Sunday Meetings: Zoom | Mailing address: 3519 NE 15th Ave. #204, Portland, OR 97212

Statement on the Irredeemability of the United States Police and Prison System

Adopted at Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business on June 4, 2023

US society is addicted to surveillance and punishment, and our police and prisons are their institutional embodiment. They channel the human need for safety into racist fear and disgust, and use that excuse to control and destroy Indigenous, Black and brown people and communities. By any objective measure, police and prisons fail to “serve and protect” these communities. Because these institutions are rooted in systemic racism, they cannot be reformed or redeemed. They must be abandoned, and new institutions built that will ensure genuine public health and safety.

Clear Hearts Quaker Circle, organized in Portland, Oregon, is a Quaker community founded in, and committed to, anti-racism and radical inclusion. We are fiercely committed to our shared Quaker testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship. Together, these testimonies guide us in seeking justice for our neighbors and our world. In the US context, it is impossible to talk about justice without addressing the abuses, lies, intimidation and violence of law enforcement in the United States.

Imagine Black, a grassroots organization in Oregon whose mission is to “help our Black community imagine the alternatives we deserve and build our political participation and leadership to achieve those alternatives,” explains: 

“All across this country, Black people live with the everyday reality of being subjected to a police occupation. This is a form of state violence perpetrated against our community. As a people living in Black bodies, state-sanctioned violence, hyper-surveillance, and resulting disenfranchisement is a constant danger. Black folks who are poor, women, people who are currently and formerly incarcerated, working class, LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming, differently-abled, and Black immigrants and refugees of all documentation status are particularly vulnerable. The physical and economic violence of policing, incarceration, and judicial supervision can no longer be tolerated.”

For simplicity, we will refer to municipal police departments, county sheriff’s offices, and a wide variety of state and federal law enforcement agencies collectively as “police.” Similarly, there are a variety of federal and state prisons, detention centers, and local jails, which we will refer to collectively as “prisons.”

There was never a “good” form of American police that we can recover or return to. If we are serious about improving public health and safety, we need to use different methods and institutions, with different goals and different personnel.

Before publicly-funded municipal police forces became widespread in the second half of the 1800’s, the American police function was already well established and recognized in organized slave patrols in the South. These instruments of white supremacy date back to the early 1700’s. Their practices were largely preserved by Southern police after the Civil War. 

In the North, early 19th-century business interests created police forces by pressuring the government to pay for surveillance and discipline of the labor organizing that was threatening their bottom line, using racism and classism to frame proactive policing as necessary for so-called “public order.” 

Although prisons were seen as a “humane” improvement over capital and corporal punishment in the early 1800’s, after the Civil War, prison populations boomed as prisons became a major source of labor. Jim Crow laws were used to define free Black folks as criminals to make it legal to re-enslave them. Work conditions for prisoners at this time are often described as worse than enslavement.

Waves of prison building and associated attempts at criminal justice reform spread throughout society periodically throughout American history. The era of mass incarceration began in the 1970’s, driven in part by cynical attempts to disrupt the political power of Black communities and leftist activist organizations while pandering to the white majority. Mass incarceration has also proven to be full of profit-making opportunities for the private sector, from construction to operations to inmate services. Every intended reform has become a new tool of exploitation and control. 

The only solution is to abandon the failed project of American police and prisons and build new practices for transformative justice, healing, and community care and safety.

Clear Hearts recognizes that these changes will not happen overnight. Like the abolition group #8toAbolition, “we believe in the strategic importance of…measures that reduce the scale, scope, power, authority, and legitimacy of criminalizing institutions.” 

We commit to the following actions as individuals where we can, and as a body where Way opens, and we urge all people of good will to do the same:

  • Provide material support to local organizations working toward goals compatible with police abolition. In Portland, examples include Imagine Black, Don’t Shoot PDX, and the Transformative Justice Coalition. It is not necessary to agree with all of an organization’s positions or tactics in order to recognize and support the critical role they play in countering unaccountable, harmful police.
  • Avoid calling the police. Alternative resources that offer immediate assistance through emergency or crisis services, including for Portland, are collected on the website. 211 Info may also be able to help.
  • Advocate for the inclusion of community groups in the collective bargaining process with local police unions. The interests of the public, especially members of the public most negatively impacted by police targeting, must be represented when negotiating the details of police union contracts. 
  • Advocate for meaningful and consistent community oversight of police operations. Elected officials have proven themselves to be unwilling or incapable of imposing accountability on police.
  • Advocate for the removal of the profit motive from police and prisons. Arbitrary fines and fees, cash bail, exploiting incarcerated people as cheap or free labor, and predatory prison commissaries are only some of the ways our institutions create and maintain a financial interest in the status quo.
  • Vigorously oppose the construction of any new prisons, or the addition of inmate capacity to any existing prison. Practices from before the era of mass incarceration, and widespread use of compassionate release during the height of the COVID-19 epidemic, demonstrate that our obsession with imprisonment is driven by ideology and economics, not necessity.
  • As individuals, preferentially support political candidates who pledge not to accept contributions or endorsements from police unions or associations, and challenge political candidates who do. American police are incompatible with multi-racial democracy and should not be legitimated as actors within it.
  • Build connections with incarcerated individuals in order to support them in inhumane conditions. Book donation drives, seasonal greeting cards, pen-pal relationships, and volunteering in prisons are only some of the possibilities.
  • Bring consistent and creative pressure to bear on the federal government to end its current exploitative detention and deportation practices for immigrants and refugees. This vast machine confuses and dehumanizes immigrants and isolates vulnerable people from lawyers, locks them up without hope in remote centers, and separates them from their families and communities – instead of providing them with the protection they need and deserve.

Although these actions take effort, when taken with like-minded friends, organizations or faith communities, they energize us, because hopelessness and powerlessness are soul-draining. Join us on this road to an achievable society where the surveillance and punishment state is nothing more than a history lesson. 

Monthly hybrid worship & potluck

It was great to have hybrid worship on August 6! The space turned out to be completely suitable, and the mix of people in person and on Zoom was very grounding.

In-person participation is not better or more valid than Zoom. However, we know that many of us suffer from “Zoom fatigue” or have other reasons to prefer gathering in person. We hope that our return to this option will be welcome news.

At Business Meeting afterwards, we decided that for now, moving forward, we will do hybrid worship on a monthly basis, and combine it with a potluck meal after close of worship. (Thank you to the Friend who noted that Meeting for Worship would be followed by Meeting for Worship with Attention to Potluck!)

The space does have a small refrigerator and means of heating things up, so food safety and quality should not be a problem.

Clear Hearts requires COVID-19 vaccination for in-person Clear Hearts events, as well as masking when indoors, except if actively eating or drinking.

Opening windows and doors provides good ventilation, plus, there is an outside patio for those more comfortable with eating outdoors. Unfortunately, the patio is two steps down from the main space. We can certainly assist folks down and up those stairs, but the patio is not ADA accessible, unlike the rest of the space.

We also have a lot of flexibility in how to arrange tables and chairs inside, to create distance. Basically, we want to do everything we can to remove barriers for people who have understandable health concerns, since it is not possible to eat while remaining masked.

These second Sundays of the month have been scheduled:

September 10, 2023

October 8, 2023

November 12, 2023

December 10, 2023

January 14, 2024

If anything changes, including adding more Sundays for hybrid Meeting for Worship, we will of course let you know!

The in-person address is:

3703 César E. Chávez Blvd (just south of Powell)

Portland, OR 97202

Here is a description of the space:

“Newly remodeled commercial studio space…Amenities include a kitchenette with small refrigerator, kitchenette sink, coffee maker, hot water kettle and small convection oven…Lots of natural light through the many windows. Full HVAC with air filtration system that filters bacteria and viruses…Clean, freshly remodeled bathroom. Located near bus lines. Free off-street parking with convenient free street parking nearby. Small outdoor areas to bring chairs out to.”

It is ADA accessible.

Here is a neighborhood map:

Location of in-person site on a map showing about 10 blocks around it in Southeast Portland.

And here is a “big picture” map:

Location of in-person site shown on a map showing most of Southeast Portland, along with some of Northeast Portland.

The #75 bus stops nearby on Cesar Chavez Blvd, and the #9 bus stops nearby on Powell Blvd.

The outside looks like this, for a visual reference:

A one storey commercial building with white walls, a mostly flat gray roof, and a foundation of yellow, gray and white stone is situated in a parking lot paved in gray concrete or asphalt, with marked parking spaces.

As a reminder: We do require COVID-19 vaccination for in-person Clear Hearts events, as well as masking when indoors, except if actively eating or drinking.

Examples of Quaker Land Acknowledgements

Each traditional Quaker testimony – simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship of resources and the Earth – compels us as Quakers in North America to understand and acknowledge all of the ways that we have participated in and benefitted from the dispossession of Indigenous lands and destruction of Indigenous cultures. In the past and in the present, by things we have done and left undone, we have embraced violence against the Indigenous nations who had no choice about becoming our neighbors.

Land acknowledgments ( are one beginning step in the journey of rejecting this violence, attempting repentance, and accepting accountability to the Indigenous nations whose traditional lands we control. Clear Hearts Quaker Circle is developing our own land acknowledgment, centering our commitment to move beyond performative statements to concrete actions, and mindfully considering the geographical spread of the Friends who participate in our community.

A collection of land acknowledgments from other Quaker communities is included below. These examples are intended to serve as queries for us as part of our own discernment. We will also benefit from sitting with Quaker statements on Indigenous justice and Indian Boarding Schools (, many of which were operated by Quakers.


Multnomah Friends Meeting (

This Meetinghouse occupies homelands belonging since time immemorial to the Chinook-speaking peoples of Multnomah, Clackamas, Cascade/Watlala, and the Kalapuya of Tualatin. Throughout Oregon, land was stolen from tribes through the use of treaties and land grants. In 1850, the land on which the Meetinghouse sits became part of such a land grant. We understand it is incumbent on us to lean into this uncomfortable fact and consider its implications for the Meeting.

We grieve the involvement of earlier Quakers with Indian boarding schools and as Indian agents, and the intergenerational harm inflicted. In an effort toward healing the injustices of the past and present, we commit to educating ourselves about current and historical Indigenous perspectives. We have committed to ongoing financial contributions to the Chinook Indian Nation and support their struggle to regain federal recognition. We join in the call to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery as the “theological” justification for colonialism, land theft, and the brutal and dehumanizing treatment of Indigenous people. We are actively discerning the next steps toward Right Relationship with Indigenous Peoples and the land, and welcome all to join us.

– Guidelines & Suggestions for Land Acknowledgement (


Eastside Friends Meeting (

Eastside Friends Meeting house stands on ancestral land of the Sammamish People, who were closely related to the First People of Seattle, the Duwamish. Descendants of the Sammamish today are members of the Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Tulalip tribes. We honor all these Native communities and their Elders. We appreciate that they have been here since time immemorial, and are still here, continuing to bring light to their ancient heritage. 

We also recognize that American settlers forcibly removed the Sammamish from this land following the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855. The diseases, greed, and violence of settlers decimated Sammamish communities, along with many other local Indigenous communities. This acknowledgment is part of our Meeting’s commitment to moving toward right relations with Indigenous people, through recognition of our own history and responsibility, and through ongoing education and action.

We hold this land acknowledgment as a living document, knowing that the guidance of our indigenous neighbors and of the Holy Spirit may require us to reflect and reconsider our present words.


Westtown Monthly Meeting (

This one comes from one of the Lenni Lenape tribes in the Philadelphia YM area. This is the one they would like used. 

“The land upon which we gather is part of the traditional territory of the Lenni-Lenape, called ‘Lenapehoking.’ The Lenape People lived in harmony with one another upon this territory for thousands of years. During the colonial era and early federal period, many were removed west and north, but some also remain among the continuing historical tribal communities of the region: The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation; the Ramapough Lenape Nation; and the Powhatan Renape Nation, The Nanticoke of Millsboro Delaware, and the Lenape of Cheswold Delaware. We acknowledge the Lenni-Lenape as the original people of this land and their continuing relationship with their territory. In our acknowledgment of the continued presence of Lenape people in their homeland, we affirm the aspiration of the great Lenape Chief Tamanend, that there be harmony between the indigenous people of this land and the descendants of the immigrants to this land, ‘as long as the rivers and creeks flow, and the sun, moon, and stars shine.’”

The land acknowledgement used by Westtown School at the start of faculty meetings.

Let us recognize and never forget that we are occupying the traditional unceded Lenni Lenape lands. In all that we do, let us pay respect to Lenape elders, past and present.


Port Townsend Friends Meeting (

The water, the land and the shorelines here in the Port Townsend area are the traditional territory of the S’Klallam and Chemakum Peoples. We are thankful for their wisdom and care of the land and acknowledge their way of living with nature, not as land owners, but as grateful children of Mother Earth. We vow to help restore and sustain their homeland and work to build right relations with our native neighbors.


Boulder Friends Meeting (

Boulder Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends acknowledges that we live and worship on land where Indigenous Peoples have lived for more than 13,000 years. Chief Nawath (Left Hand) and his band of Arapaho were living in the Boulder Valley under the terms of the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie when gold was discovered in 1858. The Arapaho were forced out of the area, contrary to the terms of the treaty, and a fort was built to protect the booming towns of Boulder and Valmont. In 1864, volunteer militiamen mustered at Boulder’s Fort Chambers and joined U.S. Colonel John Chivington’s forces in carrying out the Sand Creek Massacre. More than 200 Arapaho and Cheyenne people, including Chief Nawath, were killed.

We lament this history of land theft, betrayal, murder, and displacement, knowing that we have become its beneficiaries. We acknowledge Indigenous Peoples’ enduring love for this land and the valuable contributions they make to our community today. We seek ways to build relationships with them now based on truth, respect, justice, and our shared humanity.


Chapel Hill Friends Meeting (

The Chapel Hill Friends Meeting sits on unceded Indigenous land where Occaneechi, Sissipahaw, Shakori, and Eno peoples lived. As Quakers, we acknowledge the genocide and continued displacement of Indigenous peoples during the colonial period and beyond.

In 1672, George Fox visited Carolina and publicly preached that Indigenous community members shared the Light within as, we believe, all humans do. We affirm Fox’s teaching, and we recognize that injustices done to the Indigenous population continue in the present.

Site Heritage:

Artifacts found at Morgan Farm indicate that this area was inhabited almost continuously for the past 10,000 years. A 2004 archaeological exploration in Chapel Hill revealed spear points and potsherds, evidence that hunters as well as settlers lived along Franklin Street from 500 BC to 500 AD. Archaeological digs on Finley Golf Course showed similar proof that these communities hunted, built houses, and grew crops. The earliest recorded presence in our area of Indigenous peoples dates to 1701 when explorer John Lawson wrote “by the time the first settlers arrived, there were no more Indians left in the region.” (Vickers, p. 7-8). Other historians assert that a greatly reduced number of Indigenous remained. Most had migrated north towards Hillsborough and the more active trading paths.

Lord John Carteret, the first Earl of Granville, received his land charter from King Charles II. By the 1730’s colonial settlers began trickling into Granville’s district, including Orange County. They came down the Great Wagon Road connecting modern Petersburg, Virginia and Mobile, Alabama. Mark Morgan was one who settled on the Finley Golf Course land. In 1747, Morgan’s children bought surrounding land to encompass most of Chapel Hill plus territory in present day Durham County and south across Morgan Creek. About 1790, his descendant Hardy Morgan gave 205 acres, including areas now occupied by Carmichael Auditorium, grounds to the east, the cemetery, and Gimghoul Road, to help establish the University of North Carolina. This is the land where Chapel Hill Friends Meeting is located. The University retained ownership until Chapel Hill Friends Meeting bought the land in the 1950’s.

This is a living document, and we will continue to revise and strengthen it in collaboration with community members and as new research evolves.


Asheville Friends Meeting (

The Asheville Friends Meeting acknowledges, with respect, that the land we are on today is ancestral land of the Anikituwagi, (ah nee yun wee YAH) more commonly known as the Cherokee. We also recognize all the varied Indigenous Peoples who have lived in and continue to live in and around these lands.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Asheville Friends Meeting seek to affirm our work together to ensure a strong relationship. Therefore, we commit efforts and resources to the health and priorities of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. As these words are spoken and heard,we renew and reaffirm this property as Cherokee homelands.


Concord Friends Meeting (

The Concord Friends Meeting is located on N’dakinna, which is the traditional ancestral homeland of the Abenaki, Pennacook and WabanakiPeoples past and present. This land is unceded. We acknowledge and honor with gratitude the land and waterways and the alnobak (people) who have stewarded N’dakinna throughout the generations.


Friends Meeting Cambridge (

We acknowledge that we meet today on the land of the Massachusett people. This living cultural landscape near the banks of the Quinobequin (sometimes called the Charles River) is also dear to theWampanoag and Nipmuc peoples. It has been a place of travel, trade and gathering for many other Algonquin people from time immemorial through today.

We acknowledge that our material sustenance and prosperity is derived from stolen lands, lands from which Indigenous peoples, who have been caretakers of these lands for hundreds of generations, were removed by uninvited European colonists. We sadly acknowledge that the disrespect and attempted cultural erasure that accompanied this removal continue to this day.

We value and honor the wisdom of the Indigenous peoples who have loved and learned from this land, living in harmony with its gifts and needs. We commit to learning to live in reciprocity with this precious place and to listen closely to its rightful caretakers.

We know that this land acknowledgment is but a small, first step towards reconciling our histories. We commit to learning more about the Indigenous peoples where Friends Meeting Cambridge community members live, work and worship. We will seek Spirit’s guidance and follow the leadership of Indigenous teachers as we work diligently to undo the harms of the past and present. We pledge our time and resources to work for healing the wounds of colonialism, advancing Indigenous self-determination and working for equity and right relationship.


Portland (Maine) Friends Land Acknowledgment (

Today, and every day, we walk on stolen land. We pray on stolen land. The forests, the rivers, the mountains, the meadows. Also the highways, and city buildings, houses, and corner stores. This is what occupation looks like.

We are meeting here in the Dawnland, where the sovereign people of the Wabanaki Confederacy, including the Maliseet, MicMac, Penobscot, and Passamaquoddy, have lived for thousands of years. And the many Abenaki tribes, some destroyed, some scattered. As Quakers, many of our ancestors, both by blood and by spirit, participated in the theft of this land, the separation of children from their families, and the attempt to end indigenous culture.

Today, we mourn the lives and ways of living that were taken. We honor the resilience and power of our Wabanaki neighbors.

As we continue to live and govern in ways that harm this land and its people, it is past time for reparations. For learning the truth. For listening. For taking action. And there is still time. This is our work to do.


Fort Collins Friends Meeting (,gatheringandhealingfornumerousotherNativetribes)

Fort Collins Friends Meeting acknowledges, with respect, that the land we are on today is the traditional ancestral homelands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute Nations and peoples. This was also a site of trade, gathering, and healing for numerous other Native tribes. We recognize the Indigenous peoples as original stewards of this land and all the relatives within it. As these words of acknowledgment are heard, the ties Nations have to their traditional homelands are renewed and reaffirmed.

We recognize that the founding of the Fort Collins community, including the land our Meeting House is built upon, came at a dire cost to Native Nations and peoples including the cost of many lives, loss of ancestral homes, and separation from traditional sources of spiritual and physical nourishment and strength.

Returning to Zoom (Adding Monthly Potluck)!

We have had a couple of months of returning to in-person worship with the pandemic easing, but we have had full Zoom rooms and fairly sparse in-person attendance! Rather than continuing to pay rent for so few people to use the space, we discerned in business meeting that we are going to stick to Zoom for now (we can revisit this later in the year), and will include monthly in-person potlucks for some lovely in-person time with each other.

Hope to see you online for Sunday meetings!

Resuming In-Person Worship

On Sunday, March 6th, we are resuming in-person 11:45 am worship at the Encorepreneur rental space. If you have never come to Clear Hearts Quaker Circle, please remember to bring your vaccination card with you and wear a mask.

Zoom will continue to be an option for joining our worship meeting remotely. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Zoom Only Through February

Out of an abundance of caution, we are giving Omicron a little more time to subside before meeting in person again. But we plan to be back to in-person/hybrid Zoom meetings the first Sunday in March! Grateful for our continued community.