Nov. 27 - Ferguson, Immigration and More...

NH State House Watch, the American Friends Service Committee

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As we head into Thanksgiving, we want to express our thanks for the blessing of your support and companionship in our shared work for social and economic justice in New Hampshire and in the world.

Recent days have provided an ample supply of hopeful and disturbing developments.   We want to share AFSC perspectives on Monday’s grand jury decision in Ferguson, President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration, and the recent election.  We also want you to know about a series of “community conversations” we are co-sponsoring with NH Citizens Alliance and next steps for our “Governing Under the Influence” project.  

Please read on.


In the wake of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, AFSC remains committed to addressing the issues of militarization of police, police accountability and systemic racism revealed by the killing and its aftermath.  Those who pay the cost of these policies are disproportionately young people of color – and with alarming frequency that cost is death at the hands of police. Ominously, local police increasingly rely on militarized tactics and weapons not only to arrest but to contain people exercising their right to assemble and peacefully protest such tragedies as the Mike Brown killing.

While our focus is on New Hampshire, we want you to know that AFSC is supporting youth in St. Louis and Ferguson who are using peaceful means to work for fundamental change in systems that perpetuate racism and inequality. Click here for more information.


With regard to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, AFSC welcomes the actions which provide temporary protection from the threat of arrest and deportation for several million immigrants.  We are glad to see the end of the badly named “Secure Communities” program, which enlisted local police as immigration enforcement officers, but we have serious concerns about its replacements, something called the "Priority Enforcement Program."  We are also dismayed that the President’s action does not provide relief for millions of others and keeps an emphasis on detention, deportation, and border militarization – thus ensuring more violations of civil and human rights.

We continue to lift up our “New Path to Humane Immigration Policies” as a guide for reform. Click here for more information about AFSC’s work for immigrant rights throughout the U.S.

State House Watching

The outcome of the election and the choice of William O’Brien as Republican leader in the NH House of Representatives give us strong signals of what to expect at the State House in the year ahead.  Our honest assessment is that prospects are dim for forward motion on issues like raising the minimum wage and repealing the death penalty.  Thankfully, the most extreme proposals, such as bills to severely weaken rights of workers to organize unions and bargain collectively, are likely to get vetoed by Governor Maggie Hassan.  But Medicaid expansion, approved last year only after delays and compromises, is at risk of reversal.  And debate over the state budget, which will need to be approved by the end of June, will be contentious and leave many essential services and jobs at risk of cutbacks.

As we head toward the new year, AFSC is planning to resume publication of the State House Watch newsletter, our free, weekly publication intended to keep you up-to-date on legislative matters. To subscribe, go to our website, look for the STATE HOUSE WATCH subscribe box on the right side, and give us your email address.  We are also talking to allies about reviving the Faithful Voices for a Humane Budget.  Please contact us if you are interested in joining a prayerful presence inside the State House halls to support social and economic justice.   

AFSC Presidential Campaign Project

AFSC’s Governing Under the Influence project, aimed to focus national attention on excessive corporate influence over public Dan Weeks and Addy Simwerayi at Democracy in Action conferencepolicy in the run-up to the 2016 NH Primary, is off to a great start.  We officially launched the project at our annual dinner on September 27 (click here to watch or re-watch John Nichols’ excellent speech), brought Eric Zulaski and Olivia Zink onto our team October 1, and co-sponsored the Democracy in Action conference on November 15.  We’ve already trained more than 100 people to be “bird dogs” for democracy and peace.  Together with our colleagues in Iowa, we’ve already had productive encounters with likely presidential candidates from both parties.  If you haven’t already done so, please sign up to join this project and let us know how you want to be involved.

Community Conversations

In addition, we invite you to join us for a “Community Conversation” about building a New Hampshire that works for everyone.   Initiated by NH Citizens Alliance, these community gatherings during the first half of December are free and open to all.  Individuals, families, business owners, elected officials are all encouraged to attend.  Other partners include Every Child Matters, NH Public Health Association, Granite State Progress, and the Granite State Organizing Project.

Please choose below the Community Conversation that works best with your schedule and location. Feel free to attend more than one! These gatherings will last from 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Light refreshments will be provided. Upon choosing a venue, you will receive an email with the details, including the exact address.

  • Manchester YWCA,  Monday 12/1/14  5:00 pm
  • Plymouth Pease Public Library,  Friday 12/5/14  3:00 pm
  • Laconia Public Library, Monday 12/8/14  5:30 pm
  • Concord, NH Citizens Alliance Conference Room, Tuesday 12/9/14  5:30 pm
  • Keene Public Library, Wednesday 12/10/14  6:00 pm
  • Rochester Public Library, Thursday 12/11/14  5:30 pm
  • Nashua - Location TBD  Monday 12/15/14  5:30 pm
  • Franklin Public Library, Tuesday 12/16/14  5:30 pm
  • UNH/Durham  TBD

Click here to sign up for the Community Conversations.

Thanks for your support for AFSC!

With best wishes,

Arnie Alpert and Maggie Fogarty, Co-Directors

PS - You can make a secure donation to the AFSC NH Program from our website.  Just click here and look for the green "Donate Now" button.

American Friends Service Committee 
4 Park Street
Concord, NH 03301

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