Make our hearts warmer, says Quaker Social Action

‘This is my hope for 2022; that we all think long and hard about how we make our hearts warmer, and support others to do so too.'

QSA’s ‘Turn a Corner’ mobile library

‘How do we make our hearts warmer?’ is the question we should be asking this year, says Judith Moran, director of Quaker Social Action.

The comment came as Quaker organisations told the Friend about their hopes and priorities for the coming year.

‘This is my hope for 2022; that we all think long and hard about how we make our hearts warmer, and support others to do so too,’ said Judith Moran. ‘I think we will all be happier if we suffuse ourselves with kindness and compassion. But also, by warming our hearts, we will become more attuned to our fellow citizens who are suffering hardship, injustice, and inequality. And we might feel emboldened to do something about it.’

Judith Moran said she first heard the question in an interview the charity Action for Happiness did with its patron the Dalai Lama. ‘This “doing something about it” is at the heart of our work at Quaker Social Action and this will remain so in 2022. We are inherently a practical organisation, aiming to direct the resources we have towards poverty alleviation, addressing homelessness and supporting positive social change.’

How this is done, she said, must be ‘pandemic-informed’ and ‘digitally-informed’. ‘Whose wellbeing hasn’t suffered these last two years and isn’t this even more the case for those with fewer resources to start off with? How can we use tech for good, to reach and support more people while being aware that it is no substitute for human contact?’ The work should also be ‘diversity-informed’, she said. ‘How can we keep issues of inclusion at the forefront of our thinking? We remain committed to bringing the voices of people with lived experience of poverty into the public domain, and using our own evidence and data to influence policy and practice.’

Meanwhile, other Quaker organisations outlined their priorities for 2022. Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network (QARN) highlighted a number of campaigns that will be its focus for 2022. Sheila Mosley from QARN told the Friend these priorities are: Omicron and the health risks to people seeking asylum who are living in Napier barracks and other ‘contingency units’ of multi-occupation; and ‘indefinite detention, including the newly established detention facility designated for women’.

Other priorities are ‘unmasking and unmaking the hostile environment’, the Nationality and Borders Bill, which is currently going through parliament; and the fees campaign.

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