Thursday, October 25, 2007

Previous private attempts to help the AFSC heed external data

Below is a part of a meeting outline delivered to AFSC representatives by the Editor of Quakers in the News - handed to the Asst. General Secretary and the Communications Director in a meeting in New York City on 10/24/2005.

The outline below shows a potential benefit to the AFSC as a 'Quaker' organization - to heed external data which will provide feedback as to how the informed public sees the Friends. (In order for the AFSC to to better anchor themselves to actual Friends)

Irregularities were discovered in how AFSC presents itself in 'Blue' or 'Red' states. Where AFSC would potentially be criticized (in Red states) , it called itself a 'Quaker' organization, where it was less likely to be criticized, (in Blue States) it left out the 'Quaker' label.

The Editor also asked the AFSC representatives to consider how the word 'Integrity' might be substituted for 'Justice' in AFSC's communications, in order to have the public be able to 'listen' to the AFSC. 'Justice' is a word which cannot be 'heard' by middle America.

Here is the relevant text from the report on Inequality Matters, included in the above link:

"In a breakout session that day, I heard speakers give feedback from focus groups on words that the general public finds palatable and non-threatening when social issues are being discussed. The words ‘Equality’ and ‘Justice’ are threatening or possibly too confrontational in the ears of the general public. Words like ‘fairness’, ‘opportunity’, and ‘stewardship’ were evidently more sonorous words in the minds of the public. I believe ‘the public’ was defined as focus groups from all over the country, including the Midwest, and the South."


October 24, 2005

Quakers in the News 2005
General Report

A Total of 2200 published reports on approximately 1800 unique news events / features have been gathered as of 10/15/2005. (wire service stories are picked up by local newspapers, and TV )

A sub-total of 245 unique email addresses was collected of news/feature reporters who wrote about Quakerism.

The most widely and intensely reported story of 2005 is about a male Earlham College student who threw a pie in the face of a male guest speaker, William Kristol, at a speech at the College. (101 published reports in the U.S. and U.K.)

A geographic distribution of published news reports is:

US Published Reports – 1,988 (91%)
UK Published Reports - 116 ( 5%)
Other Published Reports – 95 ( 4%) (Includes Canada)
AFSC Report

There is a total of 494 published reports about the AFSC on approximately 400 unique events/features. (wire service stories are picked up by local newspapers, and TV )

A sub-total of 195 of 494(40%) total separate reports featured the word ‘Quaker’ in the story (usually mentioning that the AFSC is a ‘Quaker’ organization).

A sub-total of 55 unique email addresses was collected of news/feature reporters who wrote about AFSC.

US Published Reports – 475 (96%)
UK Published Reports - 5 ( 1%)
Middle East Reports - 4 ( 1%)
Oceania Reports - 2 (0.5%)
Africa Reports - 3 (0.5%)
Other Reports 5 ( 1%) (Includes Canada)

Larger AFSC Stories
Eyes Wide Open / Boots - traveling exhibit/protest/memorial

QiN shows 105 published news stories covering approximately 60 unique news events. One news event in California (written by the Associated Press) generated 45 published stories with negative criticism of the AFSC around the world.

AFSC /War/Public Revilement/Boots/Calif. Anti-War Memorial Stirs Passions/Guardian/London/England/UK/11-Mar-05/ Laid out in rows stretching longer than a football field, 1,513 pairs of black military boots gave a sunsplashed park the quiet, somber mood of a cemetery. The traveling exhibit, a reminder of the U.S. troops lost in Iraq , arrived on the West Coast this week as divisive as the war itself -- especially for the families of the fallen men and women. To some of the families, it is a cathartic, fitting memorial in a nation they say seems largely anesthetized to the pain of a distant war. For others, it's an outrage tormenting them in their grief. "There's a difference between honoring our fallen and using them as pawns," said Georgette Frank, who believes the exhibit defamed the memory of her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Phillip Frank, by linking him with an anti-war agenda he never would have supported........ The "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit, created by the American Friends Service Committee, a branch of the pacifist Quaker church, began its nationwide tour in Chicago ../AP/Hettena, Seth

Other individual negative criticisms published in the news, of the exhibit came out in Texas and in Arizona (Red States), where local organizers shielded themselves with leveraged ‘Quaker’ historical pacifism.


AFSC/Protest/Civil Rights/ACLU/Peace Group Sues Chicago Police Over Infiltration Documents/

The NewStandard/Syracuse/NY/USA/26-Apr-05

…The organizations pointed to a February 2004 internal Chicago Police Department audit that showed the department had placed undercover officers in small meetings in whichAFSC members planned peaceful demonstrations during the 2002 Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) meeting held in Chicago. According to the ACLU, the audit suggested that police had "insufficient basis" for officers to attend the meetings organized by AFSC and other protest groups.

Hawaii / Military Research / Public Schools / Sit-in
A Total of 35 unique news reports were published in the US and UK.

AFSC/Military Research/Public Schools/Sit-In/Protesters occupy president's office at Hawaii university/Guardian Unlimited/London/England/UK/3-May-05/HONOLULU (AP) — The seven Hawaii state flags outside the University of Hawaii administration building are flying upside down in a symbol of distress. But the flags raised on temporary poles outside Bachman Hall only hint at the frustration some students, faculty and community members feel about plans for a proposed Navy research center on campus. Protesters have occupied the office of the university's interim President David McClain and delivered new demands on Monday, asking him to take immediate action that would stall or stop the project. Citing Native Hawaiian concerns, protesters say the proposed University Affiliated Research Center, which would be the Navy's fifth on a U.S. college campus and the first in 58 years, would further militarize a state that is home to several military bases, including the Navy's Pearl Harbor and headquarters for the U.S. military's Pacific Command."He took 31 hours to get back to us and there are a lot of folks to consult with," spokesman Kyle Kajihiro said yesterday, barring reporters from the meeting as the protesters sat cross-legged on McClain's carpeted floor or lounged against the walls to debate their next move after the president released a concessionary statement. "They'll be here tonight discussing it long into the night," said Kajihiro, a community activist with the American Friends Service Committee.

A Total of 35 unique news reports were published in the US and UK.
AFSC/Protest/Privacy//ACLU, others suing FBI to release records/Duluth News Tribune/Duluth/MN/USA/

18-May-05/...The ACLU has been seeking FBI files on a broad range of individuals and groups that have been interviewed, investigated or subjected to searches by the task forces. The requests also sought information on how the task forces are funded, to determine if they are rewarded with government money by labeling high numbers of cases as related to terrorism. The ACLU provided a list of examples, including the Quaker-affiliated American Friends Service Committee that had been monitored by Denver police and was listed as an "active case" by a local terrorism task force. The FBI did release some records sought by the ACLU. They concern two political activists in Colorado, one of them a 21-year-old intern for the Friends group. Sarah Bardwell has no criminal record, according to a partially censored report from the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in Denver. The report said her Denver residence was "found to be associated" with two groups that were of interest to the FBI. Bardwell said one of the groups, Food Not Bombs, distributes vegetarian food to the hungry. "They are stretching as far as they can to insinuate that these organizations are doing something wrong," she said. The other person whose FBI file was released is Scott Silber, 29, a former labor organizer for the Service Employees International Union. "The FBI was engaging in a campaign to intimidate people who were working on progressive causes," he said. The FBI, in a statement, said it sought to interview Bardwell, Silber and others in Colorado "based on a specific and credible threat" of violence at last summer's Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts.

AFSC/Civil Rights/Police Monitoring//ACLU accuses FBI of 'spying' on activists/Christian Science Monitor/ALL/ALL/USA/20-May-05/...The Boston Globe reported Wednesday that "The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts is seeking FBI files on behalf of four advocacy groups and 10 activists in the state, saying it believes they have been targets of surveillance because of their politics."

The ACLU, in Freedom of Information Act requests it plans to send out today, is requesting all records kept by the FBI and antiterrorism agencies on the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group in Cambridge; the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which has a state chapter in Boston; the International Action Committee Boston, an antiwar group, and the ACLU itself. The letter also seeks government files on 10 activists and political dissidents, including such liberal heavyweights as Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky.

Subject: Re: American Friends Service Committee as a 'Quaker' Organization?
Re: American Friends Service Committee as a 'Quaker' Organization?
Mon, 05 Mar 2007 23:12:16 -0500
"Glenn R."

Dear Ruth (as Associate General Secretary and Quaker Liaison),

Although I agree that immigration is indeed an important issue in the United States, the picture and article included in the New York Times article Friday, March 3, cited below, is troubling to me for its obvious loud, contentious and potentially divisive portrayal of members of the AFSC.

I've been troubled for some years about the issue of 'red state' and 'blue state' and the 'boots' exhibit, that I made below. I was personally put off by the creator of the 'Eyes Wide Open' exhibit when I met him in New York City during the Republican primary of August 2004.

I made my concerns, of potentially divisive witness activities, and language that the public can and cannot 'hear' by AFSC, known to you in a meeting we had in October 2005, here in New York City. I there offered to share Quakers in the News data with AFSC once it had intentions to develop a knowledge database. We met again in Philadelphia in January 2006 and you mentioned that no progress was made with regard to the knowledge database.

Information systems aside, I'm wondering if AFSC truly cares how the public perceives or 'hears' or doesn't 'hear' AFSC's witness language or activities?

I forward this to you today for your information, which I sent to journalists on my Quakers in the News list. Reading over the letter again, I might have used ' the AFSC board is responsible for long term guidance only' in more Friendly terms, rather than saying in worldly terms - 'toothless'. For that I apologize to anyone who is upset with that worldly language.

In Friendship,
Glenn R.


Post a Comment

<< Home