These summer days, we are grateful for all the work being done at local levels to address police brutality and accountability. Last night, the Governor’s Task Force on Independent Investigations of Police Use of Force met for the first time. FAN is very involved with a new policing reform coalition called WA Coalition for Police Accountability (WACPA) that is led by impacted family members who have lost loved ones due to use of deadly force by police. Both taskforces will be bringing forth legislation to the next legislative session in January.

Meanwhile, FAN joins our partner coalitions in multiple meetings this summer to clarify legislative changes needed in light of the economic impacts of COVID-19 and to address systemic racism. We share some of the actions you can join below. This summer, FAN will be happy to work with you to arrange Interim meetings with your state legislators or members of Congress, and provide support if you’d like to host a candidate forum. Contact us at fan@fanwa.org.


Recovering Together: Getting Cash to Communities

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, our communities have been hit hard. Communities of color, undocumented folks, and those with low incomes are disproportionately impacted by the dual health and economic crisis. COVID-19 has exposed just how many people across the state were one paycheck away from being unable to meet their basic needs. People who were experiencing economic hardship before this crisis are falling further behind.

Federal action to expand unemployment protections and provide stimulus payments were important first steps, but too many people – especially undocumented workers – were excluded, and much more needs to be done to ensure everyone can meet their needs while staying safe. Learn more about why Washington must put cash assistance at the heart of its recovery plan: budgetandpolicy.org/schmudget/washington-needs-cash-stimulus/

The scale of this economic crisis warrants bold, unprecedented action from Washington state lawmakers. Now is the time for lawmakers to invest in a statewide Recovery Rebate – direct cash assistance for people with low incomes – including undocumented immigrants. This puts cash directly into the pockets of the people who drive our economy and who have been most impacted by the fallout of COVID-19.

Recovering Together means investing in communities: In light of the state’s revenue forecast in June, FAN signed on to this letter to lawmakers alongside more than 70 partners across the state for progressive revenue solutions.

Learn more and find out how you can help: Join in the Recovery Rebate Webinar, next Thursday, July 16 at 5:30PM. Hear from local elected officials, small business owners and community members on what recovery looks like in Washington state. Register for the Webinar here.


Protect Community College Students

FAN has joined a coalition of Communities for Our Colleges and invites your support. Community and technical colleges in Washington State are the backbones of our thriving economy and local communities. And without students, there are no colleges. As you know, the pandemic is hitting our communities hard and there’s already a proposal to cut community and technical colleges’ budgets by 10-20%, and we know who this is going to impact the most: low income students and students of color.

Along with students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community supporters of our community and technical colleges, we believe equitable treatment and fair funding for community college is an investment in the future. It is needed now more than ever during this pandemic.

Please consider signing and sharing this petition, and let us know if you’d like to be more involved.


Comment on New Eviction Rent Assistance Program

Many Washingtonians are struggling to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington State Department of Commerce is seeking comments on all aspects of a new short-term and limited Eviction Rent Assistance Program. This draft program is intended to prevent evictions by paying past-due and future rent, targeting limited resources to those with the greatest needs while working to distribute funds equitably. The Eviction Rent Assistance Program overview, award chart, client eligibility form and report form are located here. Feedback due no later than noon on Monday, July 13 to jeff.spring@commerce.wa.gov.


Justice for Asylum Seekers

From the Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice NW: On June 15, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security jointly released a series of proposed changes to the asylum system that, if implemented, would essentially make it impossible for almost anyone to find safety in the United States.

By July 15, you can comment on these proposed changes, which include:

  • Completely barring granting of asylum on the basis of gender
  • Changing the very definition of “persecution.”
  • Redefining some of the core grounds for asylum claims, including membership in a “particular social group,” which could have a dire impact on women and LGBTQ individuals.
  • Denying asylum to people who transited through other countries on their way to the United States.
  • Denying asylum seekers basic due process and their day in court by allowing immigration judges to decide cases just based on asylum seekers’ written applications.
  • Ending asylum for those fleeing violence from intimate partners and family members, gangs and other non-state actors.

Before the proposed changes can be finalized, the administration must review each unique comment that they receive; your comments are important! Make a unique public comment online by July 15 to help keep this rule from going into effect.


Facilitate a Breaking White Silence Group

FAN is offering a Breaking White Silence Facilitators’ training this summer. Some friends of FAN have created and shared a curriculum in recent years using Dr. Robin DiAngelo’s work to develop a foundational understanding and framework of white identity, white privilege and dynamics of racism, to more effectively engage in anti-racism work. They are offering a train-the-facilitator session for FAN advocates who want to deepen the conversation in their own communities. The training will be offered by Karen Schneider-Chen, Cecily Kaplan and Jan Thomas on Tuesday, August 11, 7:00-8:30pm, via Zoom, so it will be available to leaders across the state. There are only 20 spots available, so please save your space soon. There is no cost for the training, but you will need to purchase your own copy of Robin DiAngelo’s What Does It Mean to Be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy – (make sure it’s the Revised Edition), which is available from independent bookstores and libraries. The trainers have developed a 6-week, two-hours per session, curriculum around this textbook that they believe goes deeper than DiAngelo’s mass market book, White Fragility. You will receive the curriculum and toolkit, and have a chance to learn from people who have led these groups multiple times. In return, we ask that you lead a group in your community sometime this fall. We believe this work goes well with the other critical racial equity and policy work you are doing in your communities.