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Race and Quakerism

The first time I was confronted with my identity as a “Brown Woman” was my first trip to North Pacific Yearly Meeting (NPYM). I had never experienced such a direct external approach to my skin color before. My family celebrated my adoption day as a family holiday. We went back to India to see my heritage history, and I was raised with some Indian cultural education, but my racial background wasn’t ever the first characteristic that came to mind when examining my personal identity. The welcome I received because of my brown skin from the Quakers was both amazingly compassionate and entirely unsettling. At that time, I had only just begun to explore this part of my identity. As an extension of this experience, I began to pay more attention to race relations within the Quaker community, and the struggles of different races around the U.S.

On Expansion (May 2018)

Quakers and Conflict

In your Quaker meeting, you may have experienced events similar to these: a Friend doesn’t want to be on a committee with another Friend due to a past conflict; two Friends complain about a third party, whom they find to be impossible (yes, it does happen); a Friend speaks up in business meeting about a conflict that is going on, and no one responds or takes any follow-up action.

On Mediation (January 2020)

Truth and Truth and Truth

I straddle two worlds. My scientific family and studies have given me a close-up view of the scientific endeavor. Its work, driven by curiosity and belief in logical methods, and conducted with an obedience to truthfulness, have inspired me to incorporate science ideas and images into my art since 1967. My other world is that of a practicing Quaker. Through my engagement with Quaker service work and through a stunning experience of the Inner Light that I had half a lifetime ago, I am moving toward an amplified view of how to be in the world.

On Knowing (March 2015)

Laugh and Laugh and Laugh

I kneel down in front of Anna and stroke her hand. Then I say to her, “Mi amor. ¿Puedo recibir una sonrisa? ¿Por favor?”

On Pride (July 2014)

Quakers and Gun Violence

In the United States, gun violence is not a mere veneer on the surface of an otherwise peaceful society, but something deep and dark, with roots in the colonization of the continent and the founding of the nation, in ethnic cleansing, enslavement and the seizure of land from Mexico. White settlers, armed to the teeth, faced the constant prospect of insurrection by Native peoples and enslaved populations, as well as violence on contested borders.

On Weapons (January 2019)

Of Quakers and Corporations

George Fox and the early Quakers made their witnesses to authentic and original Christianity public by their testimonies. The English word, testimony, derives from the Latin word for “witness,” which is primarily an outward expression “to the whole world … actions and words, intended to proclaim, demonstrate and convince” (from The Quaker Peace Testimony, Friends House, London, 1993).

On Superiority (July 2013)

Of Quakers and Cowboys

The image of the cowboy was created in Western movies and novels as a hard living, hard drinking gambler who is quick with a gun and lonely for women.  Quakers are also viewed in popular culture through erroneous stereotypes, and are believed to be extinct, except for their image on the Quaker Oats box. 

On Deception (November 2013)