In early 2020, FAN received a generous $50,000 gift from University Christian Church in Seattle as it closed, and members helped create Journey Christian Church in Lake City. Pictured here presenting the check to FAN Co-Director Elise DeGooyer are FAN advocates Rosemary Blakemore and Lanny Shuman, who with members of the committee Shirley Towner, Nancy Irvin, and Carl Johnson, chose to support social justice efforts through FAN. Because of this gift, FAN’s Governing Board has recently decided to move forward a long-held dream of regional organizers who will work in other parts of the state to build relationships and momentum for advocacy. We’ve just hired our regional organizer for Central WA, Zahra Roach pictured on the right, and you can read more about her below. Thank you University Christian for your legacy for justice!
This Is It! Reach a Complete Census Count!
Census 2020 collection ends at the end of September, so we are sharing a statewide final push to get to 100% participation in Washington! As of this newsletter, our state is at 97.7% participation and is 4th in the nation. Thank you to all who have worked to ensure your neighbors are counted and receive adequate representation and resources as a result! We know that the remaining group of uncounted people are those who have been historically, systemically undercounted, and their voices are the most important to reach.
Wecountwashington.org has a TON of resources for you to use to promote Census 2020 in its final days, from over 2,000 social media graphics (including a customizable image), to messaging tips, and even a Zoom background to use! Follow FAN on Facebook and Twitter to see and share our posts, including our Census video featuring interfaith leaders and created by Pyramid Communications. Together we can harness our Census 2020 power and get to 100% participation!!
Welcome Zahra Roach!
I am ecstatic about joining this heart-centered organization to do advocacy work here in Central Washington as one of FAN’s new part-time Regional Organizers. I will be available to you via email, phone, or zoom weekdays from noon until 4pm. You can find my contact information in the signature. In the midst of pandemic, wildfires and climate crisis, and racial injustice, our faith communities have a place and a calling to collective action. These crises have sapped us all of our energy and attention, and I hope that I can help you and your community to actively pursue HOPE through social justice and policy. My intent is to connect with liaisons and support and strengthen efforts that your faith community is working on. Additionally, I will pursue creating new relationships with faith communities hopefully with an eye towards communities of color and impacted communities.
Rooted in community at Islamic Center of the Tri Cities and Community Unitarian Universalist Church, I have built deep relationships over decades within the interfaith, nonprofit, social justice, education, and civic community here in the Tri Cities. I tapped into these relationships to promote the completion of Census 2020 as an Equity Coordinator for Faith Action Network this year. It was an honor to work on behalf of an organization that I believe in and to do work that fills my cup. I want to continue to build new relationships, maintain longstanding ones, and improve the efficacy of advocates working on behalf of FAN.
Digital Equity During COVID-19
FAN joins Equity in Education and a broad coalition to make sure everyone has the tools they need to succeed in this virtual reality we’re living. 285,000 students do not have access to the internet, for reasons of lacking internet connection, lacking hardware (laptops, hotspot, modem), or lacking digital literacy.
Connect WA Coalition is requesting $6.1M from the state budget for:
– affordable, robust broadband internet service;
– internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user via a Digital Navigator Model;
– access to digital literacy training to our students, elders, and adults;
– quality technical support and a workforce development pipeline from within our BIPOC communities; and
– applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation and collaboration.
Referendum 90: Safe and Healthy Youth
The Faith Action Network Governing Board has unanimously endorsed Referendum 90 for Safe and Healthy Youth which will appear on your November ballot. This measure asks you to approve SB 5395 (Sen. Claire Wilson) which requires all public schools to teach age appropriate, inclusive, comprehensive sexual health education to K-12 students. With your help, we were able to gather over 100 faith leaders to sign the letter of support – be sure to read the campaign press release! Learn more at approve90wa.org, and get involved with the campaign here.
Faith Communities Engaging Voters
This election season is moving quickly, and faith communities are active in getting voters registered, educated, and mobilized for the important issues at stake. Watch this space for opportunities to join in candidate forums in your legislative district. FAN is currently part of planning one for Monday, October 12, for legislative districts 36, 37, and 43 with All Pilgrims Church, Ballard First Lutheran and others. FAN is co-sponsoring other candidate forums as well, and we will send those dates out soon as well as invite you to ones happening in your district.
Faith community teams are also working on voter engagement. First United Methodist Church in Seattle has convened films and conversations about voting rights, and are working with Reclaim the Vote to send postcards to voters, as well as hosting a discussion of Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook (watch the film ahead of time and then join the discussion). Some Temple de Hirsch Sinai volunteers have been working locally with Common Power. Plymouth Church and Congregation Beth Shalom committees have reached out about ways to get involved in voter engagement. National coalitions like Coalition on Human Needs have had recent webinars about where to begin–you can watch that here.
Make sure your community members know they can register and get questions answered at the Secretary of State’s website: sos.wa.gov/elections.
How are you helping to spread the word about voting? Share what you’re doing with FAN and inspire others!
Save the Date for the Annual Dinner!
Save the Date – Sunday, November 15, early evening for FAN’s Annual Dinner. We will celebrate in a new way this year with an online program attended by FAN advocates across the state! Think about who you might like to invite to join you in this virtual experience—be a FAN ambassador and host a pre-event party. Stay tuned for your invitation and a registration link you can share.