End of 2017 Reflections: Celebrating Resilience and Our Movement

We are grateful for this time of year to look back on all we’ve accomplished together, and the resilience of people of faith working together for the common good.

It seems RESILIENCE was the word of the year for 2017! We heard it everywhere—from our faith leaders, to foundations offering grants and workshops for non-profits, in our social media feeds, yoga classes, and in conversation with friends. How do we build resilience to sustain our work?

There were many examples of resilience-building in FAN’s work this year: We marched and marched until our shoes wore thin, for women, for immigrants, for science (something we never thought we’d have to march for)! We marched against white supremacist hatred displayed in Charlottesville and in the constant attacks on our Muslim, Jewish, and immigrant neighbors. We found solidarity and strength in our marching together, some for the first time. Our Governing Board Co-Chair Rev. Carol Jensen reflected on this in her talk at our Annual Dinner, posted on our blog.

We strategized in coalition with hundreds of others, working overtime in this longest state legislative session ever. Even amidst the divisions, we witnessed success for some bills we supported. We especially lift up the success of the Paid Family and Medical Leave bill that will make a difference for thousands of people in our state, and the Post-Secondary Education in Prisons bill that will help strengthen reentry options. Struggling for justice in the midst of division requires the kind of resilience that comes from collaboration.

We continue to raise our voices together at the federal level against the current tax bill that favors wealthy interests and harms low-income and middle class neighbors. We share with you breaking information as we hear from our national coalition partners what action is needed in both Washingtons. And we celebrate huge wins of the year like halting the Muslim Ban through the leadership of our Attorney General and defending healthcare and the Affordable Care Act. Our celebrations of those moments build resilience.

Our FAN network continues to grow and build resilience at the local level too: This year, we welcomed 22 new faith communities to our network. We celebrate our first Catholic church joining FAN in this interfaith collaboration—St. Leo’s Parish in Tacoma, known for their activism and services in the Hilltop area. Just a few weeks ago we welcomed a new synagogue, Herzl-Ner Tamid Congregation on Mercer Island, and Lakeridge Lutheran Church in South Seattle. Seattle Mennonite recently joined as our first Mennonite community. We welcomed new engagement with the Muslim community as the Muslim Association of Puget Sound joined our work. We’ve welcomed new communities from the north with First Congregational Church in Bellingham, to the south with Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver. We connected with communities to the east in Spokane, Pullman and the Tri-Cities, and west to Port Angeles and the Olympic Peninsula in 22 cluster gatherings this Fall. Crisscrossing the state, we connect for resilience!

With the vision of our board, we raised funds and were able to hire Amber Dickson as a full-time organizer, bringing her experience as an intern with FAN, her heart for faith-based advocacy, and passion for social justice to our work. With Amber and our whole staff and board, we support resilience.

We have a robust state legislative agenda to carry out in 2018. You can view this work in progress here and you’ll be hearing more about it in the weeks ahead. We will continue to be attentive to action in Congress, with budget concerns, protection of our civil and human rights, and care for our planet. We also hear the concerns of faith communities on local issues. Rooted locally and acting at the state and federal levels, we build resilience.

THANK YOU for all the ways you participate and persevere with us in this work! As the social media meme goes, while the arc of the moral universe is long, it’s not going to bend toward justice by itself! Raising your moral voices, living out your beliefs and acting in community, bends the arc. Resiliency allows for the bendability of our individual lives, our strategies, and our communities to arc toward justice.

FAN will continue to build resilience with you in 2018. We welcome your financial support to help do that as well. There’s still time to make a tax-deductible, year-end gift to help us sustain our movement. Maybe you missed the Annual Dinner or would like to increase your giving? During this candle-lighting season, help FAN the Flames for justice year-round by being a monthly donor. Consider a donation of stock to FAN. Let us know what other ways you would like to participate and support this movement!

Blessings and gratitude from our staff and board, your resilient partners for the common good!