Quaker » Friends and Social Activism

Friends and Social Activism

Since emerging in mid-17th century England, Quakers have been known for living their lives “in  witness” to their core belief in the presence of the Divine within each person. Out of this central tenet have flowed many streams of social activism that reflect Friends’ deep respect for all of  humanity.  Friends are widely known for their commitment to peace, including conscientious objection to military service or paying taxes that support war efforts, promoting nonviolent protest and conflict resolution, and addressing the underlying causes of war. In 1947  the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to two Quaker organizations – the American Friends Service Committee being one – in recognition of three centuries’ worth of opposition to war, and in particular the relief work carried out by Quakers after World War II.  Throughout their history Friends have also advocated for prison reform and the abolition of  slavery, and were deeply engaged in the struggles for women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement. Most recently, Friends have been turning their attention to issues of economic and  environmental justice, in the words of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, seeking  “a world free of war and the threat of war,...a society with equity and justice for all,...a  community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled,...and an earth restored.”   

At Friends School of  Wilmington, social activism takes many forms. Faculty, staff, students, and families are encouraged to share their passions and follow their leadings for making the world a better place. The goal to empower students is a cornerstone of FSW’s educational philosophy, and doing so through the context of advocacy and activism is a powerful way for students to learn that it is never too early to stand up for what you know is right.  Most importantly, FSW is committed to instilling in young people the conviction that as they go forward in their lives, they are equipped to be the change that they wish to see in the world.