PJ&E Interest Groups

Interest Group Discussions on Issues related to Peace & Justice and Earthcare

Note: If you are an event organizer from one of our affiliated groups and want to get your event onto our calendar and/or you are seeking Zoom hosting for an event, please visit the LEYM Events Planning page to get started.


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Saturday, March 4, 2023

Data Brokers and Modern Surveillance: Dangers for Marginalized People

Our online practices leave trails of data that companies rely on to make a profit. After reviewing some of the many kinds of data being collected, we’ll turn to an exploration of some of the ways data is being used to the detriment of marginalized groups. For instance, mass incarceration and criminalization have gone high-tech with facial recognition, license plate readers, and electronic monitoring systems all becoming more common. Local and federal police as well as immigration control increasingly have access to vast commercial databases to track and trace people, often while circumventing individual civil rights. Based on these concerns, citizen groups in many cities are now pushing for laws governing the surveillance technology used by their local police departments. Join Friends at this workshop to learn more. Presenter: LEYM Digital Communications Facilitator Bill Warters
Here are the Slides for this Session (PDF).

Saturday February 11, 2023

UnFriendly Persuasion: Digital Dark Patterns Awareness

At their essence Dark Patterns are features of interface design crafted to trick users into doing things they didn’t mean to, ultimately benefiting the business or website owner in question by pushing their priorities over the users’ intent. This workshop seeks to raise awareness of some common design tricks and help Friends stay on course as they navigate the modern web.
Presenter: LEYM Digital Communications Facilitator Bill Warters
Here are the Slides for this Session (PDF).

Saturday January 14, 2023

Mis/Disinformation Awareness for Friends of the Truth

What happens when we increasingly rely on social media and the web for nearly all our information? What information do we see, and what do we miss? How do we know if a picture or a tweet is genuine or truthful? This session explores what misinformation and disinformation is, why it’s shared and how it spreads. Find out how we Friends take part through our many clicks, likes and shares.

Presenter: LEYM Digital Communications Facilitator Bill Warters
Get the Slides from this Session (PDF)

Saturday, June 11, 2022 2:00-3:30pm

What can we say together? 

Friends were invited to join us on Saturday, June 11th from 2-3:30pm in consideration of anti-racist work and minutes from across the Yearly Meeting – we read what has been recorded, seeking to pull out common threads, and identify patterns.  We’ll bring a summary of this work to the annual meeting, where we will further it with prayerful discernment – seeing what we might be led to collectively both in faith and practice. 

Saturday, April 9

Michigan’s First People’s Social and Environmental Justice Campaigns

A spokesperson from the Anishinaabek Caucus discussed their environmental campaigns, including opposition to the Enbridge Line 5 across the Mackinac Strait, other legislative campaigns for clean water, and the campaign to protect native species of plants (manoomin or wild rice).

Stacey Ettawageshik of Uniting Three Fires Against Violence presented the campaign to stop sexual assault against women in Indian Country, including by workmen in natural gas pipeline camps.

Small group discussions followed with time for a brief review of Quaker resources for supporting our Indigenous neighbors’ justice campaigns. 

Saturday, March 12

Food Security, Food Justice

The speakers provided an informational overview of the larger issues around food sovereignty, food security, food justice, etc., before discussing concrete strategies for advocacy and action, including community-based as well as broad-based movements seeking to ameliorate food insecurity and/or effect systemic change. Here are the slides used in the presentation.

Timothy White, Advocacy Manager, Mid-Ohio Food Collective
Ilana Warner, North Columbus Friends Meeting; Intern, Cleveland Food Bank
Hallie Carrine, Grassroots Gov’t Relations Specialist, Mid-Ohio Food Collective

Useful Links Shared During Session

Michigan Bill Search

Pennsylvania General Assembly

Food Bank Council of Michigan

Feeding Pennsylvania Network

Food and Nutrition Service USDA
https://www.fns.usda.gov/ – recipes and other suggestions for fresh food can be found here too

Pittsburgh Food Bank Recipes
https://pittsburghfoodbank.org/recipes/ – Pittsburgh food bank was also very much on the fore-front of recipe development with items typically found in food distribution!

Root Cause Coalition – Focus on Health Equity

Second Harvest Food Bank Instagram

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Michigan’s Anishinaabe People’s Environmental and Social Justice Campaigns

For February, the Interest Group session was offered as part of the Green Pastures Quarterly Meeting Winter Program. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the program as originally planned was adapted and shortened, but a rich sharing still occurred. Andrea Pierce of the Anishinaabek Caucus joined Friends for worship-sharing on our connections to First Nations peoples and concerns, and we reviewed resources for learning about and supporting our Indigenous neighbors’ justice campaigns.

Saturday, Jan 8, 2022

Learnings and Hopes for Anti-Racism Work

Our January LEYM Interest Group turned our attention to a Peace and Social Justice topic. LEYM peace and justice advocates exchanged information about our learnings and hopes for anti-racism work in 2022. We shared examples of activities done by various Monthly Meetings and did some exercises to explore microaggressions together and how people are working to notice and combat them.

Learning Resources Shared

Teenagers Discuss Microaggressions and Racism (video link)

Your Black Friend (animation – video link)

Interrupting Microaggressions Guide

MTV Decoded Video Series (Short, sometimes humorous, videos exploring topics related to bias and racism. Eight seasons now available online.)

Saturday, Dec 11, 2021

Coffee and Climate Chat – 2021 Earthcare Actions Among LEYM Friends

Wondering what other Quakers in Lake Erie Yearly Meeting have done to care for the environment in 2021? Hearing about the efforts of others can give you new ideas and encourage you and your meeting to keep doing this important work in 2022. The pandemic did not mean that the urgency of working to mitigate climate change and promote environmental justice was lessened, and we know we have work to do.

Friends brought a cup of coffee and joined an informal and informative chat. We shared stories of what Friends in our meeting or worship groups have been doing to care for the Earth in 2021.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Healthcare, Healing and Anti-Racist Standards – LEYM Peace and Justice Session
In this interactive presentation (see video recording below) we had the opportunity to understand how racism impacts the healthcare setting; how anti-racist standards prevent racism in the healthcare setting and beyond; and how we can employ anti-racist standards in our everyday lives to promote advocacy, activism, and healing.

Our Knowledgeable Presenters were;
Valencia P. Walker, MD, MPH (She/Hers/Ella)
Associate Chief Diversity & Health Equity Officer
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Associate Division Chief for Health Equity & Inclusion | Division of Neonatology
Vice Chair, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Department of Pediatrics | The Ohio State University College of Medicine

Rev. Carrie Finegan, M.Div., BCC, ACPE Certified Educator
Director Of Pastoral Care
Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Saturday, October 9 2021

The 3rd Battle for Lake Erie – LEYM Environment Session
This online LEYM Interest Group session (see video recording below) was presented on October 9th, 2021 by Mike Ferner, coordinator of Lake Erie Advocates. The Zoom presentation provided a close up look at the causes of pollution in western Lake Erie and some of the efforts underway to address it. Slides from the session are available here. Mike has been a Toledo activist for decades. He is a member of Veteran’s For Peace and has served on city council and run for mayor. Mike’s home is along the shore of Lake Erie and he sees the pollution every day. Learn more at the Lake Erie Advocates website – http://www.lakeerieadvocates.org

May 1, 2021 Session Topics

Session TopicsDiscussion LeadersMeeting
1) How to Make Your (Meeting) House Carbon Neutral
The presentation will provide an overview on the definition of carbon neutrality and how Friends Meeting houses can work towards and ultimately achieve carbon neutrality as part of our planetary stewardship.  The IPCC (United Nations) and many cities, businesses and NGOs have called for reaching carbon neutrality but in fact we ultimately need to start reducing CO2 in atmosphere (drawdown).  Meeting Houses produce greenhouse gases (GHG) by combustion of fossil fuel (Scope 1), by use of electricity largely made off site by burning fossil fuels (Scope 2) and by purchase of food, consumer goods and transportation for members to get to Meeting (Scope 3).  If we can replace Scope 1 and 2 emissions by use of renewable energy we will bring down our emission of CO2 by well over 50%.  John Williams (Ann Arbor Meeting) will describe how they have been working towards this goal over the last 5 years.  He will describe their efforts to conserve energy, purchase clean electricity, educate members, and establish an Environmental Improvement Fund to financially support the projects.  Dave Goeddeke (Detroit Meeting) will describe how they are planning to build a new Meeting House and to make it as low energy as possible and generate some energy from solar panels.  Others attending will be given the opportunity to present what they are considering or doing as a meeting or as individuals.  Much of what is discussed will also be relevant to individual houses.
John WilliamsAnn Arbor
2) Gerrymandering – Reforms passed in 2015 & 2018 by the people of Ohio
The program will look at gerrymandering, reforms passed in 2015 and 2018 by the people of Ohio, new rules for drawing districts in 2021 and grass root efforts for accountability and transparency of the Ohio Redistricting Commission/General Assembly.
Paul HelblingBroadmead
3) Sexism is so Yesterday – or is it? Becoming anti-sexist
What is the impact for you of internalized masculine images of God and male religious authority? How does this affect both male and female spirituality? What is the effect of patriarchal culture on Quaker practice? What does it mean to be anti-sexist?
Was the God you grew up with male? How might your faith and life be different if you grew up with a feminine face of God?  Is exploring this valuable for you today? What does it mean to you to be anti-sexist? Are men and women equally represented in all areas of our Meeting (e.g. committees, vocal ministry, care for children, etc.)? Please tell us your story.
Ann Sprague, Ruth Ann Wilhelm, and Joel OttenbreitDetroit

Topics from Feb 6, 2021 Sessions

Session TopicsDiscussion Leader(s)Meeting
1) Quaker Values in Business
How Quaker business owners integrate their faith into their work growing and maintaining business.
Susan LoucksPittsburgh MM
2) Bridging Divisions
The division in our country runs deep. How can we bridge the divide, and help move our country (and the world) towards peace?
Karen TibbalsRahway-Plainfield MM
3) Decolonizing & Angelic Troublemakers
Quakers seeking to learn and act upon the truth of Quaker history with Indigenous Peoples.
Handouts: Session Slides and Social Impact Assessment Principles guide
Beverly WardTampa MM & Deland WG
4) Abolition as a Quaker practice
In this breakout session we will talk about prison abolition, how it connects to the Quaker Peace Testimony, and how to work towards abolition in our Meetings and lives.
Megan Mueller Johnson & Megan WilsonAnn Arbor MM
Feb 6 Session Topics

Topics from December 2020 Session

December 5th Session TopicsDiscussion LeaderMeeting
1) Anti-racism
Red Cedar Friends Meeting is finding the act of minuting our collective intention to become an anti-racist faith community to be deeply helpful in stimulating our exploration of next steps, and nudging us into new discernment about what exactly that means to us all. Lee and Carolyn will discuss what steps were helpful in getting to this point, and what questions are being raised. Other meetings are invited to share their process and learnings as well.
Carolyn Lejuste and Lee SaylesRed Cedar
2) Prison Abolition, Defunding the Police and Related Issues
3) Letter Writing as a Witness
In September, Red Cedar undertook a “letter writing witness” patterned after Amnesty International’s letter-writing campaigns. In fulfillment of our minuted intention to “notice, mark, mourn and protest” acts of racial injustice when we see them, we are now supporting individual Friends to write letters in response to news reports of unarmed Black people being murdered by police across the country. Come hear what we’ve learned and consider whether/how others in LEYM might want to join us.
Joann NeurothRed Cedar
4) Climate Change and Social Inequality
(DEC 5 SESSION IS FULL) We will examine how low-income communities, people of color, indigenous people, people with disabilities, older or young people, and women can be more susceptible to risks posed by climate impacts. A discussion will also focus on the fact that victims of climate change have disproportionately low responsibility for causing the emissions responsible for climate change.
Joel OttenbreitDetroit
5) Open Youth Discussion
Youth will provide their individual perspectives on politics, the environment, and other issues of concern
Jonah & Ellerie BrownfainBirmingham
6) Foundations for Many Generations
Inspired by Isaiah 58:6-12 as we endeavor to be/come “repairers of the breach”, this circle invites listening to Spirit’s leadings, naming how our concerns are linked to one another, and bridging generations.
Mey HasbrookKalamazoo
Topics and Discussion Leaders for December 5th Interest Groups

Questions can be directed to Joel Ottenbreit at joelottenbreit at gmail.com

About the PJE Interest Group Project

Introduction to New Interest Groups Project

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