Minutes, Meeting for Business, 5.2018

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Minutes

Property Ctte. Annual Report

Donation Analysis

FY19 Budget

Balance Sheet

Minutes, Ctte of Clerks, 4.2018

Peace & Social Concerns Update

Advocacy Letters, Sanctuary Taskforce

 

Meeting for Worship with Concern for Business

13 Fifth Month 2018

Friends Meeting of Washington

 

At 12:20 pm, 27 Friends and attenders were present for worship and the conduct of business.

 

The Meeting opened with silent worship and the reading of Psalm 131:

 

My heart is not proud, Lord,

my eyes are not haughty;

I do not concern myself with great matters

or things too wonderful for me.

But I have calmed and quieted myself,

                        I am like a weaned child with its mother;

                        like a weaned child I am content.

 

and a query:

 

 This Spring, how is God as Mother showing up in your life?

 

The Meeting approved the service of Grant Phelps Thompson as interim recording clerk.

 

The Clerk recognized David Miller, Danielle Green, and Petra’Rahim Soloman  as visitors.

 

Clerk’s Report:

 

  • The White House beams have been removed temporarily from the main office and will be reinstalled after construction. These beams came to us through the efforts of Mary Walcott. The old timbers were removed from the White House in the 1920s and stored at a mill. According to our records, “this material is of a great interest in that it was built into the White House in 1814, after the British army had burned Washington. After 3 visits to the mill which had these old beams, [Mary Walcott] succeeded in getting a supply of the material which now makes the ceiling of this room a thing of beauty and of historical significance.” An alert attender pointed out that there is a good chance these beams were created by enslaved sawyers. We are working with the White House Historical Association and the National Archives to see if we can find definitive evidence to support that assumption. If so, we would like to honor the work of these people in some appropriate way. Please contact the office to volunteer if you wish to work on this project.

 

  • A large box that was in the Children’s Library for the past several months containing men’s gloves (probably leftover from the Shoebox Project) is missing It also contained the climate parachute that the children had worked so hard on. If anyone has seen it or has any idea of its whereabouts, please let the office know as soon as possible.

 

  • One of the yard crew found an old key fob from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in our mulch. We are taking suggestions on what to do with it, as well as speculation as to how it got there.

 

Major Items:

 

Finance and Stewardship Committee:

 

Jim Bell, clerk of the Finance and Stewardship Committee, made the first presentation of the budget for fiscal year 2019. A copy is attached. He called Friends’ attention to the summary of annual giving over the past five years, noting that financial support of the Meeting has been declining. The Meeting’s Treasurer reminded Friends that appeal letters are sent regularly and urged everyone receiving appeals to respond generously.

 

The Meeting is expecting to receive approximately $28,000 from the estate of Thomas Crews. The Committee is considering using these funds to support work on social justice activities as they are proposed from time to time; trustees would handle final approval of individual grants. The Committee will develop a final proposal and procedure.

 

Membership Committee:

 

Joseph Izzo presented the following names for action:

 

  • Mary Lou Schram application for membership was presented last Monthly Meeting. Friends approved her membership.

 

  • David Miller has applied for membership; his application will lie over for one month as is our custom.

 

  • Jacob (Jake) Ritting has applied for membership; his application will lie over for one month as is our custom. He is also applying for associate membership for his children, Julius Jacob Ritting and Violet Raye Ritting. Associate memberships do not ordinarily lie over, but in this case, the entire family’s membership will be acted on at our next Monthly Meeting.

 

  • The application for associate membership for Forest Trent Breeze, Scott Breeze’s 24 year old son was approved. Friends encouraged the Committee to send materials on Quaker history and practices to Forest as well as to offer further personal interaction as way opens.

 

  • To clarify the minutes, it was noted that associate membership for Alex Avaneseyan was approved on 12 Eleventh Month 2001 and for Anna Avaneseyan on 13 Tenth Month 2002.

 

Marriage and Family Relations Committee:

 

Jim Bell on behalf of the Marriage and Family Relations Committee presented a request for approval of marriage under the care of the Meeting between attenders Danielle Green and Petra’Rahim Soloman. The matter will lie over for one month as is our custom.

 

Property Committee Annual Report:

 

Brian Lutenegger, co-clerk of the Committee, presented the written report, which is attached. He noted several highlights, including the installation of solar electric panels on the Meeting House roof, new HVAC equipment, and taking care of the benches in the main Meeting Room. He also reported on the work the Committee has undertaken in conjunction with the major renovation project. Donations have been made to local organizations dealing with the effects of alcoholism; the donations are paid for by a surcharge the Meeting adds when renters wish to serve alcohol at their events. Gray Handley and David Etheridge have donated art that reflect Quaker interests in diversity; Jim Bell has built and donated a table. Thanks were expressed to our Administrative Secretary, Debby Churchman, to our Property Manager, Ken Orvis, and to Neil Froemming, our volunteer coordinating the renovation and other projects.

 

A Friend reminded the Committee that the work of the Property Committee has a profound effect on the spiritual experience and the enjoyment of being part of the community. He urged the Committee to give projects that support members’ experience and enjoyment a high priority. A process for asking for help would assist in meeting this concern.

 

Friends accepted the report.

 

Committee of Clerks Minutes:

 

The minutes of the Committee of Clerks held 29 Fourth Month 2018 were presented. A copy is attached. The minutes were accepted with the removal of the name of a particular Friend and other amendments to remove any implications of hostility or abhorrence. The Clerk apologized for the inclusion of the Friend’s name; an attempt to retrieve paper copies of the complete document will be undertaken. A meeting with the Friend is being arranged.

 

Other Business:

 

Peace and Social Concerns Committee:

 

Elaine Wilson, Clerk of the Committee, presented an update on the work of the Committee. She noted the form available on the website for providing information from persons and groups seeking to use Meeting facilities to assist the Committee in making its decisions. She spoke of the program, in association with Catholic Charities and with discounts from Home Depot, to provide equipment to graduates of classes to train released prisoners to work on solar installation projects. The Meeting is working on climate change issues. Friends accepted the report.

 

Sanctuary Task Force:

 

Rebecca Harris presented four sample letters that the Task Force has prepared to be available for use on short notice to be sent to government officials in order to react to immigration enforcement actions. Copies of the proposed letters are attached. The Task Force hopes that the Meeting will approve the text of these letters, allowing them to be sent on behalf of the Meeting without further action by a future Meeting for Business.

 

Some Friends expressed discomfort with approving generic letters and suggested that individual actions be taken in each case by an appropriate Meeting for Worship with Concern for Business. Other Friends supported the approach suggested by the Task Force. Rebecca Harris noted the need for quick action in many cases; the letters would be changed only to the extent that particular events were referenced in the first paragraph. Three of the letters refer to specific policies (raids, Temporary Protected Status, and DACA); these policy-driven letters as a template are different from the fourth letter proposed by the Task Force, which makes reference to a specific community leader or asylum seeker.

 

Friends agreed to approve three of the letters to be sent on behalf of Friends Meeting of Washington. The letter referring to a community leader or asylum seeker will be held over for decision and will not be used at this time. Friends agreed to revisit the issue in six months.

 

Friends acknowledged the challenge that fast breaking events place on our traditional Quaker practices. Email, social media, and 24-hour news cycles place a strain on our more contemplative manner of conveying our witness to the rest of society. This is an issue that increasingly challenges many aspects of our Quaker process.

 

Close of Meeting:

 

The Clerk announced that the Meeting for Worship with Concern for Business that would ordinarily be held on the second First Day of June will be moved to the third First Day (June 17, 2018) to permit a large Quaker presence in the Capital Pride events.

 

The Minutes were read and approved.

 

The Meeting closed with a period of silent worship at 2:30 pm with 25 Friends and attenders present.

 

 

Donations to Friends Meeting of Washington

 

Fiscal Year

Through 10 Months

Final

 

 

 

2013

$165,050

$196,479

2014

172,276

196,077

2015

163,716

189,497

2016

150,755

177,921

2017

161,548

182,804

2018

155,673

????

 

FY19 Budget and Balance Sheet, see attached.

 

FMW Property Committee

Annual Report, 2018

May 13, 2018

 

 

This past year, our committee has:

 

  • Installed solar panels on the Meeting House roof
  • Installed new HVAC systems serving more than half the Meeting House
  • Reorganized the furnace room to accommodate new mechanical systems with greater efficiency
  • Replaced handrails on Meeting House stairwell and made other minor improvements recommended for those with mobility issues
  • Began archiving plans, photographs, records and other documents relevant to the physical plant
  • Began cleaning and protecting the benches in the Meeting Room
  • Continued to perform or arrange for periodic inspections to maintain the safety and integrity of our structures.

 

Much of our work has been focused on planning and preparation for the renovations. We have:

 

  • Removed some trees from the back garden and worked to protect those that will remain
  • Worked with the architects and engineers on the design of the expanded Assembly Room
  • Worked with the architects and engineers on design of the new entry/security system
  • Continued to communicate with our long-term space users to help them understand how they may be impacted by the renovations and assist them through the construction period
  • We plan to review our rental rates and probably renegotiate arrangements with long-term successors post-renovation.

 

We have also identified some possible projects not included in the renovation plans or costs which we hope to complete in conjunction with those renovations, including:

 

  • Replace flooring in the first-floor hallway of the Meeting House
  • Replace the aging plumbing main supply lines on the first floor of the Meeting House
  • Refinish and repaint walls in the Quaker House Living Room
  • Refinish the floor in QHLR
  • Upgrade lighting and acoustics in the Meeting Room
  • Purchase additional equipment, such as a commercial refrigerator and ice maker, to support catering

 

We continue planning for additional furnishings as well as the increased maintenance that will be required to support anticipated increases in event rentals.

 

We are working closely with other Meeting committees including Religious Education, Ministry & Worship, Library, Child Safety, Hospitality, etc. to address their needs during and post-construction. We have met with representatives from the Sanctuary Task Force for a wide-ranging discussion of issues that will need to be addressed should the Meeting decide to house one or more persons seeking sanctuary at FMW. We are working with the Personnel Committee as they plan changes in the Meeting staffing, particularly with respect to the Property Manager, Administrative Secretary and Rental Manager positions. We have worked with the Personnel Committee to define and communicate expectations of the meeting community with respect to their attendance at private events taking place on our property. We are working closely with Finance & Stewardship to plan and ensure responsible use of the Meeting’s physical resources. We also work to establish and maintain healthy relationships with our neighbors through construction. Our donations to My Sister’s Place and the House of Ruth not only fulfill our commitment to the Meeting regarding the use of a portion of the alcohol surcharge related to some event rentals but also help to support those organizations’ efforts to serve local women and families who may be victims of alcohol abuse.

 

We are paying close attention to increasing diversity as is reflected in the frequent use of our spaces by people of all ages, races and income levels. We expect to continue outreach to these groups even as we work to expand into the wedding market. We are beginning to make our spaces more welcoming through the display of art from multiple cultures. Look for photographs of notable Friends of color (thank you to David Etheridge), as well as pieces of African, Asian and Haitian art (donated by Gray and Rose Mary Handley) which will be added as the renovated spaces come online.

 

Much of this work would have been impossible without the patience, support and able assistance of FMW Friends. Debby Churchman continues her able management of event rentals; despite the uncertainty of the construction start date, year-to-date income from event rentals exceeds that from the same period last year. Ken Orvis provides invaluable guidance both as Property Manager and Owner’s Representative. We are grateful for Neil Froemming’s work as Owner’s Representative, his continuing oversight of the event rental software he designed, and his extensive input into arrangements for the solar panel installation. As previously noted, David Etheridge and Gray Handley have enriched our spaces through their generous donations of art. We are grateful for the new catering table Jim Bell made and donated for use in the refurbished Decatur Place Room. We have benefited from advice received from all the committees notes above, and we welcome your continued input as we continue the renovation adventure.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Ken Orvis (Property Manager), Brian Lutenegger (co-Clerk), Merry Pearlstein (co-Clerk), Jay Harris, Justin Kwong, Alex Mathews, David Miller, Matt Higgins

 

Friends Meeting of Washington

Committee of Clerks Meeting Minutes

Sunday April 29, 2018

 

Clerk: Gene Throwe

 

Attenders:

Betsy Bramon, Faith Williams, Grant Thompson, Dan Dozer, Ken Orvis, Greg Robb, Merry Pearlstein, Todd Harvey, Bill Strein, Neil Froemming, Brian Lutenegger, Gray Handley, Susan Griffin, Emily Schmeidler, Jim Steen, Kate Steeger, Erin Murphy

 

The meeting opened at 9:15 am with a moment of silence.

 

Personnel Committee:

Due to Debby Churchman retiring in October, a new administrative secretary and events manager will be hired. New job descriptions are being created. Once the positions are advertised, a search committee will be created for each position to sort through and interview candidates. Any feedback is welcomed by the Personnel Committee.

 

Some Friends had questions or comments. One Friend was concerned that the job description was too prescriptive and read like a federal government job. Another was concerned if there was a disagreement between the administrative secretary and the events manager, how will the tension be deescalated? Another Friend emphasized the importance of communications skills for the position. Whoever is chosen should act as an agent of the Meeting and its committees and not be an independent policy driver. Some Friends were concerned whether the new administrative secretary should be half time, ¾ time or less than half time. The committee is still working on that detail.

 

Bequest from Tom Crews for social justice purposes

This item will be delayed until next Committee of Clerks meeting on July 29.

 

Committee reorganization task force

The task force to reorganize the Meeting’s committees brought forward five recommendations to stimulate wider participation from attenders and Friends in the work of the meeting.

The five recommendations are:

  1. Have quarterly meetings between committees like Ministry and Worship and Healing and Reconciliation that are involved in similar work.
  2. Records and Handbook Committee should work with committees to determine the realistic number of members each committee needs and change them in the handbook.
  3. Allow members and attenders to commit to 1- or 2-year terms rather than 3-year terms on committees.
  4. Create an ex officio position on the Nominating Committee for the convener of the Young Adult Friends (YAFs) group to encourage more YAFs to join committees.
  5. Create a digital format for Friends to easily volunteer occasionally when needs arise.

 

The Clerks welcomed the proposals and there was widespread agreement on the steps outlined.

 

Discussion of a Friend’s behavior at Joe Johnson’s Memorial

The Clerks had a lengthy discussion of a Friend’s behavior at the reception after the memorial worship for Joe Johnson. Discussion followed related to the Friend having to take responsibility for causing the disturbance and having to face consequences. The Friend’s long history at the meeting was recounted. One Friend spoke of the need for kindness and a new recognition of the meeting of what we need to do for those with mental diversity. But many other members favored stricter boundaries for the Friend. Some said our Meeting’s focus was too much on the troubled Friend and not those that she has hurt.

 

The Committee of Clerks labored over this issue for the next three hours. The outcomes of the discussion are:

  1. The Friend in question is forbidden to interact with children without the expressed permission of the parents or guardians.
  2. She is welcomed on property on Sundays but must attend a smaller meeting and is to leave after the social hour after Meeting for Worship.
  3. She may attend other events on property only if she has a fellow Friend as support for her. If her behavior becomes disruptive, she must leave quietly and quickly when asked to leave.
  4. The Meeting office and equipment are for use by staff only. She is only allowed to use these resources if staff agree to let her.

 

Failure to leave when asked will result in staff, Friendly Office Presences (FOPs), or any clerk of committees or the Meeting to contact the authorities to have her removed from the property.

 

One FOP said she did not feel safe around this Friend and there was lengthy discussion about this. It was stressed the FOP should call the police or mental health experts for help. Members said they would come to meeting to assist the FOP or give their phone numbers so the FOP would not be alone.

 

The following are action items to be completed by May 5, 2018:

  • Notify The Friend’s court-appointed guardian (Rachelle Raphael) & any pertinent family
    • Try to arrange for an in-person meeting with them and the Friend if possible.  
    • Emilie Schmeidler volunteered
  • Draft FMW Message to the Friend
    • You have violated policies that protect you and our community
      • Child Safety
      • Harassment
      • Staff policies re: disruption
  • You can only come to meetings for worship on Sundays and must not be disruptive while in meetings for worship.
  • For other events, you a) must be explicitly invited, b) must have a minder/escort
  • If you become disruptive and your minder asks you to leave, you must leave quietly.
  • If you violate these rules and refuse to leave immediately and quietly, FMW will contact outside officials to manage any confrontations, including police and/or psychiatric unit.
  • Betsy Bramon, Kate Steeger, and Neil Froemming volunteered
  • Action Guidelines: Write out step by step actions for FOPs and Staff, Clerks (&other FMW leadership)
    • Build off of current version of FOP guidelines
  • Establish two lines of action for when the Friend comes to meeting
    • Official contacts (police, psychiatric unit, others?)
    • FMW contacts/phone tree (internal list of people to support the FOP by phone and be a resource).
  • Brian Lutenegger, Gray Handley, Ken Orvis, and Emilie Schmeidler volunteered
  • Write out responsibilities for minders
    • FMW finds the minders ahead of time when we can plan it
    • Leaders of the meeting need to be prepared to step in ad hoc generally
    • Bill Strein and Susan Griffin volunteered

 

The following are action items to be completed by May 13, 2018:

  • Establish overarching values for our community and for action
    • This is an opportunity for FMW to change OUR behavior as a community. This is something we can control (as opposed to things we cannot control, i.e. our Friend’s reactions/behavior).
    • We are rearranging our community culture to deepen our spiritual commitment to equality and to prevent these incidents from occurring in the future
    • FMW respect & compassion for people with mental illness
    • Connect with Religious Education & Child Safety Policy leaders to incorporate their policy and lessons learned into this new policy
    • Volunteers are needed for this item
  • FOPs and Staff write out patterns for this Friend’s patterns for being at FMW
  • Relationship building with Officials, understanding existing programs and providers for care with city, etc.
  • Psychiatric unit
    • Understand their role and programs
    • Understand why and when to call their unit-- what they can do/not do
  • Relationship building with Police
    • Emergency and non-emergency actions for potentially violent policy
    • Safety of religious spaces- perhaps they have programs or units already
  • Kate Steeger, Dan Dozier, Betsy Bramon, Gene Throwe, and Erin Murphy volunteered

 

The meeting ended with silent worship at 12:30 pm.

 

 

 

Short Report from Peace and Social Concerns Committee

  1. Due to an increased number of requests for sponsorship of events by P and SC we have created a form for folks making such requests to fill out that will help us in the process of determining whether or no we can be helpful.  The form is on the website and can be found by going to the P and SC page.  Filling it out and emailing it to Elaine is the process.  We don’t like to make these decisions via email so folks should allow 6-8 weeks lead time for this process, which will allow us to meet and consider your request.

 

  1. We have begun sponsoring the “Work Ready Project” which is the brain child of Scott Breeze.  Partnering with Catholic Charities and their program to train and support returning citizens to work in the Solar Construction trades, we are purchasing a safety kit for each graduate of the training program consisting of a hard hat, a safety vest, and a pair of safety goggles.  The kits are being purchased at a discount from Home Depot who are donating part of the cost of the gear.  The first batch of  #? Kits were given to graduates a month ago.  Each kit contained a letter to the graduates from us.  We have pledged $500 of our budget this year to this effort.  We are very pleased to be sponsoring this effort and imagine that we will be trying to do some fundraising for this project in the future.

 

  1. The Climate Forum organized by Barbara Briggs on April 29 was a successful gathering with an attendance of 30 people not including the three panelists. A robust discussion was had and enthusiasm for supporting the DC bill for a carbon tax and rebate was palpable.

 

 

Letters from Sanctuary Taskforce

 

DATE

Dear Mr./Ms. Government Policy Person:

With regards to the termination and replacement of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which [you have some authority over or can impact in a specific way]:

Quakers believe that there is that of God in everyone, regardless of where they were born. This fundamental religious principle that all human beings have the same worth governs our response to immigration policy, as we seek a legislative solution that safeguards the rights and dignities of people from other countries who live alongside us.

As part of our broader commitment to compassionate immigration policy, Friends Meeting of Washington unequivocally supports a permanent path to legal citizenship for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that does not include enforcement provisions that could harm their loved ones.

This legislation could affect 2.1 million young people who came to the U.S. as children and have no pathway to legal citizenship, including the 800,000 DACA recipients who are suddenly threatened with deportation should a replacement to the program not be implemented. DACA recipients entered the U.S. at a young age in a decision made by others. Many DACA recipients cannot recall a life outside of the United States. They may not speak the language of the country to which they supposedly belong by birth. Deporting them could place them in danger from the very threats that their families attempted to escape by coming to the U.S.: gang violence, war, food scarcity.  

Many of the proposed legislative solutions are being tied to increased border security provisions, internal enforcement, detention center funding, and e-verify programs that would use young DACA recipients as a bargaining chip to persecute other immigrants. This would directly harm the young people these acts claim to be saving. The millions of American families with mixed immigration status will be affected: 5.7 million children born U.S. citizens have at least one undocumented family member.  

These are our neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family members - the majority of U.S. citizens (over 60%) have at least one undocumented person in their lives. However, to Quakers, the fact that they are human is enough; we call on Congress to pass a clean DREAM act.

 

Signed,


 

Friends Meeting of Washington

 

 

DATE

Dear Mr./Ms. Government Policy Person:

With regards to the really huge wave of raids that took place last week, which [you have some authority over or can impact in a specific way]:

Friends Meeting of Washington opposes all mass enforcement operations targeting undocumented members of our communities, as they are incompatible with our belief that the divine Light in every person merits consideration and respect. Regardless of the circumstances, to permanently uproot someone from their home and community is deeply cruel. Raids also carry impact far beyond the lives of those arrested, detained, and deported; their destructive effects ripple throughout entire communities.

By placing a concern for numbers and categories over a concern for individual circumstances and stories, raids further violate the principle that each human life has unique value. This undue focus on numbers and categories is most apparent in ICE’s practice of making “collateral” arrests: if an agent looking for a specific person determines that a coworker or family member is also undocumented, they may also be detained and added to the total count of “aliens” arrested during the operation. We believe that it is wrong to detain anyone solely on the basis of their immigration status or to make arrests for the sake of increasing a statistic.

ICE has previously stated its intention to concentrate raids and enforcement actions in sanctuary cities like Washington, DC, in order to undermine the welcoming policies that we have chosen for our communities. ICE is thus using those arrested and their families as props, exposing them to immeasurable harm in order to make a political statement. Called to treat all our neighbors with utmost care and respect, we find this trivialization of human lives to be fundamentally unacceptable.

As a congregation, we therefore condemn this wave of raids and call on our government to put an immediate end to all mass immigration enforcement operations.

 

Signed,

 

Friends Meeting of Washington (Quakers)

 

 

 

DATE

Dear Mr./Ms. Government Policy Person:

With regards to the detention of [name of activist], which [you have some authority over or can impact in a specific way]:

We are writing today to express our support for [name of activist], to condemn her/his detention and proposed deportation, and to advocate for her/his immediate release.

We believe that [name of activist] should be treated as a community leader, an asylum-seeker [if applicable], and a human being, not as a criminal. As Quakers, we feel called to support conscience-driven calls for love and justice and to protect community members from harm; we stand firmly opposed to government actions, like the detention of [name of activist], that do the exact opposite. To threaten [name of activist] with deportation [on the basis of previous convictions, when he/she has already served the mandated prison time and shown her/himself willing to cooperate with check-in requirements,] OR [solely on the basis of her/his immigration status] is to deny the Light inside her/him—or, in non-Quaker terms, to treat a complex, beautiful spirit as one-dimensional and fundamentally criminal. This approach violates our fundamental values as a community and our broader vision for the world.

We are also strongly opposed to any law enforcement action designed to prevent a person or group from speaking out in line with their conscience. Quakers have always supported free speech, based on the belief that speech and action rooted in a person’s deepest conscience must always be honored and protected. [Name of activist] has spent the past few years speaking out on issues close to his/her heart, risking her own safety to do so, and we condemn the decision to target her/him in order to silence her/his clear, brave voice.

To reiterate: we ask that [name of activist] be released from detention immediately and allowed to return to her/his community without the threat of future deportation.

 

Signed,

 

Friends Meeting of Washington (Quakers)

 

 

DATE

Dear Mr./Ms. Government Policy Person:

 

          With regards to the termination of the TPS designation for Honduras, which [you have some authority over or can impact in a specific way]:

As part of our broader commitment to compassionate immigration policy, Friends Meeting of Washington unequivocally supports the extension of all current Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations and opposes all proposals that would strip current TPS beneficiaries of their legal status. Offering a measure of basic human decency to people from countries wracked by natural disasters and extreme violence, TPS aligns US immigration policy more closely with Quaker values of welcome, protection from harm, and recognition of our shared humanity.

The consequences of terminating the TPS designation for any country are immediate and severe. When people of any nationality lose access to this status, they are faced with an intractable set of crises and questions: what dangers will they face if they return to their country of origin? Will they be separated from their loved ones in the United States? How will they support their families without the income they’ve been able to earn here? If they can’t go back, and they can’t stay, what options are left to them? We believe that it is unjustifiably cruel to force anyone to choose between a life in the shadows in the United States and a life of extreme hardship in their country of origin. To present members of our communities with this impossible choice is to deny their contributions and potential, their basic dignity, and their fundamental right to exist.

Further, we will not stand for policies that prioritize the projection of a “tough on immigration” stance over our government’s charge to serve and protect the people of this country. Whenever this administration terminates the TPS designation for a country that has seen no material change in its condition, this gives us reason to believe that its decisions are driven by political expediency and not the evolving needs of US citizens and residents. We do not support xenophobic, anti-immigrant rhetoric under any circumstances, but find it particularly abhorrent when accompanied by policies that harm our communities and put our neighbors at risk.

Friends Meeting of Washington therefore calls on our government to protect TPS and all other policies critical to the protection and support of US residents who cannot safely return to their countries of origin.

 

Signed,

 

Friends Meeting of Washington (Quakers)