.

The violence of the southern border, against those seeking asylum, and against those in the country who are immigrants.

This violence and oppression fueled by systems of capitalism, institutional racism, white supremacy, and dominance.

It’s both enraging and exhausting to hear people who are supposed to be leaders lament these tragedies and offer the same tired ideas that have never worked before. Why would they work now?

Mutual Aid

Trying to make incremental changes to the system will never work because the system is the problem.

As my friend Ronnie James says:

I’m of the firm opinion that a system that was built by stolen bodies on stolen land for the benefit of a few is a system that is not repairable. It is operating as designed, and small changes (which are the result of huge efforts) to lessen the blow on those it was not designed for are merely half measures that can’t ever fully succeed.

So the question is now, where do we go from here? Do we continue to make incremental changes while the wealthy hoard more wealth and the climate crisis deepens, or do we do something drastic that has never been done before? Can we envision and create a world where a class war from above isn’t a reality anymore?”

Ronnie James

Mutual Aid is “where we go from here.”

This morning Ronnie and I were in Des Moines as usual, distributing donated food.

So I work with a dope crew called Des Moines Mutual Aid, and on Saturday mornings we do a food giveaway program that was started by the Panthers as their free breakfast program and has carried on to this day. Anyways, brag, brag, blah, blah.

So I get to work and I need to call my boss, who is also a very good old friend, because there is network issues. He remembers and asks about the food giveaway which is cool and I tell him blah blah it went really well. And then he’s like, “hey, if no one tells you, I’m very proud of what you do for the community” and I’m like “hold on hold on. Just realize that everything I do is to further the replacing of the state and destroying western civilization and any remnants of it for future generations.” He says “I know and love that. Carry on.”

Ronnie James

Martin Luther King and Capitalism

Whenever I try to talk about the necessity of rejecting capitalism, people don’t seem to even comprehend what that means. Why it must happen. When I asked Ronnie, my Mutual Aid mentor about this, he said he’s been having that experience for the twenty years he’s been an activist. He said that was because people hadn’t experienced the collapse of capitalism in their lives, yet. I believe he’s right. Unfortunately, that is changing as the capitalist economy is collapsing. Yet another reason to form more Mutual Aid communities.

I’m of the firm opinion that a system that was built by stolen bodies on stolen land for the benefit of a few is a system that is not repairable. It is operating as designed, and small changes (which are the result of huge efforts) to lessen the blow on those it was not designed for are merely half measures that can’t ever fully succeed.

So the question is now, where do we go from here? Do we continue to make incremental changes while the wealthy hoard more wealth and the climate crisis deepens, or do we do something drastic that has never been done before? Can we envision and create a world where a class war from above isn’t a reality anymore?”

Ronnie James, Des Moines Mutual Aid

I too have become fully convinced of the evils of capitalism. Moreover, I have come to the conclusion that my faith dictates that I work to replace it.

Fran Quigley, Director of the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University McKinney School of Law

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work was as much about economics and poverty, as it was about racial equality.

“I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic,” Martin Luther King admitted to Coretta Scott, concluding that “capitalism has outlived its usefulness.”

Speaking at a staff retreat of the SCLC in 1966, King said that “something is wrong … with capitalism” and “there must be a better distribution of wealth” in the country. “Maybe,” he suggested, “America must move toward a democratic socialism.”

For King, the only solution to America’s crisis of poverty was the redistribution of wealth. In a 1961 speech to the Negro American Labor Council, King declared, “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.”

The Forgotten Socialist History of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Matthew Miles Goodrich, In These Times, January 16, 2023

Again, we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that Capitalism grew and prospered out of the protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice, the fact is that Capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor both black and white, both here and abroad. If Negroes and poor whites do not participate in the free flow of wealth within our economy, they will forever be poor, giving their energies, their talents and their limited funds to the consumer market but reaping few benefits and services in return.”

I wish that I could say that this is just a passing phase in the cycles of our nation’s life; certainly, times of war, times of reaction throughout the society but I suspect that we are now experiencing the coming to the surface of a triple prong sickness that has been lurking within our body politic from its very beginning. That is the sickness of racism, excessive materialism and militarism

The Three Evils of Society – Delivered at the National Conference on New Politics August 31, 1967, Chicago, Ill

“And one day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America? And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth.’ When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society…”

Excerpts from King’s speech “Where Do We Go From Here?” delivered at the 11th Annual SCLC Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, August 16, 1967

The title for this blog, Quakers and Religious Socialism, came from exchanges of messages with my friend Fran Quigley. The following was in response to my blog post, The Evil of Capitalism.  

This post of yours struck me close to home. I too have become fully convinced of the evils of capitalism. Moreover, I have come to the conclusion that my faith dictates that I work to replace it. Turns out I am far from alone, so I’ve been devoting much of my time this past year to the Religion and Socialism Committee of the DSA, .

And, as part of a book project on religious socialism, I have published several articles profiling activists from different faith and spiritual traditions who feel called to advocate for a socialist society.  (Examples, if you are interested: a Catholic socialist, a Jewish rabbi socialist, a Black Presbyterian minister socialist, a Liberation Theologian Lutheran minister/professor,  Muslim socialists , a Buddhist socialist and a Black Baptist minister socialist.  I also co-wrote with longtime Religion and Socialism activist Maxine Phillips a short, one-stop primer on the argument for Christian socialism: )

I do not know of a definitive guide to Quaker socialism, but I know Bayard Rustin, Staughton Lynd, and AJ Muste (late-in-life switch to being a Friend) at various times identified as socialists, and there is a robust UK Quaker Socialist Society:  Willard Uphaus was a Christian socialist and pacifist Earlham alum, but it’s not clear to me if he was a Quaker:

Fran Quigley, director of the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University McKinney School of Law and a editorial team member

Des Moines Black Lives Matter/ Black Liberation

Early in our lifetimes, industry provided nearly full employment. Nearly every household had someone who was working, and bringing home a paycheck. All commerce was based on capitalism. Money was required for every transaction. Money was the only way to obtain goods and services.

Then with increasing automation, and moving jobs overseas for cheap labor, the unemployment rate began to increase. Soon millions of people no longer had the income needed to pay for goods and services. The numbers of those without jobs has increased dramatically from the economic impact of the COVID pandemic. Those without jobs have to rely on social safety nets, which often means people are living in poverty, at subsistent levels.

As a society we failed to address the loss of wages for millions of people who no longer had money, in a system that required money for everything–food, shelter, healthcare, etc.

It is clear to me that capitalism is an unjust, untenable system, when there is plenty of food in the grocery stores, but men, women and children are going hungry, living on the streets outside the store. There is no justification for this.

Conscientiously Object to Capitalism, Jeff Kisling, 12/4/2020


NOTE: I am truly blessed to have many Indigenous friends, many who are involved in the Great Plains Action Society (GPAS), including the founder Sikowis Nobiss. As a White person I’ve tried hard to learn how to appropriately engage with my friends. I’ve made mistakes.
I’ve written a lot about my experiences, hoping other White people might benefit.

This is a continuation of a series of posts related to The Great Carbon Boondoggle report about proposed carbon pipelines in the Midwest, and the resistance to them.

The first paragraph of the following section of the report highlights the environmental racism common to pipeline projects in this country. The original route of the Dakota Access pipeline was changed after the people of Bismarck, North Dakota raised concerns about the impact on their drinking water. The new route was near the Standing Rock Reservation.

Environmental racism is one of the reasons Des Moines Black Liberation Collective is part of the Buffalo Rebellion. (See:


The proposed route for Summit’s pipeline will pass near several Native American reservations and cities with high Indigenous populations across the Midwest. This has sparked massive resistance from frontline communities, all too familiar with the devastation these projects bring. While the landowners’ opposition has garnered most of the media coverage, Indigenous groups are firmly against the pipeline. Great Plains Action Society (GPAS), a non-profit advocating for Indigenous communities throughout the Midwest, opposes the Midwest Carbon Express, stating it “only serves the interests of the fossil fuel industry.” GPAS is working alongside area tribes, including the Ho-chunk (Winnebago) and Umonhon (Omaha) Nations, to mobilize against the project.

On June 2, 2022, the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska — which has reservations in Dakota County, Nebraska, and Woodbury County, Iowa — requested that the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), the US Army Corps of Engineers and the two counties, conduct independent environmental impact studies of the pipeline. The request was filed given Summit’s proposed pipeline route comes near their land and the Missouri River. On October 6, 2022, the IUB denied the request, stating, “IUB will consider specific environmental issues raised by the IUB and the parties in the Summit Carbon docket as part of the public evidentiary hearing and in consideration of whether to grant Summit Carbon a hazardous liquid pipeline permit.” [35] The decision follows the precedent set by the IUB in 2015 during approval for the Dakota Access Pipeline, where the regulatory body found “no explicit legal requirement, in statute or in rules, for an independent environmental impact report as a part of the permit proceeding.” [36]

The Great Carbon Boondoggle, Inside the Struggle to Stop Summit’s CO2 Pipeline, The Oakland Institute

The IUB’s rejection of an independent environmental impact study on the project has heightened fears of the devastation that would occur in the event of a pipeline rupture. According to the Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, in the case of a rupture, “extremely cold liquid CO2 forms a cloud that settles on the ground and displaces oxygen — potentially sickening or killing people and animals for miles around and rendering internal combustion engines inoperable.” [37]
In February 2020, a carbon pipeline in Yazoo County, Mississippi, exploded and immediately impacted residents of the nearby small town of Sartia. Just minutes after the explosion, people passed out up to three quarters of a mile away from the pipeline. “I thought I was gonna die,” said Linda Garrett, a Sartia resident. [38] The explosion led to 45 people being hospitalized and the evacuation of 300 residents. Following the rupture, the Yazoo County Emergency Management Agency Director, who oversaw the response effort, warned, “We got lucky…If the wind blew the other way, if it’d been later when people were sleeping, we would have had deaths.” [39]

For some Winnebago tribe members, the question is not if the pipeline will rupture but when. “Pipelines break all the time as you are putting manmade material against Mother Nature, something we cannot control.” [42] A rupture could be catastrophic, especially if it occurred near tribal lands with limited response resources. “I like to think we are resourceful on the reservation but when the pipeline breaks, how are we going to be able to get people the help that they need? We don’t have the capacity as first responders and emergency personnel to protect our people in that situation.” [43]
Given the lack of experience dealing with large-scale carbon pipeline ruptures, even larger urban areas are currently unprepared, as they lack the necessary special equipment and emergency response training. [44] With majority of the Indigenous people living outside the reservation land and in nearby cities that will be near the proposed pipeline route, they too will be in danger in case of a rupture. Sikowis Nobiss, Executive Director for GPAS, also noted the danger a rupture will pose to farmworkers, “There are areas with large groups of migrant workers and it is doubtful they be given the necessary protective equipment in case of a pipeline rupture. So far, nobody is talking to them about this project and their communities are unaware of the dangers.”

Indigenous communities have also raised concerns with the project degrading the land and disturbing sacred ceremonial and burial sites. [45]

Indigenous communities, rightfully, are also sounding the alarm on the impact an influx of transient pipeline construction workers will have. In the past “man-camps” — built for out of state workers for large construction, fossil fuel, or natural resource extraction projects — have led to increased risk of violence towards Indigenous communities. [49] The former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, corroborated, “Indigenous women have reported that the influx of workers into Indigenous communities as a result of extractive projects also led to increased incidents of sexual harassment and violence, including rape and assault.” [50]

Calling for a “reduction and phasing out of fossil fuels as a wider part of a just transition,” GPAS challenges CCS projects like the Midwest Carbon Express for delaying necessary action. Sikowis Nobiss, Executive Director for GPAS, has called for necessary investments to restore prairie across Iowa and the Midwest. “The colonial capitalist model sees our prairie land as ‘empty trash’ when in fact restoring it would control erosion and sequester lots of carbon — solving many of the biggest issues caused by Big Ag.” [54] Indigenous communities have experience resisting past pipeline projects and are building from it in resisting Summit. “Carbon pipelines are nothing new to us. Standing Rock educated us on how to build power within our own communities — but not only that — it taught us how to build that resistance against the pipeline route,” said Etringer. [55] Mobilization of Indigenous communities against the project stems from a commitment to protect the land despite historical injustices. Sikowis Nobiss explained what is driving these efforts: “We continue to put aside the historical trauma we face to help protect stolen land… this hurts your head and your heart, but we continue to support this work.” [56]

Great Plains Action Society’s Statement on C02 Pipelines

Great Plains Action Society is firmly opposed to proposed carbon capture and sequestration or storage (CCS) projects (aka, CO2 Pipelines) such as Summit’s Midwest Carbon Express, Navigator’s Heartland Greenway, and Wolf Carbon Solutions’ ADM pipelines. The reasons for our opposition are numerous, however, our greatest concern is that CCS only serves the interests of the fossil fuel industry and that the government will sanction further land theft and harm to communities on Indigenous territories. Carbon capture and sequestration is by design a way to prolong the usage of fossil fuels while reducing CO2 emissions. Amidst this climate emergency, we must demand a reduction and phase out fossil fuels as a wider part of a just transition. 

We are also concerned about intense water usage as drought and warmer temperatures are greatly affecting access to clean water. Fossil fuel companies have known that their products were contributing to climate change for over forty years and now they see CCS as a government bail-out with many governmental subsidies providing just the type of perverse incentive for CCS operators to manipulate the system. Additionally, there are the same concerns present with other pipeline projects in the area regarding degradation of the land, disturbance of sacred ceremonial and burial sites. CO2 pipelines are also dangerous because when they rupture, they can spread over 1300 ft in under 4 min making it impossible to breathe and for vehicles to drive. First responders are not at all prepared to deal with such a catastrophe and many have been pushing back C02 pipelines for this reason alone. Furthermore, Indigenous communities will inevitably face encroachment on to treaty land, including environmentally racist moves on behalf of individual states to make sure that CCS does not negatively affect wealthy, white communities with influential power.

CCS is greenwashing rather than a solution to the climate emergency that Iowans deserve, as Indigenous people, we remain committed to the water, the land, and the future generations of Iowans.

Here are some photos I’ve taken related to our Buffalo Rebellion’s carbon pipeline resistance.


35 Iowa Utilities Board. “IUB Addresses Request for Environmental Impact Study on Proposed Summit Carbon Solutions CO2 Pipeline.” Press Release. October 6, 2022.
36 Eller, D. “Iowa pipeline regulators reject tribe’s request for environmental impact study.” Des Moines Register, October 10, 2022.

37 Zegart, D et al. Fact Sheet: CO2 Pipeline Safety. Iowa Chapter Physicians for Social Responsibility, September 14, 2022.
38 Warden, B. “Residents near CO2 pipeline rupture in Mississippi share their story.” DakotaNewsNow, October 6, 2022.
39 Zegart, D. “The Gassing of Sartia.” HuffPost, August 26, 2021.

42 Direct communication with Trisha Etringer, Operations and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Director, Great Plains Action Society. October 11, 2022.
43 Ibid.
44 Iowa Sierra Club Chapter. “Carbon Pipelines: A Disaster Waiting to Happen.” Webinar. September 19, 2021.
45 Great Plains Action Society. “No CO2 Pipelines.”
49 Great Plains Action Society. “The Impact of CO2 Pipelines and ‘Mancamp Construction.” Webinar. September 19, 2022
50 Great Plains Action Society. “UN PFII Intervention on Man-Camps and Violence in Indigenous Communities.” May 3, 2019.
54 Direct communication with Sikowis Nobiss, Executive Director, Great Plains Action Society. October 13, 2022.
55 Direct communication with Trisha Etringer, Operations and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Director, Great Plains Action Society. October 11, 2022.
56 Direct communication with Sikowis Nobiss, Executive Director, Great Plains Action Society. October 13, 2022.

The Great Carbon Boondoggle

Publisher: The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think tank bringing fresh ideas and bold action to the most pressing social, economic, and environmental issues. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (CC BY-NC 4.0). You are free to share, copy, distribute, and transmit this work under the following conditions:
Attribution: You must attribute the work to the Oakland Institute and its authors.
Non-Commercial: You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

This report was authored by Andy Currier, Eve Devillers, and Frédéric Mousseau and draws from the previous Oakland Institute publication: The Midwest Carbon Express: A False Solution to the Climate Crisis.
Special thanks to the landowners and Indigenous community members who shared their experiences. Several remain anonymous to protect their identities

The Great Carbon Boondoggle, Inside the Struggle to Stop Summit’s CO2 Pipeline, The Oakland Institute

Buffalo Rebellion Community Call: Des Moines Black Liberation

I am so glad to be part of the Buffalo Rebellion
(See: )

Last night we had a Community Call via Zoom to reflect on the past year, hear updates of work being done, and what the future might hold.

The main accomplishments of this year were

Using Zoom breakout rooms, we got to know each other better and hear what work we are each doing. I talked about being involved in Des Moines Mutual Aid, and that I’ve been talking about this in our Quaker meeting. That I hoped more people of faith would become involved in Mutual Aid. There were only two other people in our breakout room. One said he had attended Quaker meeting in Connecticut, and the other said this resonated with her.

Des Moines Black Liberation Collective

1. Removal of armed school resource officers from Des Moines Public Schools

Jaylen Cavil of Des Moines Black Liberation Collective ( reported on something I hadn’t known about, getting police out of schools. From my time in the Kheprw Institute community in Indianapolis, I knew how children of color and their parents distrust and fear the police. It was an awful thing to bring the police into the schools. The school to prison pipeline is a horrible situation and Des Moines Black Liberation Collective (Des Moines BLM) was recently about to get “school resource officers” (SRO) out of the public schools.

Before the pandemic, armed officers known as ​“school resource officers,” or SROs, from the Des Moines Police Department would patrol the school hallways. But during the summer of racial justice marches and protests after the police murder of George Floyd, students, parents and community members spoke out against SROs at Des Moines School Board meetings. In the end, the police contract with the schools was terminated. After scrambling to make remote schooling work during the long, mournful slog of the pandemic, Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) were left to find a way to reimagine school safety — and fast.

The district moved quickly to implement restorative practices, an increasingly popular educational model for school safety, violence prevention and mediation. 

The 2021 – 2022 school year was a huge opportunity with the highest of stakes: DMPS could become one of the only districts in the nation to succeed in concurrently removing SROs and implementing restorative practices, or the district and its students could be thrown into crisis.

The City That Kicked Cops Out of Schools and Tried Restorative Practices Instead. Here’s what happens when a school rethinks punishment by ANDY KOPSA, In These Times, DECEMBER 12, 2022

Vanessa says she sometimes asks to go to the ​“Think Tank,” a designated area created by RP staff for kids who violate school rules. While in the Think Tank as a punishment, students cannot talk, have outside meals or snacks and must turn off electronics. But the Think Tank can also be a respite; for Vanessa, it’s a safe space to deal with the anxiety that drove her to wander the halls.

“I would get overwhelmed and then I would ask to go to the Think Tank so I was able to do my work,” Vanessa says. ​“And Mr. Musa had snacks.” The snacks made a lasting impression.

When I drop by Roosevelt’s Think Tank with Mr. Musa, eight kids have opted to be there in lieu of suspension. Two girls are there because of a scuffle in the bathroom, though they say they were bystanders. Then there are a couple hallway roamers and two boys caught vaping.

In the Think Tank, students are required to do school work. In many cases, that’s a back catalog of assignments and writing about what they did, how it made them feel and how they might handle it differently in the future.

The subtle, important difference between the Think Tank and traditional in-school suspension, according to Jake Troja, DMPS director of school climate, is that students are there by choice. In the past, the message from the school district to students was, ​“You have a suspension, that’s it,” he says. Now, RP staff have a new message: ​“We’d love [for students] to be in class, but we can’t do that, so here’s another option.”

“It’s about power and authority,” Troja says.

The district asked for reform — such as installing ununiformed and unarmed officers in schools — but the Des Moines police department responded, in February 2021, with a surprise termination of the contract. Sgt. Paul Parizek, Des Moines police public information officer, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Des Moines schools had already begun training teachers in restorative practices in 2018. With the $750,000 saved from the broken contract, the school district funded 20 new positions and hired specially trained RP staff across the city’s five public high schools. The district even invited Sellers and other students to observe the hiring process, and students picked up on red flags that staff missed, Sellers tells me, like candidates who called students ​“delinquents.”

The City That Kicked Cops Out of Schools and Tried Restorative Practices Instead. Here’s what happens when a school rethinks punishment by ANDY KOPSA, In These Times, DECEMBER 12, 2022

2. Prison letter writing and abolition

Jaylen talked about Des Moines BLM’s support of Central Iowa Democratic Socialist of America’s (DSA) prison letter writing project. This is something I’ve been involved with in several ways. Jade, my friend from Des Moines Mutual Aid is the organizer for this project that a number of us from DMMA participate in.

I am writing to you as a part of the Central Iowa Democratic Socialists of American prison abolition group. I am inviting you to join our solidarity and pen-pal network. We are connecting with people incarcerated in Iowa because we believe the struggles of people both inside and outside of prison walls are intertwined. Specifically, we recognize the need to eliminate systemic injustices produced by the current criminal justice system.

Please let me know if you are interested in taking part in this project. I would love to receive any information from you so that we can make a case to those on the outside to take action on the demands of incarcerated people.

We are the Central Iowa chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Promoting the concept of democratic socialism through political action, direct service, and education. We are building for the future beyond resistance.

Quakers for Abolition Network

My blog made it possible for one of my new friends, Jed Walsh, to contact me about the work he and Mackenzie Barton-Rowledge are doing related to abolition of police and prisons. I wrote a little in their article that was published by the Western Friend,

3. Des Moines BLM and Des Moines Mutual Aid

Jaylen also spoke about the collaboration of Des Moines BLM with Des Moines Mutual Aid. Mutual Aid is the alternative to the capitalist system that drains all the resources that should be invested in our people and communities. That houselessness is by design because those in power want us to feel desperate, so we can’t focus on change.

He told of the City of Des Moines periodically razing the houseless camps, which served no good purpose because they are rebuilt shortly after. Last year it cost about $30,000 to provide propane and heaters for those in the camps. Funds for this purpose are behind now.

Information about camper support and to make donations can be found here:

4. Demands for the Department of Corrections

Help uplift demands from individuals incarcerated at Anamosa State Penitentiary

Jaylen asked us to send emails to the DoC to support the demands of incarcerated individuals.

In subsequent posts I’ll report on the other work that was presented at this Buffalo Rebellion Community Call last night.

You can read more about these issues in the Iowa Mutual Aid publication, We Gather Here in Disservice of the State

Foundational stories now: Quaker faith

[My foundational stories are related to the intersections between my Quaker faith, protecting Mother Earth, and photography. My faith led me to try to share my spiritual experiences and show my love for the beauty of Mother Earth through photography.]

I’ve been praying and struggling for many days to discern how to express the state of my Quaker faith today. Quakerism is the faith community I was born into and have remained in. I was raised in a White Quaker family and community. I had a Spiritual experience at the Bear Creek Meetinghouse when I was about ten years old, an experience that I have drawn upon for the rest of my life. I attended Scattergood Friends School, a Quaker high school, and Earlham College, a Quaker institution.

One of the reasons I accepted the challenge of reflecting on my foundational stories is because of my crisis of faith now.

I think it is common for people to be disappointed by their faith community at various times, for a variety of reasons. That has been true for me. Coming of age during the Vietnam War I wished more young men had resisted the draft. I wish we all had done more to reign in the use of fossil fuels. And that White people like myself had worked, harder to acknowledge our complicity in the oppression of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC), of various gender identities, and certain social and economic classes. I wish we were working harder now on acknowledging and trying to heal these injustices.

This country was built on the historical injustices of the institution of slavery, and the genocide and removal of Indigenous peoples from their lands. And the forced assimilation of native children in institutions where they were often physically and sexually abused, where thousands of children were killed or died.

Many people, including Quakers today question how complicit our ancestors were in these injustices. There were White Quakers who were involved in the slave trade, and who enslaved Black men, women, and children. Our ancestors were settler colonists. As are we who are now living on these lands. Quakers were involved in the Indian residential schools.

being involved with others in wrongdoing


These issues often generate significant emotional responses. I don’t have all the answers. But I have had spiritual and community experiences that I am led to speak and work from today. Many of these experiences have led me to understand we are living in a country, a society of structural racism and white superiority. As much as many of us White Quakers wish it weren’t so, our skin color automatically gives us many significant advantages in this country.

Our mainstream social, economic, and political systems are predicated on White superiority and dominance. I say mainstream because many people, including myself, are building alternative systems today. I’ve been deeply involved in Mutual Aid for a couple of years and believe this to be part of the answer. Mutual Aid is included in the following graphics.

NOTE: White supremacy is different from white superiority. “White supremacy or white supremacism is the belief that white people are superior to those of other races and thus should dominate them.”


I’ve also seen in the lives of my friends what I once thought of as isolated historical traumas have been passed from generation to generation. They profoundly affect the lives of people today. What does that mean for White Quakers now?

“…capitalism and colonialism created structures that have disrupted how people have historically connected with each other and shared everything they needed to survive. As people were forced into systems of wage labor and private property, and wealth became increasingly concentrated, our ways of caring for each other have become more and more tenuous.”

Dean Spade, Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next) (Kindle Locations 111-121). Verso

Following is another way of looking at the relationships between White settler colonists and Indigenous peoples. White Quakers need to acknowledge that when our ancestors came to these Indigenous lands, they were settler colonists. And since we are still occupying these lands, we are settler colonists, too. Some White Quakers were involved in the forced assimilation of Indigenous children. We are implicated in most of the “negative” things listed below.

Acknowledgement of wrongs is the necessary first step in the healing process.

On the positive side are Mutual Aid, the Buffalo Rebellion, and the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL). I’ve written a lot about my experiences with Mutual Aid

I’m fortunate to be part of the Buffalo Rebellion, a newly formed Green New Deal coalition in Iowa formed to protect the planet by demanding change from politicians and convincing the public that climate should be a priority. Buffalo Rebellion, is a coalition of grassroots, labor, and climate justice organizations growing a movement to pass local, state, and national policies that create millions of family-sustaining union jobs—ensuring racial and gender equity and taking action on climate at the scale and scope the crisis demands. It was formed in November 2021 and consists of: 

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has years of experience advocating for legislation related to Native American affairs. Recently FCNL has been supporting legislation to form a Truth and Healing Commission related to the Indian Boarding Schools. I’ve been blessed to have many years of experience with FCNL and have been working with my native friends in creating connections with FCNL, including several visits to our US Senators.