Skip to main content

This has indeed been a year of reckoning—of challenges so big and so constant we cannot turn away. Reckoning with the election; the coronavirus pandemic; systemic racism of our country; and the continued destruction of our planet.

It has also been a year for fierce love. We have felt alone, uncertain, anxious and sometimes, despairing; we have grieved for those who have died and been laid low.

God’s fierce love is in us and around us. How do we inhabit that fierce love?

Yet, we know that we are not alone. God’s fierce love that regards each one of us as a beloved human being is with us. God’s fierce love is the love that will not let me go. It is the Inward Guide that steadies, comforts, and prompts me to action.

God’s fierce love is the beauty of the natural world in the fall foliage, the warm sunshine, the mountain vista, the backyard garden, and the roadside wildflowers. God’s fierce love is the time with parents, children, grandchildren, and friends on a screen as we share family stories, dinner plans, and play games.

God’s fierce love is in the silent waiting worship that shows up in the unspoken connections we make by being present with one another, encouraging each other, and fortifying ourselves for this time.

God’s fierce love is in us and around us. How do we inhabit that fierce love?

When the pandemic hit full force in March, we didn’t know what to expect. FCNL moved to remote work and we didn’t miss a beat. We pivoted to holding our Spring Lobby Weekend in late March as a virtual event with 500 registrants advocating on climate change. We ramped up communications with our network, offering more virtual events— Quaker Changemakers, Thursdays with Friends, Silent Reflection on Wednesday afternoons, and monthly Advocacy Team calls via Zoom.

Just as many of you will be virtually lobbying on Tuesday—in one of the 230 lobby visits scheduled—our lobbyists have effectively managed their work since March through remote lobbying and contact with congressional offices.

This annual meeting will be different in many ways. I invite you to open your hearts and minds to the opportunities for growth—not only intellectually to learn about specific policies—but to learning and practicing how we can truly be an inclusive community.

As Quakers, we seek a world with equity and justice for all. The disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Black people, indigenous people, and the Latino community demonstrates the inequity of healthcare in our country today. It points to a deeper problem of race-based inequity and injustice that is our history.

This recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black people at the hands of police were tragic losses of human lives. They manifested the systemic racism of perverse problems in policing and race-based fear that has a long and debilitating force in our society.

We know there are actions we can all take to change federal policies; that is one of the reasons why we are here at this annual meeting to lobby for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

Let us recognize there is a part for every one of us to create the beloved community.

This lobbying, as well as our ongoing advocacy for COVID-19 pandemic relief and for all of the priorities that promote peace and foster justice, will be front and center in our work in the coming year. We need your participation.

Please don’t think that the election of a Democrat as president means our work will be easier. As a nonpartisan organization, we lobby every member of Congress. The year ahead may be slightly less stressful, but it will take the same level of relentless advocacy, of tenacious fierce love that you bring to this lobbying and that you have done over many years.

Friends: let us resolutely move forward in fierce love. Let us grieve, celebrate and advocate together; let us recognize there is a part for every one of us to create the beloved community. Let us hold in our hearts the fierce love of the Spirit who first loved us and who loves us into being.

Excerpts from Diane Randall’s opening remarks during the 2020 Annual Meeting and Quaker Public Policy, Nov. 13-17, 2020.

Diane Randall

Diane Randall

General Secretary
Diane Randall is the General Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Diane leads FCNL’s staff to effectively educate and lobby for the policies and legislative priorities established by FCNL’s General Committee.

Join our email list!

Quakers and Friends are changing public policy.