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Benefit speakers express support for The Fig Tree

To view the videos of the four Benefit speakers, click here -- or on the individual pictures.


In my 18-year involvement with homeless services and shelters, I started doing documentaries on homelessness in greater Spokane and wrote a book about Camp Hope that included voices of people I might not agree with. We need to find common ground, so we work together to address community issues. That represents what I call building shalom. Mary says shalom is a goal of The Fig Tree. That's not just peace. It's the wholeness, restoration and well-being for everyone in our community.

 Shalom for the homeless is a constant theme of my documentary work.

To show a better optic about people experiencing homelessness, we needed to tell a different story, to set a better tone than "us against them." It's about us working together to build the shalom of everyone in our community, including the homeless. A chapter of my book, A Place to Exist: The True and Untold Story of Camp Hope, is on building shalom. What does that have to do with The Fig Tree? In Matt. 25, Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers—or shalom makers.

 The Fig Tree helps us find common ground and build shalom. That's why I support it and feel encouraged when they include a story about me. If that contributes to us as a community finding common ground and building shalom, then I'm all in.

The Fig Tree also publishes the Resource Directory. It's absolute gold. Every homeless service provider in our city has a copy on their desk or within reach. It provides hundreds of copies to the Spokane Homeless Coalition and Spokane Homeless Connect. It's an essential resource.

We consume the directory on a regular basis looking for resources, so I encourage us to support The Fig Tree, common ground and shalom building as we move into the future.


About 35 years ago, my husband Troy and I came through Fairchild. There was no Spanish newspaper, so I talked with Hispanics here and started La Prensa Bilingue.

When I was out in the community, I often saw Mary taking photos.  I learned she published a newspaper. That was inspiring because I was also doing a newspaper. She encouraged me. She gave me hope saying, "You can do it."

Now she has 40 years of doing the newspaper. I have 28 years now. I can look forward to more. She's a good example.

When we came, Spokane was only 2 or 3 percent minorities. When I walk around even now, I hardly see any people of color. One of the things I love about The Fig Tree is all the information about diversity, equity and inclusion, and what we need for the community to flourish. It's important to know we have a multicultural community, so we are able to understand each other. I used to go to places where I was the only minority in the room but there was always Mary.

The Fig Tree is a guiding light, so I definitely think we need to support this newspaper financially and by sharing stories. It is the best thing that we have for this community.

Being Buddhist, I also love that we can talk about any religion in this paper. I love the paper and the resource directory. It has helped me a lot.


I'm a sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. The Fig Tree is important to the Inland Northwest community as an ecumenical, interfaith, diverse newspaper and other media. 

Forty years ago, my community had a dedicated member, Sister Bernadine Casey, who had been a high school French and English teacher. She became convinced about the importance of media, especially radio, as a way to educate in order to shape and inform values.

When she moved from Seattle to Spokane, she met Mary Stamp, who was starting a newspaper. So Bernadine shifted her energies from radio and to The Fig Tree and began to help write for and edit the paper. She was meticulous and never missed anything in editing. Through the years, many sisters have served as writers, editors, board members and volunteers. With the annual financial support of my religious community, we attest to the importance of The Fig Tree.

A prayer I say frequently says, "In the search, a flicker of hope arises, enough to keep me searching for you, God, who are slowly revealed in the tiny sparks of daily encounters."

The Fig Tree provides our community with journalism. Its articles are a tiny spark of hope—or bigger one—but that tiny spark of hope in our daily encounters inspires us.

The faithful people and activities in The Fig Tree feature stories give us examples that motivate us to work for justice, equity, harmony and the common good. Join with the Sisters of the Holy Names in continuing The Fig Tree legacy with your support.


We need to commit to "the why"—why we do things is more important than what we do.

Great leaders inspire others and are inspired by others.

They give others a sense of purpose, importance and belonging. They acknowledge others' good works. They give others a voice and they share their stories.

Great leaders and organizations start with asking, "Why?" Which is our purpose, cause or belief? Why does The Fig Tree, a nonprofit grassroots newspaper exist? Why should anyone support it?

I believe The Fig Tree starts with why. In everything they say and do the why is clear. We are here today to celebrate the 40th year of The Fig Tree.

I believe the overwhelming majority of us in this room are here because we know and believe in the why of Mary Stamp. At some point along our way, Mary has inspired us to serve on the board, to provide her office and distribution space, and to tell our stories in The Fig Tree.

The why of Mary began with her parents and upbringing, and her early exposure to people of the world, including two from a mission school and hospital in Zimbabwe. She recalled being inspired by their stories. Her interest in listening to the stories of ordinary people, and how their faith and values intersect with what they do inspires her journalism.

Every encounter with another human being, she said, is an encounter with the sacred, with the all-being. Mary continues to be inspired by stories of ordinary people.

Let us celebrate the life of The Fig Tree and support the why of it with our dollars.

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, April 2024