Interfaith Advocacy Days 2020
The new year has brought plenty of work in the state legislature, our local contexts, and the national scene. As Rabbi Seth Goldstein stated in his reflection at Interfaith Advocacy Day in Olympia, we are trudging through muddy times, but together we can change the world as it is into the world as it should be. Thank you for showing up in Olympia, Yakima, and Spokane to raise voices of faith and justice – your passionate advocacy gives us hope!
This session, we sponsored three Interfaith Advocacy Days and Legislative Conferences, and we were thankful to have avoided the snow this year! Our first event was the Eastern Washington Legislative Conference held at Spokane Valley United Methodist Church and co-hosted with our Spokane partners on January 25. Over 150 advocates joined us for issue workshops, an interfaith panel, and strategizing on advocacy efforts this year. We are grateful for this strong connection across the state!
Next we had our annual Interfaith Advocacy Day in Olympia, gathering about 200 advocates at The United Churches of Olympia on February 6. To open IFAD 2020, we heard from the new Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins, were ushered into the work by Rabbi Goldstein, and offered workshops on our Legislative Agenda issue topics. Workshops were led by Earth Ministry, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network, Balance Our Tax Code, FAN’s Health Care work group, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, and Co-Director Paul Benz on the topic of Criminal Justice. Groups broke out into caucus meetings based on their legislative districts and headed out to meetings with their legislators! We ended the day hearing from some key elected officials on how the session is going and how FAN can support the passage of justice-centered bills.
Finally, we co-hosted Yakima Interfaith Advocacy Day at St. Michael’s Episcopal Mission on February 8 with our partners at the Yakima Association of Faith Communities. More than 50 advocates attended a day of workshops on the issues and legislative updates, with the theme “Everyone Counts.” We also urged the importance of Census 2020 and the collaborative work FAN is doing to assure adequate financial resources and representation at the federal level.
Paul often reminds us that these one-time events are not all that we can and should do during session – be sure to sign up for E-News at fanwa.org to catch our weekly Advocacy Alerts and send your elected officials messages about upcoming bills, and check out our Legislative Agenda and our Bill Tracker to follow the bills we are advocating for.
We are so thankful for your continued relationship with us and for your advocacy that ensures that the words of the faithful reach the houses of power. As Rabbi Goldstein emphasized,
“Indeed, that is the miracle—that we can create the world that we want through hard work and persistence. That we have the power to build relationships and tell our stories and change minds. That we can advocate for solutions that bring about a more just and peaceful world that honors the inherent dignity of each and every person. That we can say, we must care for Creation, using the best science and limitless creativity. That we can say no to private prisons and the death penalty and discrimination. That we can say welcome to those who come to this country seeking refuge and opportunity. That we can say we need a more equitable economic foundation with a fair distribution of resources, so that everyone has what they need including food, health care, and a home. We can say this because we are a people of faith, rooted in our values and our texts, who are willing to go through the mud in order to get to the Promised Land. Indeed, we, more than anyone, know that that is the only way to get there.”
With deep gratitude from Faith Action Network Staff & Governing Board!