American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization that includes people of  various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace, and humanitarian service. Our work is based on the principles of the Religious Society of Friends, the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.

AFSC was founded in 1917 during World War I to give young conscientious objectors ways to serve without joining the military or taking lives.  They drove ambulances, ministered to the wounded, and stayed on in Europe after the armistice to rebuild war-ravaged communities.

From our experience, we know that peacemaking requires more than merely advocating against one war or another.  Real peace is more than the absence of war.  Rather, we need to change the culture, situations, and systems that lead to violence.

AFSC knows that miracles can happen when we build the capacity for peace person-by-person, community-by-community.  When people understand the terrible consequences of violence and witness realistic alternatives, they come together as a powerful force to address the underlying causes and lay the foundation for lasting peace.

Our Portland office opened in 1947 as a clothing distribution center for people in need.  Over the years AFSC Portland has campaigned to end US intervention in Central America, empowered public school parents to advocate for their children, organized for LGBT rights, spearheaded economic development in the Latino community, and built bridges between Latino and Asia-Pacific youth among many other projects.

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