Tag Archives: justice

Holding Tension – Making a Place at the Table for Continuing Revelation

This year’s Stephen G. Cary Memorial Lecture at Pendle Hill will be delivered by Swarthmore’s own Prof. Sarah Willie-LeBreton!

Stephen G. Cary Memorial Lecture 2018
“Holding Tension – Making a Place at the Table for Continuing Revelation”

by Sarah Willie-LeBreton

April 2, 2018

7:30pm-9:00pm in the Barn at Pendle Hill.

Sarah Willie-LeBretonIn this talk, I assume that genuine social relationship is necessary for justice, and I argue that its absence leads to what most people might characterize as evil. As much as we hunger for mutuality and connection, for many of us, the daily temptation of our lives is to distinguish ourselves as worthy, aware, and insightful. When we are disconnected from genuine community, very quickly those whom we dislike or with whom we disagree become unworthy, unaware, and even evil in our hearts and minds. The temptation is powerful and understanding its role in our lives can help us to seek out our biggest fears, lead us away from gossip and resentment, and offer us continual experiences where mutuality, humor, kindness, humility and the joy of serendipity are revealed.
Sarah Willie-LeBreton

Sarah Willie-LeBreton teaches at Swarthmore College, where she chairs the Department of Sociology & Anthropology and regularly coordinates the Black Studies Program. A graduate of Haverford College, she serves on its Corporation and Board of Managers and has served on the Pendle Hill Board. Sarah edited and contributed to the volume, Transforming the Academy (2016), and authored Acting Black (2003). Her scholarly interests are in social inequality and complementarity. A convinced Friend, she is a member of Providence Monthly Meeting, Chester Quarter, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

 Free and open to the public (registration requested).
 Call Pendle Hill for More Information! 610-566-4507, ext. 137

Live streaming will be available to registrants.

The Stephen G. Cary Memorial Lecture was endowed by Norval and Ann Reece and established in 2004 in concert with Pendle Hill’s publication of Steve Cary’s memoir, The Intrepid Quaker: One Man’s Quest for Peace.

Travel directions to Pendle Hill. Click to view the flyer.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Fixing the Jericho Road

By Lee Smithey

I hope everyone finds an opportunity to reflect and take some sort of action (or preparation for action) in pursuit of justice and peace on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

While the nation focuses on service, I am usually drawn on this day to Dr. King’s speech, “Beyond Vietnam.” Public schools are closed today, and I sit in my office at home listening to the speech with my daughter (11 yrs old). I am amazed and touched that we can listen to this together knowing that Alison had the opportunity to meet Dr. Vincent Harding (who wrote the speech for King) at Pendle Hill shortly before his death in 2014.

This speech at Riverside Church was one of King’s most important and controversial speeches because he spoke against the War in Vietnam, drawing the ire of nationalists and even allies, who felt King should remain focused on domestic racial injustices. This was the address during which King decried “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism.”

It is with such activity that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” [applause] Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see than an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.  

Let’s also remember that this year is the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination, exactly one year to the day after he delivered the Beyond Vietnam speech. (Stay tuned for announcements about commemorative events at the College this spring.) I hope to get a few minutes today to make a bit more progress through Michael K. Honey’s book, Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign. On the night before he was killed, as he delivered another momentous speech about the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, King was again talking about both service (using the parable of the Good Samaritan and emphasizing fixing the dangerous Jericho Road itself.

What a humbling challenge. It is a privilege to share this day with you, and I look forward to the coming semester as we renew our work together.


Jill Stauffer’s Ethical Loneliness: The Injustice of Not Being Heard

From our friends at Haverford and including our own Prof. Krista Thomason

Upcoming GPPC / Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium event:

Author Meets Critics:

Jill Stauffer’s Ethical Loneliness: The Injustice of Not Being Heard

Saturday, February 25, 2017,1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Philipps Wing, Magill Library, Haverford College
Jill Stauffer's Ethical Loneliness cover


  • Macalester Bell (Bryn Mawr)
  • Robert Bernasconi (Penn State)
  • Yannik Thiem (Villanova)
  • Krista Thomason (Swarthmore)1:00:  Welcome, cookies, coffee and tea.
    1:15:  Krista Thomason, Swarthmore College
    1:45:  Yannik Thiem, Villanova University
    2:15:  short break
    2:30:  Macalester Bell (Bryn Mawr College)
    3:00:  Robert Bernasconi (Penn State University)
    3:30:  Jill Stauffer (Haverford College)
    4:00:  Q&A
    4:30:  Wine and cheese reception
    5:30:  End

    Event sponsored jointly by the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium and Haverford College’s Peace, Justice and Human Rights Program.

Peace in the Balance: The Struggle for Truth and Justice in El Salvador

A presentation by SHARE El Salvador, Tutela Legal María Julia Hernandez, and the Pro-Historical Memory Commission

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 4:30 p.m.

Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall

Swarthmore College (map)


Twenty-two years after the Peace Accords and U.N. Truth Commission Report, Salvadorans struggle to build true peace in a society steeped in violence and impunity. While victims of human rights violations have worked tirelessly for truth, justice, and reparations, accompanied by the Pro-Historical Memory Commission, the struggle has been uphill all the way.

The last six months have brought an ongoing series of chilling and exciting surprises for the Salvadoran human rights movement. In September, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court admitted a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 1993 Amnesty Law, which could open the door to justice for human rights violations committed during the Salvadoran civil war. Just two weeks later, the Archbishop of San Salvador suddenly closed Tutela Legal, the Archdiocese´s human rights legal aid office.

Join Latin American Studies for presentations by Wilfredo Medrano, a lawyer with Tutela Legal for over 20 years who accompanied the victims of the El Mozote massacre and many other cases of human rights violations; and Bethany Loberg, a native of Salem, Oregon, has lived and worked in El Salvador for over four years and currently accompanies SHARE’s human rights work.

Sponsored by Latin American Studies.



Collection with Robert George ’77 and Cornel West

Collection with Robert George ’77 and Cornel West

Monday, February 10, 2014

4:30-6:00 p.m.

Friends Meeting House

From the campus calendar:  http://bit.ly/LDUwIz

Amid the difficult campus conversations at Swarthmore in Spring 2013, many students, alumni, faculty, and staff grew concerned about the ways in which community members were (and, in many ways, weren’t) engaging each other. Alumni and friends of the College expressed support, and a few offered to help in whatever ways they could. Princeton professor Robert George, Swarthmore Class of 1977, and fellow Princeton professor Cornel West talked about how they were teaching together and working with students to develop the skills of talking fruitfully across political, ideological, and other differences. Conversation ensued about the possibility of their discussing their experiences with our students, faculty, and staff. Professors George and West agreed to visit campus and help us think about what it means for intellectuals to learn from each other despite deep differences on important questions.

Robert_George_77_webDr. George is a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University and “this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker,” according to The New York Times. His books include Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality, In Defense of Natural Law, and, most recently, Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism. He is Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and previously served on the President’s Council on Bioethics and as a presidential appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He has been awarded the United States Presidential Citizens Medal, the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland, and many honorary degrees. He is an accomplished bluegrass banjo player and finger style guitarist.

Cornel WestDr. West is a professor emeritus of African American studies at Princeton and is honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. His books include The Ethical Dimensions of Marxist Thought, Race Matters, and Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism. He has taught at Harvard and Yale, as well as Princeton, and is currently a professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He has appeared as “Councillor West” in two Matrix films and has done hip hop, soul, and spoken word recordings. He holds more than twenty honorary degrees and has received special recognition from the World Cultural Council. He is co-host with Tavis Smiley, of the radio show Smiley and West, and is co-founder of the Network of Spiritual Progressives. His autobiography is entitled Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud.

Together, Professors George and West have co-taught seminars at Princeton and have built a close friendship. Recently, when Professor George was sworn in at the Supreme Court as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom, Professor West accompanied him to hold the bible-a bible that had been owned by the great abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Professor West quipped that this was the first time he had been to the Supreme Court to do something other than be arrested in a protest! Despite their serious political differences, the two scholars and activists share a passion for pursuing truth, living with integrity, and engaging in honest, thoughtful self-critical dialogue.

The Institute for the Liberal Arts is pleased to welcome these two distinguished guests to campus to continue to help us think about who we are as a college and to help us talk fruitfully despite our differences of opinion. We hope to learn from them how better to learn from each other. They will visit campus twice, once to meet with smaller groups of students and faculty and a second time to participate in a community-wide Collection open to all students, faculty, and staff. Their visits to campus will help stimulate discussion on these and other important questions:

  • Why are we here at a liberal arts college?
  • What does it mean to be committed collectively to justice when we have different conceptions of justice?
  • What is our role in a changing world?
  • What should a Swarthmore education be? Job training? Education for citizenship? To be a learned person?
  • What does it mean to communicate across differences regarding what is “right” or “wrong”? How do we talk about ethics and morality without resorting to calling others stupid or evil?
  • How can we remain true to our own deep convictions while maintaining respect for, and civility toward, those who have reached sharply different conclusions?
  • Can reasonable, well-intentioned people disagree fundamentally on ethical or moral issues?
  • How do we maintain an intellectual milieu that welcomes dissent and is free from orthodoxies of opinion that stifle discussion and encourage conformity of thought?

Contact Information:

Name: Pam Shropshire

Phone: 610-690-3560

Email: institute@swarthmore.edu

David Kairys to deliver Constitution Day Lecture on Supreme Court speech law

Peace and Conflict Studies is pleased to be a co-sponsor of this year’s Constitution Day Lecture featuring Prof. David Kairys (Temple University)

Kairys is a leading constitutional scholar and civil rights lawyer. He is widely known for his creative and regularly successful strategies and legal theories on civil rights and liberties, police abuse, criminal defense, and government and corporate misconduct. His latest book is Philadelphia Freedom, Memoir of a Civil Rights Lawyer


Fighting Billionaires and Corrupt Officials

From our friends at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility:

Come learn how to defeat corporations with your barehands!

Next Monday, April 15, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., Daniel Hunter, a training elder with Training for Change (the group that leads the Organizing Skills Institute), will join us in the Keith Room @ the Lang Center to discuss his new book “Strategy & Soul: A Campaigner’s Tale of Fighting Billionaires, Corrupt Officials and Philadelphia Casinos.”

Please RSVP for the event here: https://www.facebook.com/TheLangCenter/events. Pizza will be provided; please indicate your pizza preference when you RSVP.


FYI – From Amazon.com: “When Daniel Hunter and Jethro Heiko began planning at a kitchen table, they knew that their movement would be outspent by hundreds of millions of dollars. They were up against powerful elected officials, private investigators, hired thugs, and the state supreme court. Even before they started, newspapers concluded the movement had no chance. This riveting David versus Goliath story is a rare first-person narrative, giving unparalled access to the behind-the-scenes of campaigns: the fervent worrying in late-night meetings, yelling matches behind church benches, and last-minute action planning outside judges? chambers. It?s in the heat of these moments that the nuances of strategy come to life, showing what it takes to overpower billionaires for a cause you believe in. Written by an experienced and unusually self-reflective direct action organizer, this book might be the most enjoyable way you?ve ever empowered yourself to change the world.”

Quaker Rhetoric and the Birth of American Antislavery, 1657-1761

We would like to share this exciting announcement from our friends in the Department of Religion and the Friends Historical Library. Visit the Quakers and Slavery exhibit online in Triptych.

From Peace to Freedom

Quaker Rhetoric and the Birth of American Antislavery, 1657-1761

Lecture by Brycchan Carey

Wednesday, March 6, 7:00 pm, Friends Meeting House, Swarthmore College

In his book “From Peace to Freedom,” Carey shows how the Quakers turned against slavery in the first half of the eighteenth century and became the first organization to take a stand against the slave trade. Through meticulous examination of the earliest writings of the Friends, including journals and letters, Carey reveals the society’s gradual transition from expressing doubt about slavery to adamant opposition.

Brycchan Carey is Reader in English literature, Kingston University, London.

Sponsored by The Department of Religion and Friends Historical Library

Maps and directions 

Download a flyer.


The picture and transcription below are posted with the permission of the Friends Historical Library from the Tri-college online archive of documents and photos, Triptych. John Woolman published the second part of his book, Considerations on keeping Negroes, in 1762. The first part was printed in 1754.

Press and Woolmans book
From the Overseers of the Press Concerning Jn. Woolmans Negro Book

To the Quarterly and Monthly Meetings of Friends belonging to the Yearly Meeting which is held for Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Our Friend John Woolman having wrote some Considerations on keeping Negroes Part the second, the same hath been inspected by the Friends appointed to oversee the Press, and are now printed containing fifty two Pages, and are to be sold by David Hall at the New Printing Office near the Jersey Market in Philadelphia at [sevenpence] per Piece. A considerable Number of them are lodged with our Friend James Pemberton, and with our Friend William Wilson at his Store in Market Street, opposite to the London Coffee House between Front and Water Streets, and if such Friends who are inclined to purchase would at the Close of a Monthly Meeting when Time permits give in their Names to some one of their Members the Books are ready to be delivered to the Purchasers by our said Friends at [4/9]. per Dozen that being no more than the Cost of publishing & binding them. Signed in Behalf of the Overseers of the Press aforesaid By Jams. Pemberton. Philad. 28. 3 mo 1762.

Shane Claiborne on Seeking Justice and Living Peace

Seeking Justice and Living Peace: Shane Claiborne on Solidarity and the Spirit

February 4, 7-8:30 pm, Science Center 101

Shane ClaiborneShane Claiborne is a star in the world of Christian peace activism. He is the author of several books including The Irresistible Revolution, Jesus for President, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers and with Tony Campolo, Red Letter Revolution: What If Jesus Really Meant What He Said?

Shane helped found “The Simple Way”, an intentional community of Christians living with and working with the poor in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. http://www.thesimpleway.org

Sponsored by the Religion Department, Interfaith Center, Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, Peace and Conflict Studies, Swarthmore Progressive Christians.