A local community of Quakers unites with others calling for peace, justice and equality for all

FARMINGTON — The local Quaker community and home of the historic 1816 Farmington Quaker Meeting House released a statement in support of Black Lives Matter.

“As we mourn the death of George Floyd, we join our voices with all others who are calling for peace, justice and equality for all," the statement reads. “We look forward to the day when all lives matter in America, and that day will come only when Black Lives Matter.”

The killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, sparked worldwide protests against racism and police brutality. A video shows a white Minneapolis police officer with his knee on Floyd’s neck, pinning him to the ground while making an arrest on May 25. Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide. Black Lives Matters protests and rallies locally have included those in Canandaigua, Geneva, Victor and Naples.

In its statement, the 1816 Farmington Quaker Meeting House said it agrees with “other member organizations in the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience that silence in the face of injustice is unacceptable.” The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience is a global network that promotes remembering and learning from past events to build a peaceful future.

The Farmington Friends is a small Quaker community that historically often witnessed and led reform movements that changed democracy in America — especially for Native Americans, African Americans and women. The community was instrumental in bringing about the Canandaigua Treaty, one of the first treaties the U.S. entered into that brought peace between the federal government and the Six Nations, and recognized the Nations’ sovereignty. The 1816 Farmington Quaker Meeting House on Sheldon Road was the platform for many reformers who addressed crowds advocating for women’s rights, abolition and Native American land rights. Speakers included Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and many others.

“We keep their legacy alive as we promote the same values and goals today; their legacy is our inspiration and provides our direction,” the statement reads. “As the African American civil rights leader and Quaker Bayard Rustin once said: ‘When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.’”

The 1816 Farmington Quaker Meeting House celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2016 with a weekend marked by tours, songs, blessings, portrayals of historical figures and the planting of a Tree of Peace. Many people gave speeches about the significance of the meetinghouse as a center for gatherings to address concerns for equality and justice. The meetinghouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance to 19th-century reform movements.