About

Our Roots and Our Vision

The Resistance Center is rooted in the legacy and historical work of Frances Crowe and the American Friends Service Committee Western Massachusetts Program (AFSC).

  • Connective tissue of social justice groups In the past, AFSC has incubated and brought together individuals, groups, and organizations in the Valley through common work and goals. Our work has crossed lines between churches, civic groups, and non-profit organizations to have the greatest impact. Our Social Justice Calendar is a one-stop resource for anyone in the area who wants to know when the next prominent speaker, rally, or event will be held.
  • Preparing the next generation of leaders Through our Youth Internship Program, we will continue our partnerships with the Five Colleges, Community Action, and others to pay and train young people in advocacy and programmatic work.
  • Responding and supporting community concerns Whether we need to mobilize people in the streets or provide support to partner organizations, we will continue to serve as an organizing leader in the area.

The Roots and History of The Resistance Center

There have been three strands which have made the work of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) unique in Western Massachusetts which is the foundation that the new Resistance Center is built upon:

Addressing and changing the culture of militarism

  • Draft counseling, veterans’ education and support (1968 through 2003)
  • Initiated Nuclear Freeze movement with education and local referenda (1979) which then became a national movement culminating in the rally in New York of 1 million people (1982)
  • Creating study groups and Task Forces on Southern Africa (1986), Peace & Disarmament (1986), Central America (1992) which address militarism, U.S. weapons and economic involvement, divestment, bringing new and tried activists into collaboration through AFSC
  • Counter recruitment efforts in schools and universities, including public reports, protests and educational work (2003 to present)
  • Conversion of budget from military to social and economic needs including National Tax Day Penny Poll, Tax Resistance support, Citizens Budget, Budget for all (1990 through present)
  • Defense and resistance against military (ICE) responses to undocumented immigrants and refugees (Sanctuary Movement 1982-1086), Sanctuary City Resolutions and Ordinances (2011 through present)
  • Abolition of US Department of Defense research on Anthrax at local universities (1974-1993)

Developing new generations of activists, providing training and resources to seasoned activists, and raising consciousness among youth

  • Draft counseling, raising awareness among GI recruits, veterans’ education (1968-2003)
  • Study groups on current issues of war, economy, budget, social issues (1986-1990s), mentoring and involving young area activists
  • Created the Help Increase the Peace Program (HIPP) for youth in schools and the community, teaching solving conflicts without violence and analyzing the effects of societal injustice in their lives (1996 through 2014)
  • Created the Youth Internship Program in collaboration with 6 area universities and colleges, as well as high schools and Community Action, working with over 70 young people (2010 through present)

Serving as connective tissue between organizations, as well as incubation and mentoring for existing organizations and groups

  • Providing continuity, resources and leadership for important annual commemorations
    • Commemoration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1980 to present)
    • Commemoration of Martin Luther King Birthday (1983 to present)
  • Housing, meeting space, resources, logistics, capacity building, mentoring
  • Northampton Committee to End the Wars (2003 to present)
  • Springfield No One Leaves (2011 to present)
  • Jewish Voices for Peace (2015 to present)
  • No More Guantanamos (2014 to present)

… and more

  • Ongoing collaborative work with area organizations, providing resources, logistics and other need as requested (highlights only, 1968 to present)
Campaign to End Land Mines Community Reinvestment Act
Traprock Center for Peace and Justice Veterans Education Tax Day
Springfield Council of Churches New England Sanctuary Network
Coca-Cola Boycott Campaign against Star Wars
Campaign for a Citizens Budget National Campaign to Halt Trafficking of Women
Peace in Bosnia Boycott Divest Sanction Movement
Pioneer Valley Workers Center Code Pink International Women’s Day
Sugar Shack Alliance Valley War Bulletin

… and many, many more