Interfaith Advocacy Day 2018 was held on February 20 at the United Churches of Olympia.

We are still giving thanks for a full and spirited Interfaith Advocacy Day in Olympia! Our network is full of intrepid people—whether the snow is falling as it did all day on Tuesday, or the forecast for their favorite bills is cloudy, they use the power of their presence and voice to advocate with their elected officials.

More than 285 advocates joined us on Tuesday, draped in orange scarves in solidarity with orange worn for gun violence prevention in the wake of Parkland and anti-hunger advocacy that is core to FAN. The morning started with a welcome from Rev. Dr. Tammy Stampfli and Lara Crutsinger-Perry from The United Churches of Olympia, our hosts and a member of our network. Faith leaders provided short reflections on how their faith traditions call for advocacy: Rabbi Aaron Meyer of Temple De Hirsch Sinai focused on hope, reminding us that Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) is both our heritage and mission. Abbot Genjo Marinello of Chobo-Ji Zen community in Seattle reminded us that it’s not enough that we pray; our faith communities can do much together to make an impact for justice. Rev. Bianca Davis-Lovelace spoke powerfully about her own experience of feeling God’s presence in activism for Black Lives Matter and in standing with the poor and marginalized in society; she is helping organize Washington Poor Peoples’ Campaign.

Attendees met together in 36 legislative district caucuses, getting to know their neighbors and putting together plans for their legislative visits that followed in the afternoon. Workshops on issues critical to our communities were offered, including:

  • Advocacy 101 with Claire Lane of the Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition
  • Budget Issues with Julie Watts from Washington Budget and Policy Center and Jackie Vaughn of All In for Washington, along with our FAN Economic Justice Working Group co-chairs Jane Sisk and Steve Clagett
  • Protecting Housing and Preventing Homelessness with Michael Ramos of the Church Council of Greater Seattle and Phoebe Nelson, Wenatchee board member of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.
  • Sustaining Washington’s Environment with Jessica Zimmerle and Leda Zakarison from Earth Ministry and Abby Brockway from FAN’s Environmental Justice Working Group.
  • Promoting Safe and Just Communities through Gun Safety with Cathy Munsen from the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and Criminal Justice Reform with FAN Co-Director Paul Benz.

Legislators paid special visits to address the group, including Breakfast After the Bell champion Rep. Monica Stonier, Rep. Karen Keiser, Sen. Rebecca Saldana, and Rep. Mike Chapman. Abby Brockway led some singing for climate justice around the sundial while snow fell.

FAN advocates walk their talk! See them in action through photos on our Facebook Page or using the hashtag #2018IFAD. We hope to see you next year!