History

 

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Fellowship of Reconciliation USA (FORusa) was predicated on a dream of living in a just world with social equality for all.
As the oldest and largest peace organization, with more than 125 local affiliates throughout the USA, we have been a part of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation’s (IFOR) global peace network since 1915. We address crisis-level civil and human rights issues through nonviolent activism, advocacy, education, and the empowering of individuals and local communities at the grassroots level. With a history spanning over 100 years and thousands of peace-seeking causes supported, FORusa’s success and longevity has been, in large part, due to our ability to adapt, by taking our core principles and applying it to the context of the times. We have long been a welcomed safe space for those who are marginalized and underrepresented to be able to connect with people who care and encourage them to tell their stories and help them have their voices heard.
Although FORusa has had a history of activism for global struggles, in such places as the Middle East and the Caribbean, in recent years, as the need has grown, we have shifted our main focus to the USA and the root causes of violence at home.

History

A Timeline of our Work

1916-1917

  • Help organize the National Civil Liberties Bureau (now the ACLU).
  • Support World War I conscientious objectors (CO) and contribute to legal recognition of CO rights.

1920

1930s

  • Work to strengthen labor movement in its drive to secure better working conditions.
  • Sponsor Ambassadors of Reconciliation to visit world leaders.

1940s

  • Nonviolent resistance movement to World War II.
  • Lead struggle against internment of Japanese Americans.
  • European FOR members rescue Jews and other political refugees fleeing Nazism.
  • Sponsor interracial team on first “freedom ride” to test court decision outlawing discrimination in interstate travel.
  • Organize extensive campaign to prevent the Pentagon from extending wartime conscription into universal military training.

1950s

  • Help organize the American Committee on Africa (now part of Africa Action) to support movements for African independence.
  • Conduct six-year “Food for China” program in response to Chinese famines.
  • FOR staff work with Martin Luther King, Jr. during Montgomery bus boycott, and hold workshops in nonviolence throughout the South.
  • Produce full-color comic book, Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story – sales topping 250,000+ copies.

1960s

  • Launches Shelters for the Shelterless, building real shelters for homeless people, in response to increasing public demand for fallout shelters.
  • Outreach to Vietnamese Buddhist pacifist movement and sponsor world tour by Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.
  • Form International Committee of Conscience on Vietnam with 10,000 clergy in 40 countries.
  • Raises money for medical aid for both sides in Vietnam.

1970s

  • Establish Dai Dong, a transnational project linking war, environmental problems, poverty and other social issues, involving thousands of scientists around the world.
  • Seek to reverse Cold War and arms race with campaigns, marches, educational projects and civil disobedience.
  • Oppose death penalty in concerted campaign with ACLU.

1980s

  • Take lead in initiating Nuclear Freeze Campaign in cooperation with other groups.
  • Initiate U.S.-U.S.S.R. reconciliation program, including people-to-people exchanges, artistic and educational resources, teach-ins and conferences.
  • Lead nonviolence training seminars in the Philippines prior to nonviolent overthrow of Marcos dictatorship.

 

1990s

  • Take lead in initiating Nuclear Freeze Campaign in cooperation with other groups.
  • Initiate U.S.-U.S.S.R. reconciliation program, including people-to-people exchanges, artistic and educational resources, teach-ins and conferences.
  • Lead nonviolence training seminars in the Philippines prior to nonviolent overthrow of Marcos dictatorship.

 

2000s

  • Organize a People’s Campaign for Peace and Justice to inspire nonviolent witness in Washington, DC and nationwide.
  • Accept invitation from the Colombian Peace Community of San José de Apartadó to provide protective human rights accompaniment in a rural war zone in northwestern Colombia.
  • Launch the “I Will Not Kill” campaign for young people to make a life commitment to resist participating in violence.
  • Pressure U.S. military to end testing of bombs in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and be accountable for its environmental devastation.
  • Send peace delegation to Iran committed to civilian diplomacy, building relationships between the West and Iran, and seek to prevent military intervention.

 

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