Social Concerns

The Religious Society of Friends (AKA Quakers) has a commitment to social justice, drawing on Friends’ conviction that there is that of God in every person. A common Quaker phrase is “Let your life speak” and Friends live their values by advancing radical equality and peace. Friends have been involved in the abolition of slavery, prison reform, the advancement of equal rights for women, fairness in immigration, LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance, and ending war. Friends’ commitment to simplicity—to resisting materialism and consumerism—finds expression today in work on behalf of sustainability.

Quaker meetings (congregations) in NYC have active committees dedicated to peace and social action, and Quakers are a frequent presence in marches for peace, climate justice, and equality. All are invited to join in the silent vigil for peace and non-violence held by Friends at 1:00 pm every first Sunday of the month at the arch in Washington Square Park. Volunteers are welcome at the nightly shelter at 15th Street or the monthly Community Dinner at Brooklyn.

Recent statements and actions made by New York City Quakers:

January 2024: On the Conflict in Israel and Gaza

New York Quarterly Meeting (representing the Quakers in NYC) agreed with and approved messages brought by three of our meetings.  Some excerpts:

As members of Brooklyn, NY Friends Meeting, and in keeping with our peace testimony, we are horrified by the killing on all sides in Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, and the larger Middle East. We support a lasting cease fire, instead of violence and revenge, as well as peaceful action by the United States and other world powers to bring about lasting peace, with justice and freedom, between Israelis and Palestinians.” — Brooklyn Meeting

Adhering to our three-hundred-year-old peace testimony, we resist the use of our tax dollars for killing, destruction, and violence. “We seek a world free of war and the threat of war.”” — 15th Street Meeting

As Friends, we are committed to our Peace Testimony, not only because, given that we are asked to honor the Inner Light within each person, we feel it is wrong to humiliate, hurt or kill, but also because acts of violence create a cycle of continuing and escalating violence” — Morningside Meeting

April 2023: Support of Transgender People

“As Friends we embrace that of God and the Light in every person and respond with dismay to the current wave of legislation that seeks to demonize trans people and deprive them of life-giving treatment and their basic human rights. We urge our representatives and politicians to support legislation protecting the rights, safety, and human dignity of trans people.”