Protecting What We Love: This theme of our spring appeal has taken on even greater significance in recent days, as we all seek to protect our communities and the democracy we love as so much is at risk. While we delayed our spring appeal to this moment, aware earlier that the economic downturn would impact many of our supporters, we are now faced with so many organizations and needs crying out for support. We ask you to share what you can with organizations on the frontlines of racial justice work, as well as consider a gift to FAN to make sure we are also there to bring the voices of faith and conscience to bear on the critical issues of our time. Any gift you make online or postmarked by June 11 (our 9th birthday!) will be matched up to $8,500. (The banner pictured above was created by 350 Seattle and featured at the Youth Climate March last fall.)
Black Lives Matter
We see you across the state speaking up, standing up, calling for justice, marching, praying together, in gatherings large and small. We give thanks for the many ways faith-based advocacy and activism are speaking to this moment. FAN’s Governing Board talked this week about follow-up to our statement against police brutality toward people of color and strengthening the work we do in the face of two pandemics—COVID-19 and its effects on all parts of our lives and the disparate impact on communities of color; and the pandemic of racial injustice and sin of white supremacy, as we call for justice for George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Manny Ellis in Tacoma, Ahmaud Arbery in South Georgia, and so many others, affirming that Black Lives Matter.
We hear faith communities across the state confronting additional realities, including white civilians taking up arms in their communities. We signed on with the Faith Leaders and Leaders of Conscience of Eastern Washington and North Idaho this week in their call for concrete responses to undo systemic racism, even while the Spokane County sheriff makes preparations to use force. We join our voices with others in calling for the demilitarization and de-escalation of police.
We know there are many creative, non-violent ways to move forward, and we invite you to take critical next steps individually and in your communities. We also know that solidarity is a faith value and a powerful force, and requires accountability; we pledge to remain accountable and attentive to hearing from all of you, and especially faith communities and communities of color who are hurting right now.
Meanwhile, our Spring Summit season continues. We’ve met with advocates in SW Washington and Spokane, and will have our first Puget Sound summit this Sunday—online seats are filled, so we have scheduled another one for Tuesday, June 23, and registration is now open. The Central WA summit will be held Sunday, June 14. This is an opportunity to hear updates from FAN and each other, and meet in issue discussion groups to lift up priorities for the year ahead.
Calling for Solidarity and Action
➢ The community working for justice for Manny Ellis in Tacoma, whose death was revealed this week as a homicide under police custody, are asking for calls to the Governor (360-902-4111) for an independent investigation separate from Tacoma and Pierce County law enforcement.
➢ A broad coalition is calling for justice for the Reynolds 6: Six men — Liban Adem, Isaiah Thomas, Daniel Kibby, Abdizikar Mohammed, Anthony Sams, and Zemetrious McNeal — who were kicked out of the Reynolds Work Training Release program by the Department of Corrections just days short of their release and sent back into prison. The coalition believes this was in retaliation for the loved ones of some of the men protesting the unsafe conditions in the Reynolds facility in light of COVID-19. You can learn more and help achieve justice for the “Reynolds 6” and reunite them with their families by taking the action listed here: tinyurl.com/JusticeForReynolds6.
➢ Farmworker Solidarity: While negotiations continue, we urge you to not forget the people who are harvesting and processing the food for our tables. This week David Cruz, a worker from one of the striking warehouses in Yakima died of COVID-19, in the County with the highest per capita COVID-19 rate on the west coast. A lawsuit has been filed on their behalf by Columbia Legal Services. You can support and keep in touch with this campaign by following Familias Unidas por la Justicia, Community to Community Development and others.
➢ Support for Undocumented people: We are still waiting to hear a response from Governor Inslee regarding relief funds for undocumented workers. Meanwhile, there is an online vigil next week sponsored by the ministries of Jesuits West: facebook.com/events/254915238934963 To keep informed of the many unfolding developments follow Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network.
➢ The national Interfaith Immigration Coalition is circulating a sign-on letter for people of faith and faith-based organizations to address all the anti-immigrant impacts of discriminatory policies, exacerbated by COVID-19, on asylum seekers, deportations, detainees, families. Please join FAN in signing on; the letter closes June 12.
➢ While Republicans in the Senate refuse to consider the HEROES Act with protections for people most impacted by COVID-19 — including SNAP, housing, healthcare — we can still thank our Congressional delegation who voted for it in the House, and let our Senators Murray and Cantwell know of our support for the HEROES Act.
➢ Please keep us informed of other actions you are taking and ways to bring FAN’s statewide voice into the critical work for justice we share.
Census 2020 is Critical
Making sure historically undercounted groups (Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities, immigrants, low-income people, elderly, children) are counted in Census 2020 continues to be one of the most critical things we need to do to undergird our democracy—for representation and resources!
As our Census Equity team talks with many of you, we hear that your faith communities are supporting each other through regular phone calls or zoom prayer and meditation groups. We think that’s wonderful, and a great opportunity to also encourage others to complete the census! As you reach out to connect and check in about health and groceries, maybe you can ask also whether someone has been able to complete the census, or if they could use some help. Kendell and Elizabeth have been making some of these calls for our Census Equity Team and have developed a script that can help guide you. This includes extra information about the census to help you feel comfortable in making such calls. Just contact Elizabeth at email@example.com for a copy. Thank you for continuing to spread the word about this critical action we can take on behalf of our communities!
Let’s keep up the great work! We celebrate that some Washington counties are nearing 70% or more in self-response rate. We applaud Clark County in leading the state in census participation for several weeks now, thanks to some incredible outreach work there! You can help ensure the other 30% of people are counted. Check out your own county on this map, and contact us for strategies on making sure EVERYBODY COUNTS in Census 2020.