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Who will speak?  Who will lift voices of hope?  Many will!

Who will speak?

Who will speak about the Holocaust now that Eva Lassman has died?  That question arose during her memorial service.  Eva was committed to social justice and was willing to speak to educate people not only about her experiences as a Holocaust survivor but also so future generations would not allow such an atrocity to happen again. In doing that, she was a voice of hope.

At each time of loss of a community member or leader in the global community who speaks truth to power, we wonder what we will do without that leader.

Eva was an educator, so her expectation was that those she told would learn and pass the stories and truths along.

Who will speak?  Who will lift voices of hope?

In fact, many people will speak, many people want to educate others to warn upcoming generations about where greed, hate, selfishness lead human society.  There are plenty of voices who want to promote greed, divisions and selfishness.  Much coverage is given to voices of people who want to cut deeply into the general welfare of society.  They are spreading fear so we’ll accept their words and move towards extending recession or even a collapse that will win them political points and power.  Those voices have been repeated enough that there seem to be no other issues than debt reduction.

Who will speak?  Plenty of people will speak and are speaking.

Jerri Shepard is writing a book that will preserve Eva’s words and widsom, gathering information from people in the community about how Eva and her message had impact on their lives.

The Institute for Hate Studies will also carry on her legacy through its international conference in April and its ongoing work.  More than 60 people will be speaking, sharing insights on ways to recognize and combat hate.

This Fig Tree edition is full of events at which many people will be speaking.

This edition also uplifts voices of many people speaking about their passions to improve life and relationships, and to increase justice and peace. 

Larry Burnley is strengthening diversity for students’ lives at Whitworth University and after.  Peace Corps returnees continue to hope and work for better international relationships, committing themselves to lives of service.  Marco Kaltofen found voice in scientific research that he hopes will change the arguments that impede cleanup of nuclear waste at Hanford and at the uranium mines and mill sites on the Spokane Reservation.  Twa-le and Deb Abrahamson continue to voice to concerns for the health of their Spokane Tribal community—and other indigenous communities around the United States and world—because of living near toxic waste.

Those are just some of the voices in this edition, voices amid many over our 28 years:  voices of compassion, voices of challenge, voices alerting us to information and wisdom often overlooked in other media.

We also watch as voices are lifted for freedom and justice in North Africa and the Middle East—people stepping out on streets and staying until dictators leave.  These are voices of hope, along with the voices of folks in Wisconsin and across the nation, saying no to cronyism, corruption and comfort of the few at the expense of the many.

As we approach our annual Benefit Breakfast and new Benefit Lunch, we hope you will value the voices lifting up hope that we bring to you in our effort to provide credible communication.

It’s free, but it’s not.  There are costs to write, edit, do layouts, sell ads, print, mail, hold events and more.  We have no government funds, but advertisers relying on them are cutting back, so we need your donations to make our media possible.

March 16 and 18 are times to celebrate what we do, remind donors of the value of our voice and ask for gifts.  Perhaps they don’t fit your schedule, but we hope you will still take time to donate to support The Fig Tree.

Where else will you consistently find these voices?

Where else will you find people speaking on the issues you care about—breaking out of the either-or quagmire that prevents people from acting to reconcile, revitalize and restore our lives and communities?

Where else will you be encouraged to keep acting on your values, knowing you are not alone?

Who will speak?  We do, and through our media, many people speak, share, reflect and educate each other.

Mary Stamp - Editor