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The Eastern Washington Legislative Conference will be virtual on Jan. 30

The 2021 Eastern Washington Legislative Conference will be held on Zoom from 8:50 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 30, to inform members of the faith and nonprofit community in the region of issues coming before the upcoming session of the Washington State Legislature and how they can be involved.

“Beyond Words: Doing Justice” is the theme for the conference.

Keynote speaker Walter Kendricks, pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church in Spokane will share insights from his recent involvement with the Governor’s Task Force on Independent Investigations and the Governor’s Commission on African American Affairs.  He also brings experience working locally with the Spokane Ministers Fellowship, Spokane Coalition Against Racism, NAACP Spokane, Carl Maxey Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center and The Fig Tree.

Following Walter’s presentation, four panelists, moderated by Gen Heywood, pastor of Veradale United Church of Christ and convenor of Faith Leaders and Leaders of Conscience, will offer discussion on the theme and his presentation, leading into break-out small group discussion.

Panelists are Kiantha Duncan, president of the Spokane NAACP; Phil Misner, assistant to the Northwest Intermountain Synod bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Chalo Martinez, a Catholic deacon whose career was as a probation/parole officer, and Margo Hill, an attorney, leader in the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women movement and EWU associate professor in urban planning.

There will be two sessions of workshops, also on Zoom, which participants may choose to attend during the time, or on recorded video later.

Those sessions are:

  • Jessica Zimmerle of Earth Ministry/Interfaith Power and Light will lead a workshop on legislation on the environment.
  • Paul Benz of the Faith Action Network (FAN) will discuss budget and revenue issues,. The 2020 to 2023 biennial budget includes funding proposals.
  • Kurtis Robinson, vice president of the Spokane NAACP, will coordinate a session on policing reform.
  • Bob Lutz, member of the State Board of Health, will bring together leaders to discuss racism and the public health disparity.
  • Ben Stuckart of Spokane Low-Income Housing Consortium is collaborating with Terri Anderson of the Washington Tenants Union and the Spokane Alliance to discuss housing issues.
  • The St. Aloysius and St. Ann’s Immigration Committee will present immigration issues.

Between workshop sessions, there will be a “Legislative Briefing” on the status of legislation before the 2021 session.  Leaders will be Paul of FAN, Jessica of Earth Ministry and Donna Christensen of the Washington State Catholic Conference.

Paul noted that because of the pandemic, the Legislative Session will consider about half the usual number of bills.

Because the Eastern Washington Legislative Conference will be presented online, participants need to register in advance to receive the link.

The planners from The Fig Tree, Catholic Charities, Earth Ministry and FAN are coordinating the technology.

For information, call 535-1813, email event@thefigtree.org or find flier at thefigtree.org/2021LegConfFliers.pdf