Fig Tree Header 2012

November 2014 News Events

Smart Justice Symposium seeks to empower change

Smart Justice Spokane Community Symposium from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Gonzaga Law School will bring together Smart Justice Spokane’s 30 partner organizations, community members and professionals to share information and tools needed to reform the criminal justice system.

The criminal justice system is expensive, ineffective and unfair, said Liz Moore, director of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane and coordinator of the symposium.
“Communities of color, people living in poverty, and neighbors with mental illness, addiction and disabilities are hardest hit,” she said. “Now, non-violent people and those needing treatment end up jailed, which divides families and stifles economic opportunity.
“We work together to find solutions. Instead of warehousing a high percentage of our community in jail, particularly people who pose no danger to our neighborhoods, we need to spend tax dollars on proven programs that are fiscally responsible, reduce crime and create a strong, healthy community,” Liz said.

In its three years, she said, Smart Justice Spokane has developed recommendations for comprehensive criminal justice reform and influenced the Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission’s blueprint for reform, supported establishing the Law and Justice Council and the Community Court—a proven Smart Justice program—and advocated for banning the box that asks city job applicants about criminal records.

“Now community understanding, engagement and accountability are key to winning smart justice in Spokane,” Liz said.  “If we are successful, Spokane will lead the way in the state and country in comprehensive criminal justice reform.”

Featured speakers at the symposium are Jennifer Kim, policy director at Ella Baker Center, on “The Power of Grassroots People to Drive Change,” and Julian Adler, director of the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn, NY, on “Smart Justice Programs in Action.”

Ella Barker Center advances racial and economic justice to ensure dignity and opportunity for low-income people and people of color. 

For more than 17 years, it has formed coalitions and broken the cycle of disinvestment and incarceration in communities of color. It has closed abusive youth prisons in California and reduced prison populations by 80 percent.

Red Hook Center, the nation’s first multi-jurisdictional community court, diverted more than 500 people from jail last year.  Julian is also an investigator on the Misdemeanor Assessment Project, a federally funded, multi-site study of risks and needs of misdemeanor populations.  He helped start Newark Community Solutions, the first community court in New Jersey.
Symposium workshops include: an overview of the smart justice vision, mental health and addiction treatment, reducing barriers to employment for ex-offenders, reforming legal financial obligations, racism and the criminal justice system, restorative justice, problem-solving courts and non-jail solutions.

There will also be workshops on action skills and tools, the grassroots campaign, knowing rights, moving the agenda through the Law and Justice Council, sharing stories, media strategies for messaging to the middle, communicating with legislators, and naming racism and shifting the story line.

For information, call 838-7870 or visit

Gonzaga presents forum on business models for doing good

The Gonzaga University School of Business Administration presents “Doing Good,” a forum on business models with a social commitment, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 17 in the Jepson Center’s Wolff Auditorium.

The event features representatives from organizations that leverage business for social good. They will discuss organizational models, new approaches to solving old problems, and new perspectives on the possibilities.

Speakers include Jason Clark, president and CEO, Second Harvest of the Inland Northwest; Jason Henning, vice president of investor and donor relations, Global Partnerships; Ellen Maccarone, Gonzaga associate professor of philosophy and president of the Board of Directors for Spokane’s Main Market Co-Op; and Stephanie Ryan, senior associate of community development, B-Corporations & B-Lab.

For information, call 313-7036 or email

Nonprofit sends backpacks, supplies to West Africa

For Kimberly Sonko, whose husband’s family is from The Gambia and Sierra Leone, the Ebola crisis hits close to home.
Christ’s Hands on Africa, a Spokane Valley nonprofit she heads is collecting bar soap, hand sanitizer, bleach, towels, gloves and body wash disinfectant so school children can wash their hands without harsh bleach that makes their hands cracked and vulnerable to sores, she said. The group is collecting the items and funds for shipping from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 1, at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 3606 S. Schafer; Crabwalk Studios, 13807 E. 20th, and Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 7307 N. Nevada.

The nonprofit also  recently collected more than 100 backpacks with school supplies for children in The Gambia who lost a parent in peacekeeping missions.  They will raise funds to ship the backpacks at “Shop With A Purpose” from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6, at Redeemer Lutheran Church.  The event includes local vendors, a silent auction, entertainment and dinner. 

For information, call 413-6389 or email

International Marketplace has two new vendors

The Jubilee International Marketplace, which is Friday and Saturday, Nov. 7 and 8, at First Presbyterian Church, 318 S. Cedar, features two new vendors and 30 long-time vendors.  One new vendor is Benedicto, who will bring paintings from Guatemala  The second is Vida Nueva with rugs from a cooperative in Mexico. Clothing will be a new feature of some returning vendors.

For information, call 747-1058.

Fall Folk Fest will be on Nov. 8 and 9

The 19th annual Spokane Folklore Society Fall Folk Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 8 and 9, with eight stages of traditional and ethnic dance, music, workshops, entertainment, crafts and jamming at the Spokane Community College Lair.
About 5,000 attend the festival,organized by the Spokane Folklore Society to support regional folk musicians and local folk artists in 100 performing groups representing Celtic, bluegrass, blues, African, Asia and Middle Eastern traditions.

For information, call 624-5693 or visit

Retreat center announces events

Immaculate Heart Retreat Center (IHRC) has a Weekend Grief Retreat, “Life after Loss,” Friday to Sunday, Nov. 14 to 16, led by Lori DeRoche, a registered nurse and grief recovery educator.
Father David Kuttner, a spiritual director at IHRC and pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Tekoa, and St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, Oakesdale, will lead an Advent of Prayer, “Journey to Christmas.” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 3.  . 
Sr. Julie Wokash, OSB, leads a Serenity 12-Step Retreat Friday to Sunday, Dec. 5 to 7.  The programs are at the center, 6910 S. Ben Burr Rd. 

For information, call 448-1224 or visit

Drama presents innocent people freed from death row

“The Exonerated,” a dramatic reading with words of six wrongfully condemned persons who emerged from death row to reclaim their lives, will be presented at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 21 and Saturday, Nov. 22, at Gonzaga University’s Magnuson Theatre.
“With 146 exonerations nationally and an undetermined number of innocents still on death row or executed, we should explore sentencing options that keep us safe, cost less and do not kill innocent people caught in a broken criminal justice system,” said Shar Lichty of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane’s Inland NW Death Penalty Abolition Group. “We hope these performances will increase awareness.” 

For information, call 838-7870.

Legal Voice advises seniors

To meet the needs of seniors, caregivers and families, retired attorney Anne Counts from Legal Voice in Seattle is offering two “legal wellness” workshops. 
One is from 12:30 to 2 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 13, at Corbin Senior Center, 827 W. Cleveland, and the other from 10 to 11:30 a.m., Friday, Nov. 14 at the Hillyard Senior Center, 4001 N. Cook.

For information, call 206-399-8401.

600 raise $170,000 for Transitions

More than 600 philanthropic Spokane citizens came together on Oct. 9, and raised $170,000 to invest in Transitions’ work to end poverty and homelessness for women and children.  Event highlights included participant speakers, a video and keynote speech from a former participant, who is now a professional. 

The theme of the event was growth and wholeness and focused on the growth that happens for women and children served at Transitions as they recover from traumatic experiences.
A former participant shared: “People in poverty who are hopeless need people to inspire them and help them understand that poverty can be temporary.”

For information, call 509-328-6702, email or visit

Planning begins for Legislative Conference

Meeting Oct. 4 in conjunction with the Faith Action Network Cluster Meeting at Salem Lutheran, the Eastern Washington Legislative Conference Planning Committee decided to hold the conference from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan 31, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 316 E. 24th Ave.
The theme will be “Raising Prophetic Voices: Faith Communities Advocate for Justice.”

Workshops will include priorities of the Faith Action Network of Washington:
• Wealth inequality through wage theft and minimum wage;
• The state budget related to food and hunger programs, farmers’ market nutrition, restore TANF cuts, repeal tax exemptions and income tax;
• Dismantling the culture of violence related to human trafficking, smart justice, investing in public safety through higher education in prisons, family unity, local law enforcement not honoring ICE requests and preventing gun violence;
• Environment related to tightening regulation on oil and coal trains and a carbon emissions tax;
• Housing and homelessness;
• Pax Christi speaker on ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and interfaith relations.

For information, call 216-6090 or email

UNA seeks ideas for new agenda

The United Nations Association (UNA) – Spokane is planning a Community Consultation from 2 to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6, at Gonzaga University’s College Hall Room 101.
The UNA is working with other associations around the country, seeking information from communities on local and global issues to share ideas for the Post-2015 Development Agenda being discussed at the United Nations.

In Spokane, the consultation focus is on issues of climate change, poverty, youth and refugees.

Stacy Taninchev, coordinator of the event, is working with Model UN students and the UNA-Spokane group, to recruit discussion groups led by local nonprofits.
“We hope to shape the global agenda and think of ways to achieve the same goals for our community,” said Stacy.

For information, call 313-3610 or email





Published by The Fig Tree, 1323 S. Perry St., Spokane, WA 99202
509-535-4112 / 509-535-1813


Smart Justice Community Forum

Fig Tree donate ad


Comment on this article

facebook logo
on our Facebook page

twitter logo
on our Twitter feed

Bookmark and Share

Share this article
on your favorite social media