November Tenant Newsletter; Flu vaccines, Continuing Sessions, A new executive director, and more!

Issue 54, November 2019

Friends Center Tenant Newsletter


Recently we had a tenant reception specifically scheduled at a time when students and faculty from the Tri-College Philly Program could attend. It was a rich and rewarding opportunity for all present to learn about all the organizations here at Friends Center and the good work they do. And not only did some of the students connect with some of the equity partners and tenant groups about  their work, some of the partners and tenants got to know each other, too!

                To that end, I encourage you to browse the directory of organizations here. We strive to keep the page updated with everyone’s current website, so if your information is out of date, please let me know.

                And if you don’t know what a group does, please click through page to learn more, and maybe even contact them directly. We always love to hear when you all find ways to collaborate with each other!

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director


Spread the word! Beginning January 1, 2020 Friends Center will be increasing its rental rates for event and conference room use.

Encourage your comrades to book their 2020 event, in 2019 to maximize savings!



Border Patrol denies delivery of flu vaccines to detained migrants

Three children have died in recent months at Border Patrol’s detention facilities because of influenza. Border Patrol officials have complained that they lack resources to provide adequate medical care, even to children. Meanwhile, this week Customs and Border Protection (CBP) purchased 33 million rounds of ammunition for its new handguns, and it has $300 million available for more bullets to purchase by 2025. Read more here


Fall Continuing Sessions  

Continuing Sessions reporting is broken into two reports. This web story on the activities of the morning, and the full minutes of Meeting for Business, taken by Recording Clerk, Kri Burkander, with accompanying reports, all in PDF format. 

Quaker Meeting Portrait Project

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting is encouraging its 100+ individual local Quaker meetings & other groups to take part in activities showing who they are: Take a selfie, write a poem, tell a story… whatever way they want to express themselves! Early group selfies include Green Street Meeting in Philadelphia, Appoquinimink Worship Group, and Southampton Meeting in Bucks County. See more Quaker Self Portraits here.


How we win

How do people concerned with peace and justice operate in times of intense polarization? According to Quaker author and activist George Lakey in this recent QuakerSpeak video, now is a moment of tremendous opportunity—click to watch and learn How We Win!


Holiday Concert–Philadelphia, An Immigrant City

With Singing City Choir, The Philadelphia Brass, and Teen Voices of the City Ensemble (T-VOCE)

Sunday, December 15, 3 p.m.

Old First Reformed Church of Christ, 151 N. 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia is made up of people from around the world. This concert will feature seasonal  works that are a reflection of the City’s diverse population and includes pieces by Zachary Moore, Paul Halley, Glen Burleigh, Mark Sirett, and more. Repertoire from Ireland, Poland, Germany, Italy, Russia, and Latin America, along with music for Chanukah and African American traditions.

Phoenicia Wallace becomes only second executive director of Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity

Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) announced that Phoenicia D.W. Wallace is its new executive director. She is the second to hold the post, following Mike Lee, one of PLSE’s founders, who left to become interim director of legislation and public affairs for District Attorney Larry Krasner.

                Wallace was most recently a deputy attorney general for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, serving in the Bureau of Consumer Protection. A lifelong Philadelphian, currently a resident of Germantown, she took part in the entrepreneurship program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, the Peace Corps in Kenya, the district office of State Senator Anthony H. Williams and the legislative office of City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson. She also served four years as a staff attorney and law clerk within the Philadelphia Court System. For two years, Wallace hosted “Universally Speaking” on WURD, and she speaks Swahili and Spanish. Welcome, Phoenicia!

New from New Century Trust:

Check out New Century Trust’s new quarterly newsletter!


Friends Journal’s 7th Annual
Student Voices Project
2019–2020 Theme: Creating Change

Positive change in a community is dependent upon individuals speaking up, coming together around a shared goal, and making a plan for action. Quakers have a long history of organizing for change in response to various social, economic, racial, and environmental injustices; most often this change begins with community members working together at the local level. See examples below of Quakers who have helped create change, including a curated list of QuakerSpeak videos about activism. Read more here

10/29/2019: Elizabeth Yeampierre on Climate Justice

Building the Just Transition Led by Frontline Communities

On Tuesday, October 29th, the Tri-Co Philly Program hosts nationally recognized Puerto Rican environmental justice leader and attorney, Elizabeth C. Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE.

Thumbnail for talk by Elizabeth Yeampierre on Climate Justice at Friends Center, October 29, 2019
Click for downloadable flyer

Drawing on her experiences as a leader in the field of environmental justice, Yeampierre provides a unique perspective on how to promote meaningful engagement toward concrete, inclusive, community-based solutions to deal with the climate emergency we are facing as a community, a city, a nation, and world. In these times of political and environmental uncertainty, Yeampierre’s thoughts will leave an impression on audience members’ thoughts and actions regarding climate change and climate justice.

6:30-7:00 pm: Reception in Rufus Jones Room

7:00 pm: Talk in Race Street Room

Issue 53, October 2019 Friends Center Tenant Newsletter: World Quaker Day, Might Writers town hall & In-house Construction



        At the request of one of our equity partners, the American Friends Service Committee, we will be converting the first floor shower room in the 1501 Cherry Street building into a fully accessible, all-gender restroom.

        The Friends Center board of directors enthusiastically endorsed the idea, as it will increase both our restroom capacity and provide more equitable access for all people.

        Construction starts in mid-October, and will take a few weeks. The contractor plans to cordon off the work area so people can still pass by to use the existing women’s room and access the first floor office suite. Inevitably, there will be noise and disruption. We hope you can live with it for a short while, knowing that a larger benefit is on the way.

        By the way, the existing shower room on the second floor of 1501 will remain. It’s part of our green building practice, for those who walk or bike to work.

        Thank you in advance for your patience with the construction phase of this project. Please let me know if you have any questions.

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director


World Quaker Day is Sunday, October 6!

Please see the last piece in this newsletter for more information.

Mighty Writers hosts Anti-Violence Town Hall here

On Friday, 9/27, in the Rufus Jones Room, Mighty Writers held an Anti-Violence Town Hall for Philadelphia youth impacted by violence, as part of their MightFest. Click here for coverage by NBC10 and WHYY



Bystander Intervention Do’s and Don’ts

If you witness public instances of racist, anti-Black, anti-Muslim, anti-Trans, or any other form of oppressive interpersonal violence and harassment, use these tips on how to intervene while considering the safety of everyone involved.  


PYM Families Autumn Community Playdate

We’re excited to invite PYM Families to our next Community Playdate for Apple and pumpkin picking, autumnal FUN at Solebury Orchards in Bucks County.

The Community Playdate is an opportunity for fellowship and learning with our PYM Family community.

                We’ll meet on Saturday, October 12 at 9:00am at Solebury Orchards in New Hope, PA. Kimani Keaton, Children and Families Program Facilitator, will be there to greet and gather our group, and then lead families on wagon rides to pick apples and find the perfect pumpkin in the patch.

In case of inclement weather and cancellation, we’ll email those who have registered (see below) and post on the PYM Families Facebook page. No parking, entry or wagon ride fees; apples are $1.50/lb.

Questions? Contact the Youth Engagement Coordinator or


You Are Welcome Here

Join us for worship at 11 AM every Sunday at Friends Center

Central Philadelphia Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends is a large, urban Quaker meeting, diverse in many ways. We welcome visitors throughout the year.

  • We worship by gathering and silently waiting for the Spirit to guide us.
  • We celebrate diversity and welcome people from all walks of life. We are a welcoming and affirming congregation for LGBTQ people.
  • We are also involved in various activities to further peace and social justice.


Singing City Fall Concert–The Road Less Traveled Singing City and Lyric Fest together in concert.

Saturday, October 5, 2019, 4 pm: Haddonfield United Methodist Church, 29 Warwick Rd., Haddonfield, NJ 08033

Sunday, October 6, 3 pm: Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 23 S. 38th St., Phila., PA 19104

Songs of journey and diaspora, welcome and belonging, leaving home and finding home. A timely program exploring world-wide migration and America’s roots as an immigrant  nation.

Bartol Foundation (@BartolFdn) Workshop: Introduction to Trauma-Informed Practice for Teaching

Tuesday, October 15, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM at Friends Center

More information can be found here on the Bartol Foundation website.  

Recap of Living Building Challenge
with Community Ventures

Green Building United recently completed a “Living Building Challenge” for infill affordable housing with our tenant, Community Ventures. Read about it here.


This year’s theme is Sustainability: Planting Seeds of Renewal for the World We Love.

Friends World Committee for Consultation, Section of the Americas (FWCC), invites you to join Quakers around the world for the 6th annual World Quaker Day.

Across our churches, meetings, countries and sections, we feel the power of God connecting us in to a faithful family. We celebrate all expressions of Quaker worship!

Learn more and see photos at

World Quaker Day

This year’s theme is Sustainability: Planting Seeds of Renewal for the World We Love

FWCC invites you to join Quakers around the world for the 6th annual World Quaker Day.

Across our churches, meetings, countries and sections, we feel the power of God connecting us in to a faithful family. We celebrate all expressions of Quaker worship!

Visit the resources page for ideas on how to get involved.

September Tenant Newsletter: Saying Good-bye to summer, The Lone Quaker and Peace Day Philly.

Issue 52, September 2019Friends Center Tenant Newsletter


I hope you had a good summer! The fall is often a time of renewed vigor and commitment, as well as cooler temperatures. When it’s nice out, please feel free to crack open the windows. As a LEED Platinum green building, it’s designed to use natural air conditioning.

                Fall also comes with an uptick in the use of Friends Center’s event spaces. Please be sure to book your events well in advance!

                Our staff does their best to balance the needs among our many tenants as well as the many outside groups that rent our facilities. Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we do our best to accommodate your requests. I also want to say how much I appreciate the good work of Shakirah Holloway, Erick Emerick, Jennifer Williams, Ed Waters, and our evening/weekend staff, who together keep the event facilities humming; thank you!

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director



If you drive or bike down Race Street, be aware that there is street construction this week, possibly for as long as a month. The city is apparently replacing street light wiring on both sides of the street.

Find Us On…

Are you and your organization following Friends Center on social media? If not, we encourage and invite you to do so. We like to feature the posts of our partners and tenants!

Also be sure to check out Friends on 15th , our new podcast. We will soon be getting it listed on many of the podcast directories. Meanwhile, check out the podcast page on our website.



All migrant children moved from Homestead detention center!

The American Friends Service Committee was one of several groups protesting the conditions and treatment of children at the Homestead facility and organizer Mariana Martinez declared victory.


Laramie: Travels with Josh

“Hello, my name is Joshua Ponter. I am a member of Haddonfield Monthly Meeting in South Jersey’s Philadelphia area. I have embarked on a year-long mission to travel around the country collecting stories about the founding of different meetings and looking at the way we practice Quakerism today. I will be blogging about my travels on the PYM website. Find my latest entry here. Please email me at if there is anyone from your meeting who would like to sit down with me and speak to some of your history—or if you would like more information on me or my project. Thank you!”


Come one, come all to the meeting weekend

October 11-13:  Uncovering Mysteries!

At Friends Center

The weekend will start on Friday, October 11, with a potluck and a dramatic reading of an original play about Mary Fisher, an early English Friend who undertook a dangerous journey alone to Turkey to tell the Grand Sultan about Quakerism.

 Saturday will feature several workshops, including one on spiritual gifts offered by the Gifts and Leadings committee and a workshop led by Carolyn McCoy entitled “Opening to the Spirit.” After a catered lunch, families will enjoy a midday swim at Friends Select School as well as crafts and games. A highlight of the afternoon will be a tour of the “mysteries” of the building, including the secret safe and the windows and doors to nowhere. A talent show will follow a taco dinner, and will end with a fun overnight sleepover. Sunday morning before worship will feature a pancake breakfast.


Singing City and Lyric Fest together in concert

Fall Concert–The Road Less Traveled

Saturday, October 5, 2019, 4 p.m.

Haddonfield United Methodist Church, 29 Warwick Road, Haddonfield, NJ 08033

Sunday, October 6, 3 p.m.

Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 23 S. 38th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Songs of journey and diaspora, welcome and belonging, leaving home and finding home. A timely program exploring world-wide migration and America’s roots as an immigrant  nation.

The Alternative to Violence Project Presents

AVP: Introductory Workshops for Radical Peacemaking

Friends Center

Choose 1 day: Fri. September 6th, or Sat. September 7th

9:30 am – 4:00 pm (Sign in at 9:30, workshop at 10:00 am)

Complimentary lunch included. This event is free to attend, and registration is required

Click to Learn more about AVP.


Peace Day Philly

Peace Day Philly is the Philadelphia region initiative for the International Day of Peace, September 21. We invite individuals, communities, organizations and civic leaders to use this powerful global platform to build peace on personal, local and global levels. Participate in a way that’s meaningful for you and your organization! Learn more.

Welcoming Week

Friday, September 13, 2019 –
Monday, September 23, 2019

The City of Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs partners with more than 30 community organizations for 10 days to honor the city’s multiculturalism. The week’s aim: Engage immigrant communities like Philly’s Latino neighbors and neighborhoods, with a variety of to-be-announced events. Learn more.

Friends on 15th: Episode 2: Girls INC.

On this episode of Friends on 15th we had the pleasure of interviewing Dena Herrin and Cherice Arrington of Girls INC! Take a listen and learn how girls get started learning to run the world!

(Right to left) Chris Mohr, Cherice Arrington, Dena Herrin, Jennifer Lee, Shakirah Holloway

August Newsletter – Podcast, Annual Sessions and New beginnings!

Issue 51, August 2019


In a time when it seems every day brings news of some fresh example of injustice, violence, and inequality, I’m glad to be a part of the Friends Center community. Of course, it’s true that the people who work, attend events, or worship here are by no means perfect nor better than anyone else. Still, a lot of good things are happening here to advance justice, peace, and equality. This newsletter gives just a few examples.
                Speaking of the newsletter, Jennifer Williams has been doing a great job collecting your stories for it. I thank her for her good work. I am also pleased to announce that she was recently promoted to the position of Guest Reception and Marketing Coordi­na­tor. She has taken on new duties, such as producing our new podcast (see next item), and I know you’ll want to join me in congratulating her.

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director


As you all know by now (or at least that‘s what we’re hoping) Friends Center has launched its Podcast “Friends On 15th”  and it’s a hit!!! Friends On 15th was birthed out of the appreciation we have for the good works being done by our tenants. Friends Center houses roughly 40 non-profit organizations, both Quaker and non-Quaker, whose mission statements we support. By this we were compelled to find a new way to help get their good doings on the front line.

We will be interviewing the organizations in our building, providing them with an opportunity to showcase their accomplishments.

We hope that you will give Friends On 15th a listen and look forward to hearing your feedback.



The American Friends Service Committee was one of several groups protesting the conditions and treatment of children at the Homestead facility and organizer Mariana Martinez declared victory Saturday. Read more on this amazing story!


The Annual Sessions has ended and the atmosphere has shifted! As light hearts and smiling faces pass me by I couldn’t help but to wonder (as a non-Quaker) why are these individuals so filled up? Soon after, the opportunity to sit and briefly chat with attendees of Sessions was upon me.

I was able to gain a better understanding of the annual sessions and as a result, I am no longer in the dark about the Light. Below is a lovely and enlightening quote from one the the delegates who attended.

“It is no coincidence Sessions comes at a time of full bloom. A sense of expansiveness & freedom pervades the day and we are reminded of our commitment to come together. We gather with full whole hearts seeking spiritual renewal while enjoying sweet fellowship in an environment full of integrity & love.”

-Kimani Keaton, Gifts processing and data entry associate, PYM


  • Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting is a Quaker congregation.
  • We don’t typically refer to ourselves as a church; instead we call our congregation a “Monthly Meeting” (because we hold a business meeting once a month) or “Meeting” for short.
  • You’re welcome to join us for waiting worship in the manner of Friends any Sunday at 11 am.
  • CPMM is a diverse and affirming environment; we welcome people of all ages, races, gender identities, sexual orientations and faith backgrounds.


  • ARSP says goodbye to its U.S. programs director, Mark McGuigan.
  • PLSE Releases Report on First Year of Pardon Project. Read more here.
  • Girls Inc.: In the spring of 2019, a class of senior FOX Sports University students in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State were challenged to create a strategic campaign for Girls Inc. that encourages FOX Sports fans and viewers to learn more about the organization’s mission: inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold. Watch here on YouTube.


Pardon Workshop with
X-Offenders for Community Empowerment

When: August 12, 2019 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Where: 2227 N. Broad Street Philadelphia PA 19132

Need assistance with a pardon? Wayne Jacobs, Co-Founder and Executive Director of X-Offenders for Community Empowerment is hosting a workshop to get you started with the pardon application. Mr. Jacobs hosts his clinic at 2227 N. Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19123 every 2nd Monday from 6-7pm. For more details, please call 215-668-8477 or email

Hidden Lives Illuminated

Mark your calendars for the debut of Hidden Lives Illuminated! Short films created by currently-incarcerated artists will be projected onto the walls of Eastern State nightly August 15 through September 12. Learn more at #HiddenLives

July Newsletter: Tenant Cookout, Friends on 15th Podcast, Time to VOTE and much more!

Issue 50, July 2019 Friends Center Tenant Newsletter


It’s hot outside, and once again it’s time to gather in the courtyard for good food, fun games, and great company here at Friends Center. It’s our way to thank the tenants for being part of the community here.

                If you’re interested in being a tenant here at Friends Center, please contact Chris Mohr at 215-241-7191 or by email at

– Chris Mohr, Executive Director


Check out our new podcast, “Friends on 15th”!

Episode 1: Bartol Foundation

Beth Feldman Brandt and Melissa Talley-Palmer of the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation joined us for the first episode of the Friends on 15th podcast (July 2019).

If you are interested in being featured on the Friends on 15th podcast, we encourage you to reach out to Jennifer Williams, our receptionist.


American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

Roots IRL: Abolition, Global Solidarity, and the Future
An outside Netroots event

Evening of Saturday, July 13

Outside of Netroots we are building a communal space in Philadelphia grounded in organizing practices that are accountable to visions of divesting resources away from state violence at home and elsewhere, and investing instead in a future for our children, and in people power that remakes the world. Dream Defenders, AFSC, War Resisters League, Adalah Justice Project, and other partners are co-creating a spacetobring those in Netroots interested in people-powered movements who have been transforming Philadelphia and the planet into where the real work happens, in community and struggle.

We believe world-making starts within our communities so these sessions will share skills, experiences, and tactics that apply an abolitionist and internationalist framework through local specific strategies that can be enacted wherever you live. Towards a future without war, settler occupation, prisons, and police. Building a future with environmental justice, community safety, global accountability, and abundance.

11:00 am – 2:30/3 pm: Bus Tour of Black Radical History in Philadelphia led by Mike Africa Jr., preregistration required, can reserve a spot at the ticket link.

6:00 pm Dinner

  • 6:45 – 8:15 Teach in workshops, choose 1
    Breaking Borders: diaspora internationalist and indigenous organizing
  • Disseminating a narrative of decarceration, electing a progressive DA, and moving toward abolition
  • Hanging up on 911: Restorative Justice and the world beyond police
  • Not your Grandad’s Union: Labor Organizing in the Gig Economy
  • People Power Per Million: Environmental Justice and the fight to save our future.

8:30-9:30 Plenary presentation
Plenary presentation with Marc Lamont Hill in conversation with Kempis “Ghani” Songster and Mike Africa Jr.

Register here:

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM)

Annual Sessions

July 24-28, 2019 at The College of New Jersey

Annual Sessions is a wonderful opportunity for Friends of every age from 100+ Meetings to gather together for fun, business, and fellowship. Grounded in Spirit, we conduct shared business, plan collective projects and learn from one another in worship sharing and in interesting workshops. We encourage YOU to register today! Drop by for just a session, stay for a day, or attend the whole five-day program.

The theme for the 339th Annual Sessions is “How do we Center ourselves in Trust and Love”.To “center” is to access the essential knowingness that you are alive, which is all you need to see what is true. Start with your breath. Notice how you breathe–feel the ground beneath you and the air that moves through your lungs and throat. Centering in trust and love is about the choices you make when truth comes knocking on your door. Trust compels us to open it willingly and joyfully and to welcome the transformation that might come next.

Register Today!

Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (CPMM)

CPMM hosts Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting of Friends

Sunday, July 21

The day begins at 9:30 with a program titled “Climate, Race, Justice and Democracy: We’re all in this together.” Several Friends will share stories of their efforts to address the intersection of these issues. We will then take time in worship sharing to reflect on what we can learn from these connections and how we might bring greater joy, clarity, faithfulness or power to our engagement with this critical work in the world. From 12:15-1:00 pm, hospitality will take place and all are welcome to bring salads, dips, chips and light desserts. Meeting for Worship for Business will take place from 1-4.


Girls Inc. Needs Your Support—Please Vote!

Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey is a Philadelphia Foundation Key to Community grant finalist in the Opportunity Divide category. This funding opportunity is unique because the public will determine who will win. Top prize in each category is $200,000; second place is $100,000 and third place is $33,000. All nine winners will also participate in their fall Leadership Institute.

Every day until July 26th, you can vote for them once daily here. In addition to voting daily, please spread the word – we want everyone to know that we’re a finalist for this awesome opportunity. Thank you all for your support and happy voting!


  • Vote once per day in each category through July 26.
  • Those 18 and over in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York can participate.
  • Make your choice and then select “Vote Now”. Results appear after the ballot is processed.
  • You can sign up to get daily reminders to vote
  • Share your participation via social media and encourage others to vote daily!

Hosted by Community Ventures at Friends Center:

Lessons Learned: Living Building Challenge Affordable Housing Demonstration Project

Tue, 7/16/2019 – 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Please join Green Building United as they present the Living Building Challenge’s Affordable Housing Demonstration Project! Together we will review the design process and final design solutions, discuss lessons learned, and celebrate the success of the group! After a brief overview presentation, we will gather in small groups and review the project using the imperatives of The Living Building Challenge as a guide. The goals is to continue our efforts to provide sustainable affordable housing if dense urban environments, and to determine priorities for next steps. Project leaders will be on-hand to help guide discussions.

Rachel Miller becomes PLSE’s Director of Criminal Records Expungement

Via Generocity

Also, AFSC announces Jason Drucker as their new Associate General Secretary for Advancement.


Decarcerate PA: Fundraiser for Philadelphia Bail Fund

Date: July 11th, 2019

Location: “Tattooed Mom” 530 South St, Philadelphia Pa 19147

Time: 7-9 pm

Join Decarcerate PA as we celebrate and raise money for the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund! Help bring our loved ones and community members home. Enjoy raffle prizes from local businesses and artists. Hear from Philly Community Bail Fund organizers about the success of Mama’s Day Bail Out, and learn how to get involved throughout the year.

The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund posts bail for residents of Philadelphia who cannot afford to pay bail while advocating for the abolition of bail and pretrial detention in our city. Their goal is to end cash bail in Philadelphia while working to free as many people as we can.

The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund is run by a collective of volunteer grassroots organizers and active members of the community, including folks they have bailed out. They are  committed to organizing with and for the people most directly impacted by the racist system of mass incarceration, criminalization and policing. They use a non-judgmental approach and do not consider a person’s charges to respect an individual’s constitutional right to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.