The Western Massachusetts program, founded in 1968, focuses on peace education and social justice through a myriad of different forms: youth and adult nonviolence training; coalition building and action; campaigns against U.S. military intervention abroad and militarism at home; ending foreclosures and evictions in Springfield; immigration advocacy and education; and education and action to combat racism, classism, and homophobia.
The program has evolved from a program primarily set up to do draft and military counseling and resistance to militarism and the war in Vietnam, to a broader social justice program based upon community needs with a strong emphasis on dialogue.
Western Massachusetts faces problems of growing economic disparity, an increased tendency to scapegoat the poor and other marginalized social groups, and a deterioration in public trust and ownership of local, state and federal government, along with increased efforts to militarize our economy and our communities.
The program seeks to empower communities to confront these problems and find lasting solutions which increase peace, build unity, and demand justice. AFSC of Western Massachusetts uses education and community dialogue to make the broader connections between militarism, economic disparity, and violence, and actively promote ways that people can break the cycle of violence which fosters these connections.