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FCNL's Yasmine Taeb Speaks at May Day Rally in Solidarity with Immigrants, Refugees, and Workers

Declaring that we must all stand up and reject policies based on discrimination and hate, FCNL Lobbyist for Human Rights and Civil Liberties Yasmine Taeb spoke at a rally in solidarity with immigrants, refugees, and workers on May 1st.

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Why We Need Second Chances

In a new book, Yale Law professor James Forman, calls us to redefine our core values by asking, “What if we strove for compassion, for mercy, for forgiveness? And what if we did this for everybody, including people who have harmed others?”

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Monuments and Presidents and Congress

How do you make a national monument in southeastern Utah? If you are the president, you can issue a proclamation. Under the Antiquities Act of 1906, the president can declare federal lands (or marine areas) as national monuments to protect them from destruction by commercial use or development.

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Effects of Health Care Repeal in Indian Country

Congress was unable to pass the budget bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The President has said that he wants to “move on” to tax reform and budget issues, but the House is preparing to try again, with a modified version of the defeated proposal.

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Following the Money

Congress is still trying to adopt a spending plan that was due on September 30, 2016.

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Quaker Students’ Reading List for President Trump

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 09:00


Many of the students who participated in this year’s project responded to the following prompt idea in their letters: “Recommend a book that you think the president should read and explain why.” Once all of the recommendations were compiled into one list, we couldn’t help but see the result as a sort of suggested reading assignment for the president from these younger constituents-in-training—much like the summer reading lists students often receive from their teachers before school lets out. With summer around the corner, we’re pleased to share this reading list featuring 24 books recommended by Quaker-affiliated students in the United States. Happy reading, Mr. President!

Free? Stories about Human Rights edited by Amnesty International (2010)
  • “Every story represents a human right from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As president of the United States, one of your jobs is to protect the rights of others. Even though we have these human rights, many people around the world are still denied some of these rights. Some others take human rights for granted. I hope you consider reading Free? and thinking about how human rights matter to everyone.” —Nora Krantz, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
  • “This book is important in these times when plenty of people aren’t being treated fairly. These facts and stories are very important to know as president, and they will help you to understand people’s problems all around the world.” —Catie Allen, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
  • “The stories really stuck with me; some were sad, but they each had a meaningful lesson. No matter your race, nationality, religion, or age, you should read this book. We all have to learn how to be accepting, and how to appreciate differences and similarities.” —Sydney Mann, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
  • “I would suggest that you read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In it, a black man is put on trial for a crime he never committed, and is found guilty, simply for the color of his skin. In the end, he ends up dead, when he was always completely innocent in the first place. The book takes place in the late 1930s, and we tend to think that we’ve moved past these times, that nothing like that could ever happen now. There is still injustice in this world. While the characters in the book are fictional, the subject is very, very real. . . .” —SVP honoree Gillian Murray, Grade 7, Leaves of Learning, member of Oxford (Ohio) Meeting. Read her full letter to President Trump.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Adichie (2014)
  • “This book is a personal favorite of mine, entitled We Should All Be Feminists. The book was written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an amazingly smart writer and feminist. I think you could learn several things from her writings that would prove helpful in the White House. First, feminism is as a matter of principle. You will learn that respecting women is the right thing to do. As not just the president but a grown man, you must consider how your actions and words affect others. By calling women fat and talking about their bodies, you are shaming them, which is mean spirited and very inappropriate. This behavior is childish and far from acceptable. . . .” —SVP honoree Acadia Pesner, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School. Read her full letter to President Trump.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (2013)
  • “You should read this book because it lets you in on the life of a Muslim woman; it will help you see the daily struggles Muslim women face, and help you better understand the Muslim minority as well as women’s rights in the Middle East. I feel very strongly about women’s rights because I was born into a financially stable and educated family. I go to one of the best schools in the country and I feel that every girl should have the same opportunities and education as I do. Many girls don’t have that and have to spend their day at home working and doing chores because that is what their society expects of them. So many girls have so much potential and are so smart but never get the chance to pursue their dreams. As a twelve-year-old in a world where there is much happening around me, a fresh, new view on the situation offers an interesting perspective. I think I and others like me are the new generation and should have some sort of say or input on the current situation so that when it is our turn we know what we are heading into. Thank you for considering my view, and I do hope you find the time to read this letter and book I am suggesting.” —Evelyn Labson, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell (2013)
  • “This book is about people being treated unfairly. It would help the whole world if we all read it. We read this book in my class earlier this year, and it meant something to me. It puts you in someone else’s shoes. Everybody should be treated equally. March is about people trying to stand up so they can be treated equally.” —Henry Walsh, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
  • “I think you should read this book because it is all about African American rights and it might change your perspective for the better about black people. March is mainly based in the past, but it applies to a lot of current day events. In 1972 all the people who believed in desegregation marched for black people’s rights. On the 21st of January, 2017, women marched for their rights just like all the believers in 1972. Legal rights are very important because we all are the same on the inside and we all need the law to see that, even if the rest of us already do. I believe in women’s rights, I also believe in African American rights. I think you will believe in African American rights and women’s rights too after you read March.” —Mia Palk, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
This Book Is Gay by James Dawson (2015)
  • “It is a book about accepting and welcoming LGBTQ+ members and supporters, no matter what. Not to offend you, President Trump, but I think that you especially need education in this area. As a country, we need to be united and accepting no matter what. Sticking together is the best way that we can survive.” —Macy Black, Grade 9, Westtown School
A Work in Progress by Connor Franta (2015)
  • “This book is about finding yourself and accepting who you are. It talks about a 16-year-old boy’s journey through his life with friends, family, and his sexuality. I think it would be eye opening for you to read and understand a gay male’s life growing up and finding out who he is.” —Katherine Komins, Grade 9, Westtown School
The Bible
  • “I recommend that you read the Bible because it is full of many scriptures that constantly say to love thy neighbor and respect one another. Given the things you said in your campaign, you clearly need some insight on love and respect. You should also do some research on William Penn, who was a Quaker who focused on love and equality; these might help to inspire you during your presidency.” —Genevieve Green, Grade 10, William Penn Charter School
Politics for Dummies by Ann DeLaney (2002)
  • “I would recommend Politics for Dummies. President Trump needs to actually know something about politics.” —Jackson Shumard, Grade 8, Frankford Friends School
Stronger Together by Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (2016)
  • “This book was written by Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine so I would suggest to read this so you can understand Hillary Clinton’s perspective better, and see if you could apply some of her ideas to the United States.” —Noah Bay, Grade 6, Westtown School
Wonder by R.J. Palacio (2012)
  • “You should read this book because it lets you feel the emotion of someone else. In the book, you see the main character (August) getting bullied which shows you how it feels to be degraded in such ways which I believe would help you explore how others feel.” —Ava Johnson, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
  • “I think it’s a good book, and you should read it because it makes people feel empathetic, see things from everyone’s point of view, and learn to treat people like they want to be treated. It also teaches us how to be a good friend and stand up for others. These are good qualities for a president to have for many reasons. If you read this book, it might help you be a better president.” —Solveig Daniels, Grade 6, Westtown School
The Boys of Dunbar by Alejandro Danois (2016)
  • “This book takes place in the same place that the Freddie Gray incident happened in a black neighborhood in Baltimore, Md. You should read this book because having sustainable communities across the United States is important. All the police shootings and riots happen because the police cannot handle that specific unsustainable community.” —Jackson Keyser, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008)
  • “I think you should read this book because it could possibly relate to events that could happen in the future in America. People in America can retaliate against you. They’ll retaliate because they don’t agree with your actions and they don’t like what you are doing to our country. This is similar to how citizens of Panem retaliated against President Snow’s actions in book 3, Mockingjay. In America, people are protesting against you because they believe that you have unfair policies and that your actions will harm America. People also believe that you will start conflicts with other countries who were once our friends.” —Mackenzie Tyson, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)
  • “I have come to realize through reading this book that we need a strong leader and that we need a fire that will keep us under control. In Lord of the Flies deciding whether to let the fire burn or die out was the biggest conflict, just like the choice of a Democrat or Republican as the president has our nation split in half. I believe that a good community starts with a strong leader. I believe that you are currently the best person for this job, but I still need you to convince me that you can unify our country as a whole. I attend a Quaker school in Pennsylvania and I know that having a sense of a strong community is very powerful. Not feeling safe around people in my own community is unacceptable to me. Please read Lord of the Flies and learn from the protagonist, a boy named Jack who is a tremendous leader. I hope that you can grow from reading this book.” —Benjamin Grear, Grade 9, Westtown School
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (2010)
  • “Melody has cerebral palsy. Everyone at her school thinks she is not smart, but in reality she is exceptionally smart. People in the disabled community are just as smart as anyone else. After reading this book maybe you would enact policies to help the disabled community to fight injustices and inequality.” —Isabel Madauss, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
  • “You have mocked a disabled reporter. This book is related because the main character has disabilities. She has cerebral palsy and can’t talk, but is extremely smart. This book shows you not to judge people by the way they look. Melody may look different or act different from the other kids, but she can’t control that. You have to take the time to get to know a person.” —Baani Singh, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
  • “Stereotypes and categorizing people is something we all do even without meaning to, but your words can be offensive and mean to other people. You should never judge someone by their appearance because people are not always what you think they are.” —Nate Weinstock, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins (1994)
  • “You should read this book to widen your perspective about refugees and learn about what it’s like to move to a new country. This book is based on a true story which occurred during World War II. Moving to a new environment can involve changing your daily routine, but being forced to abandon your home and then fleeing the country to a safer, sustainable, and healthier life is very different. In the book a family is trying to leave a war zone and reunite after. Before reading this book I had not been educated about the journey of leaving a war zone. The Washington Post says that most refugees are ordinary people who unfortunately happen to live in unsafe environments or are in need of a job, healthcare, etc. Any country could face these common issues. My great-grandfather fled Ivory Coast by foot, through the forest to Ghana. He did this after facing death threats in his hometown. Years after, he returned to Ivory Coast as a husband and father of ten. Sticking together as a family, friends, nation, city, state, or world will improve our society and stop most of our issues.” —Ayorkor Laryea, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
Only the Names Remain by Alex W. Bealer (1996)
  • “It’s a nonfiction book about historical Cherokees and the Trail of Tears. I learned so many things that I didn’t realize happened leading up to and during the Trail of Tears.  I think you should read this book because you can see what previous presidents have done that caused a disaster. Andrew Jackson let his own greed and others’ greed get in the way of fair and right decisions and honoring treaties. Read it so you don’t repeat it.” —Meredith Jenkins, Grade 6, HomescLive Oak Meeting attender
The Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Inner Peace by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2002)
  • “After reading the foreword, go to page 129 and think about what he has to say about short-term politics. I hope you will understand what he has to say. The entire book can be thought-provoking.” —Patrick O’Rourke, Grade 6, Westtown School
A Foreign Policy of Freedom by Ron Paul (2007)
  • “I recommend you read a book written by Dr. Ron Paul who ran for president most recently in 2012. In his book he talks about blowback and how having our military involved in foreign conflicts results in terrorism against Americans here and overseas.” —Zoe Malavolta, Grade 6, Westtown School
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (2011)
  • “I think you should read this book because it’s about a boy who lives in a small town, and he isn’t the richest boy either. He is a boy who doesn’t go to school but does help his neighbor in weird ways. I’m recommending this because poverty is a real problem in the world right now and I know you can help stop it.” —Zavion Allen, Grade 6, Westtown School
The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork (2016)
  • “It’s a story about a girl who attempts suicide and ends up in the hospital for a therapy session. There she meets people who have tried similar acts to hers. But, throughout the novel, we also learn that her rich father has made some rather unwise decisions. I think this would be a great book for you to read to let you know what it’s like to not have some of the compatible privileges that you may have grown up with.” —Grace Lavin, Grade 9, Friends Academy
White Fang by Jack London (1906)
  • “This is a thrilling book about loyalty, courage, and survival. White Fang, out of all the terribly bad treatments he had received, didn’t know what kindness was. Everyone should be born knowing kindness. They should know how it feels and how soothing it is.” —Kenji Ishi, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
The Blind Side by Michael Lewis (2007)
  • “You should read this book because even though he was homeless, people accepted his differences and treated him kindly. One thing I learned in school is to be fair and good to all people. All people should be treated fairly because no one deserves to be mistreated.” —Eliza Lee, Grade 6, Westtown School
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (1936)
  • “I think you should read this book because it is about respecting people’s differences. This book also shows an important lesson: stay true to yourself and don’t let people change you. Lastly, this book shows that people should be treated equally no matter how they look or sound.” —Grace Rhile, Grade 6, Westtown School

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Quaker Summers: May Full Issue Access

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 06:00
Members can download the full PDF or read any article online (see links below). Student Voices: The fourth annual Student Voices Project asked students to write a letter to the next president of the United States suggesting what they think he should focus on during his first year. We’re publishing 27 personal letters addressed to President Donald Trump from middle and high school students. None of the student letter writers are old enough to vote🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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Among Friends: A Piece of the Answer

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 05:10

By the time you’re reading this issue, the White House (attn: President Donald Trump) should have received the stack of complimentary copies we sent him, along with a cover letter prompting him to look inside for the 27 personal letters addressed to him from middle and high school students. The 16-page feature and accompanying online content is the result of our fourth annual Student Voices Project, which invites students at Friends schools and Quaker students in other educational venues to submit their writing to the pages of Friends Journal.

When we announced the project’s theme last October, the U.S. presidential election had been a leading story in the news and within many Quaker circles for well over a year. Both of the top candidates represented historic firsts, challenging traditional convention in politics: a former First Lady with over 30 years of political experience and a billionaire reality TV star businessman with hundreds of ventures in a variety of markets. Whatever the outcome on November 8, it was sure to get people talking, marching, blogging, and engaging in cross-party dialogue.

One week later, submissions for the project started pouring in, and the flow continued through the following three months, resulting in nearly 300 “Dear Mr. President” letters from young individuals representing dozens of schools, meetings, and communities around the world (the project saw its first international participation this year with submissions from Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica and Ramallah Friends School in Palestine). None of these student letter writers is old enough to vote, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention. SVP honoree Gillian Murray says it best: “We are young, but we have opened our eyes and see what’s going on in the world. We want to have our ideas heard.”

Being heard requires someone who is listening. I think Quaker youth programs build this kind of relationship very well. A recent QuakerSpeak video (see p. 55) highlights how members of New England Yearly Meeting work to support children’s spirituality. Among those interviewed, one answer stood out to me the most: they offer “a space where the adults trust that youth have a piece of the answer.” When we’re looking for answers, do our actions reflect this trust? How are we giving space and listening to our youth?

Also in this issue, we celebrate being Quaker in the summertime and all the exciting opportunities that come with it. From summer camps to summer gatherings, we have stories and experiences for Friends of all ages. Pete Dybdahl remembers the awkward yet love-filled moments between teenage counselors. Dyresha Harris shares outreach and inclusion tips from Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s camping program. Lastly, John Andrew Gallery is back with part two of his spiritual learnings from attending Quaker Spring in Ohio last summer. (And don’t miss this month’s online feature by tenth-grader Kyle Weinman whose lively piece about his favorite “Sweet Ol’ Camp Tune” will make you want to sing out loud.)

I grew up attending a summer camp program run by my quarterly meeting in Pennsylvania. It was at Quaker camp where I learned all the words to the George Fox song, where I first stood up during meeting for worship, and where I felt the most loved, seen, and accepted by those around me. It was where I could let my little light shine bright. Youth are always a piece of the answer. Let’s not forget that.

 

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Forum May 2017

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 05:05
Unexpected tutor As a freshman at Haverford College who was struggling in the academic year of 1963–64, the administration in its wisdom chose to assign me a kindly older gentleman for study help. He helped me get through my almost disastrous freshman year, although I ultimately took ten years to get through and receive my degree. As a headstrong 17-year-old not well versed in Quaker history, I did not realize the attention I was getting, for the person assisting me was Henry Joel Cadbury (“Henry Cadbury, AFSC, and Haverford College” by David Harrington Watt and James Krippner🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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Quakers, Restrooms, and the Learning Curve

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 05:00
A restroom sign at Friends Meeting of Washington (D.C.). Photo courtesy of Debby Churchman. Quakers tend to follow the leading to be in the world but not of it, although last summer gave us ample reason to not want to be in it much. Holy moly. Still, in our own small way, Friends Meeting of Washington (D.C.) is meeting the world as it is and working toward a better one. The summer of 2016🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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4th Annual Student Voices Project

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 04:55

This year we asked students to write a letter to the next president of the United States suggesting what they think he should focus on during his first year.

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For a religious group known for its silent worship, we’re a pretty outspoken bunch

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 04:50

Dear Mr. Trump,

Congratulations on being elected president. The teens of Friends Meeting of Washington welcome you to Washington, D.C.

We’re Quakers. For a religious group known for its silent worship, we’re a pretty outspoken bunch. We advocate, we organize, we vote, we speak the truth, and when necessary, we protest. We may worship in silence, but we live our values loudly. We want to share with you our hopes and fears for your presidency:

  • We’re fearful that you will widen the wealth gap, making decisions that favor the one percent and hurt everyone else.
  • We’re fearful that you’ll target certain ethnic and religious groups with unfair detainment and deportation.
  • We’re fearful that you’ll destabilize our relations with other countries.
  • We hope that you’ll keep the lives of citizens and immigrants in mind as you govern.
  • We hope that you’ll treat all socioeconomic classes equally.
  • We hope that you’ll work for the good of America and not just for your personal gain.

As you take on your new role as president, we will hold you in the Light and hope that, as president, you will recognize that of God in everyone.

Sincerely,

Greyson Acquaviva, Grade 11, The Howard Gardner School;

Anna Avanesyan, Grade 10, Sidwell Friends School;

Charlie Melchior-Fisher, Grade 9, School Without Walls;

and Preston Melchior-Fisher, Grade 9, School Without Walls

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I think it says something about our country that even the smallest of voices were recognized

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 04:45

Dear President of the United States,

Incredibly, this is not the first letter I have written to a president. In the first grade my entire class was given the task to write a letter to the President of the United States. I don’t remember what I wrote in that letter; all I remember is how amazed I was that we actually got a letter back! The fact that the person elected to the highest office would send a letter back to a bunch of first graders at a small Quaker school in Pennsylvania was astonishing to me. I think it says something about our country that even the smallest of voices were recognized. That is something I would like for you to address. I believe that every voice should be heard, but some are silenced by society. As the next president, you should help to give everyone, rich or poor, a chance to voice their opinions.

To tell you a little bit about myself, I am a first-generation American whose parents come from Venezuela. I know many people who felt deeply silenced and offended by many of the comments you made during your campaign. You cannot continue to silence minorities and women because that is not what this great country stands for. I am also a student who has attended a Quaker school for ten years and the most important value I have learned from this school is to see the Light in everyone. Basically, this means that you should try to see the best parts of all people, instead of just seeing their worst. Not every immigrant or Muslim is bad. The vast majority of them have the Light of God within them; you should strive to see that. I would hope that as president you would help others to see that of God in other people too. That is what a good president would look like to me.

Best of luck,

Daniela Uribe, Grade 9, Westtown School

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Every person deserves a chance and the right to have that chance

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 04:40

Dear Mr. Trump,

The America I envision is an America where all people are treated equally. It is an America where no matter how you look or how you identify, you will be accepted. It is an America that is respected and valued as a country. I am afraid that the America you want to create is not the country that the American people want. For centuries, people have fought for their rights, and now more than ever, we need a president that will provide rights and equality for every group. I am worried that all of the progress we have made will come plummeting back on us. But I believe that you can change this. From your campaign, many hate groups have popped up, and the country is scared for the future. If you and your staff change your views about groups of people like Muslims and women and the LGBTQ community, we can move closer to having a world where all people are treated equally and with respect. All of these groups make up an important part of America, and we need to fight for their rights, not ignore them and their needs. Every person deserves a chance and the right to have that chance. Entire groups should not be judged by the horrible actions of a few.

Sincerely, your fellow American,

Kyle Witter, Grade 6, Westtown School

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I urge you to look past your empire of business and riches, and ask yourself a question

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 04:35

Dear President Trump,

I attend a Quaker school where Quaker values and ideas such as simplicity, silence, integrity, and community are infused into our daily lives. These ideas were established by George Fox in the 1600s, and adopted and implemented by the founder of our state of Pennsylvania and Penn Charter itself, William Penn.

I would like to share with you two quotes that I find inspiring and empowering. The first was written by William Penn, and is currently our school motto: “Good instruction is better than riches.” This quote truly resonates with me as a student at a Quaker school and a daughter of two parents who deeply value education and an awareness of the outside world. Both my school and family strongly emphasize and reiterate the idea that a good education is far more useful and important than wealth. Therefore, Mr. President, I urge you to look past your empire of business and riches, and ask yourself this question: Has my existence and importance as a human being emanated and developed from money, or good education and bettering of the mind? If your answer is “good education,” I implore you to keep informing yourself by reading and surrounding yourself with professionals from their respective fields of study. From foreign policy to economics, immigration to universal education, there is always more to know—I believe you and this county could benefit from a better understanding of said issues. If your answer is, “Yes, my existence as a human being has developed from the importance of money,” I say: focus not on personal gain and profit, but on intellectual and emotional strength. Being informed and mentally strong, I believe, will truly allow our country to prosper and become “great again” (however, in my opinion, the country already is strong and “great”).

The second quote I would like to share with you was said and taught by George Fox: “that of God in everyone.” In other words, there is good in everyone, and no one is superior to another—no matter race, gender, faith, orientation, or status. Whether you are Islamic or Christian, black or white, we all have one characteristic in common—we are human beings. Thus all people are equal and should be given equal opportunity to express themselves.

These quotes are two examples of Quaker teachings that I ask you to process and consider when leading our country. All that said, I have a few pieces of final advice for you: Be kind. Build bridges, not walls. Rather than tearing others down, build others up. And remember, love always trumps hate.

Sincerely,

Brinlea La Barge, Grade 10, William Penn Charter School

(Editor’s note: The online version of this letter differs from the print version with the addition of text in the second paragraph, beginning with “If your answer is ‘good education,’ I implore you . . .” which was cut due to space constraints.)

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When kids go to college and become more educated, the unemployment rate decreases

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 04:30

Dear President,

An important issue that should be recognized is college education. Approximately 82 percent of Americans say they cannot afford the price of college tuition. This means every year a large amount of kids are not going to college based on something they cannot specifically control. It could only be imagined that many athletes depend on their sports for getting into college. In addition, unless a student has a 3.7 GPA or better, the chances of getting a substantial amount of academic scholarship money are slim to none. This leaves many people around the country at a disadvantage. When kids go to college and become more educated, the unemployment rate decreases. It can also make an impact on the amount of homeless or poor who are in their circumstances because they did not have the opportunity to go to college. Making tuition prices lower opens up the door for many young students aspiring to further their education and pursue a future career. This issue should be looked at as extremely significant because in reality the country is educating possible future leaders.

Leiya Stuart, Grade 9, Westtown School

The post When kids go to college and become more educated, the unemployment rate decreases appeared first on Friends Journal.

I hope you make the right decisions for our country, especially for the children like me

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 04:25

Dear Mr. Trump,

Since you are in power, I think you can help change some things that are adversely affecting my community and our connected future. I’m extremely worried about climate change. You’ve mentioned that you don’t believe in climate change and plan to promote fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels are not only bad for our environment, but our continued reliance on this is dangerous. Currently, for every dollar we spend on renewable energy, six dollars are spent on fossil fuel. In addition, the increased use of fracking plates in the earth filled with oil has very bad effects. Oklahoma has had up to three minor earthquakes a day because of this. Also, when an oil pipeline cracks, the companies that are making a profit selling this fuel don’t pay for the repairs! Instead they make the government pay which means that the money the government is using is coming out of our taxes which should not be used to fix oil pipes. The oil leaks also ruin the land and the water in the surrounding area, and the companies that cause the damage are often unwilling to pay for the cleanup. I found a quote by French politician Christine Lagarde that sums up what I am trying to say. She says, “We are subsidizing the very behavior that is destroying our planet.” I want you to take this point into consideration.

I know that you are concerned about increasing employment in the country. Renewable energy like solar power and wind power can be reused, and spreading this type of energy across the country could also be a good source of employment. If I were the president, I would retrain the people who have lost their jobs in the coal industry to work in the solar and wind power industry. This way you fix employment and can also help reduce climate change, two huge problems in America.

I admire how you congratulated Hillary Clinton, and now I am congratulating you. I hope you make the right decisions for our country, especially for the children like me.

Sincerely,

Rimil Ghosh, Grade 6, Greene Street Friends School

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I have found that acceptance is key and welcoming change is how people can be happy

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 04:20

Dear President Donald Trump,

I am a student in this country that you now represent and I want to tell you a few things. I am a Quaker student at a Friends school. I am an African American girl who was born in the San Francisco Bay area and raised in the city of Philadelphia. I have never lived outside of a city until I came to a boarding school in the suburbs this past September. As I have lived in several different communities, I have found that acceptance is key and welcoming change is how people can be happy. Teaching one another our different ways is how communities can improve each individual’s life. This may sound like hippy talk to you, and it might be, but true peace and compassion is what the world and our government should be striving for (as your job is essentially to create a better quality of living for all of your citizens).

Tangible problems in my community are scarce because I have always lived in predominately privileged communities, but one issue is the need for better education and the eradication of ignorance. I think there needs to be more work done in our own country, for and about our own people. I know you have some issues with ignorance, but in an age of information, that is a choice and can be solved. As a nation and a community, quite frankly, we have failed to support and uplift our people in ways that do not hurt another group on the backend. I ask you to be kind to all of our people and work with us all to make the world a realistically better place for everyone.

Sincerely,

Zora Carroll, Grade 9, Westtown School

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The world is constantly changing and progressing but without proper leadership, it will be very easy for our country to stumble

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 04:15

Dear Donald Trump,

When I found out you were president, to say the least, I was worried. After having countless conversations and doing extensive research, I am still confused about your priorities and whether you are making your executive decisions with the right intentions. I have many fears and concerns including women’s rights, climate change, equality, and more. The world is constantly changing and progressing but without proper leadership, it will be very easy for our country to stumble even further behind some of the leading nations, and that is my main concern. Currently, I feel we, as a whole, lie in the middle of most-accepting and least-accepting in regard to how women, the LGBTQ+ community, POC (people of color), and immigrants, especially Muslims, are treated in this country.

As a country, we have many concerns, and Muslims should not be our main concern. The Qur’an preaches love, acceptance, and much more with kind intentions. And I would like to remind you that this country was formed on immigration; I feel that you have forgotten that. Please reflect on this quote: “Our lives begin to change the day we become silent about the things that matter.” —Martin Luther King Jr.

Sincerely,

Jeanne Rauff, Grade 9, Friends Academy

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I also dressed as you for Halloween and got 7.2 pounds of candy!

Friends Journal - Mon, 2017-05-01 04:10

Dear President Trump,

I am interested in history, and I like to play sports. I am a comedian and do good impressions of people, including you, Vladimir Putin, Obama, and Hillary. I also dressed as you for Halloween and got 7.2 pounds of candy! I am a Boy Scout of Troop 177. I live in Philadelphia with my mother, and sadly my father passed away a few months ago after a battle with ALS (thanks for doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge). I did like The Apprentice (“You’re fired” is probably my new catchphrase). I have to congratulate you on your victory. I hope you are a good president, although I did favor Secretary Clinton’s side of the battle. I do think you will be able to lead us through many bad things.

First of all, you’re never going to build a wall. I’m sorry to say, but it’s not going to happen. Mexico isn’t exactly on your good side, and so they are NOT paying for a wall. If the United States were to pay for it, it would be nearly impossible due to your tax cuts. Immigration is a problem, but we need strong borders that are more man strong, not cinder-block strong.

In terms of law enforcement, stop-and-frisk is an incredibly biased system. How many African Americans are stopped and frisked? A lot. How many Latinos? A lot. How many white people? Next to none. Stop-and-frisk has no good place in our law enforcement.

Regarding reproductive rights, birth control/abortion is the woman’s choice, 100 percent of the time. A woman may not be ready to be a mother, and the baby may live a terrible life due to unprepared parents. It would be best to not go through that. Also you are a man; you cannot become pregnant, so why should you be against something that doesn’t affect you? As for healthcare, Obamacare is good. Pro: you get many benefits that different insurance companies can’t offer. Con: not the most affordable. I think we should keep Obamacare (you’ll probably have to change the name). It’s good, but it’s got some flaws. All we need to do is make it more affordable.

Most sincerely,

Gavin McNair, Grade 6, Greene Street Friends School

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