A Brief Report from Interfaith Advocacy Day 2013
“Do No Harm: Invest in People!”
On February 20, 2013 400 advocates from around Washington State, representing more than a dozen faith expressions, traveled to Olympia for FAN’s annual Interfaith Advocacy Day (IFAD). Representing a mix of long-time advocates with folks who had never before visited the Washington State Capitol, the excitement and energy level was palpable. The morning began with a multi-faith welcome led by regional interfaith leaders, which led into a Q&A session about the current legislative session with FAN co-director, Paul Benz. Governor Jay Inslee then provided one of the day’s biggest highlights, speaking to IFAD participants about the importance of doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God (Micah 6:8) when it comes to his legislative priorities. The morning session came to a close with participants able to choose among five different issue-oriented workshops to attend. From wage theft and immigration reform to the environment to gun violence, each of the five workshops had well over 50 participants in attendance.
Following the lunch break, during which advocates were encouraged to caucus with others coming from the same legislative district, the time that many participants had been looking forward to finally arrived: meeting with legislators! Collectively, our 400 faith advocates participated in 100 different legislative meetings covering 43 of Washington State’s 49 districts. The meetings were overwhelmingly positive. However, the one consistent message delivered by each legislator was to urge our friends, family, and faith community members to continue to email, write letters, and/or call in so that legislators know how their constituents feel on a particular issue/bill. IFAD came to a close with a series of legislators speaking to the larger group about human trafficking, the budget, and wage theft.
All in all, IFAD was truly great. As people have had time to reflect upon their experiences, submitting comments to us via survey, we realize that the day was not perfect nor without some minor confusion. However, FAN is committed to reading each comment we receive in order that next year’s IFAD event can build on this year’s success.
Thank you to each of you who participated and helped out. The day would not have been as wonderful without you. Don’t forget that you can continue to follow the progress of the bills that FAN is tracking by visiting our legislative agenda page.
You can find photographs by on our Facebook page. Share them with your community!