Letters invite advocacy, dream, welcoming
For all the stuff getting attention in the state legislature, where is the voice of the faithful? An excellent source for what is up for consideration is the upcoming Eastern Washington Legislative Conference. Issues, such as gun violence, the environment, housing and so much more, are covered. Complete with bill numbers and contact information for who represents you.
How much easier can it get? There will be a lot of information in the break-out sessions, as well as over lunch with some other church folks who care. Participants will leave with their brains full of information about the issues, as well as a full belly from lunch, and ready to do your part to make this democracy work.
It takes involvement from "we the people" for issues to move with our voices heard. "Making it Happen" is 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25 at Spokane Valley United Methodist Church.
It will be a full day well spent to increase our knowledge of issues in Washington state. It will be my third year. I'm still learning. It takes each of us for TRUE democracy to work.
Cathy Gunderson - Westminster United Church of Christ
The celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 's birthday should be honored by all Americans in a special way. King was not simply a great black leader, he was a great American leader whose human rights victories have directly benefitted millions of women, other people of color, the aged and the handicapped across this country. I am concerned that we do not simply use the holiday as we do most American holidays -partying, relaxing, catching store sales and similar activities.
Dr. King's prophetic life should not be dishonored with a weekend of frivolity and good times. It should be a day of study, reflection and learning about our historical struggles against racism in this country. We study the actions of Dr. King and other leaders in order to confront the growing devastation of the black community.
We must remember that massive unemployment, segregated housing, separate education, increased militarism and cooperation with racism, all issues that Dr. King addressed, have not disappeared. The legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., isn't the work he did, but what he left for others: to carry on his dream and to create the Beloved Community.
The Rev. Robert Trimble, Yakima
Since 1992, World Relief has helped more than 10,000 people fleeing violence and persecution abroad to make a new home here in Spokane. These refugees have added great benefit to our community, boosting our economy, diversifying our culture, starting new businesses, restaurants and faith communities, and reminding us of our essential values as a community and as a nation—liberty and justice for all.
In September, the U.S. President issued an executive order preventing refugees from being resettled into any part of the United States unless written consent was provided by both the state governor and local authorities.
In November, further guidance was released by the State Department clarifying that the local authority needs to be the "county executive."
For this reason, local refugee resettlement agencies World Relief Spokane and Lutheran Community Services Northwest have been in conversation with our county CEO and the board of commissioners for Spokane County for several weeks. We have discussed with them the details of refugee resettlement and its value for our community, as well as for our national interests.
The executive order is unprecedented in several ways.
First, in the 40-year history of the refugee resettlement program there has never been anything like this kind of automatic veto for refugees granted to local communities.
Second, it is extremely unusual to involve county governments in issues related to federal immigration policy.
Third, this creates an enormous potential for chaos and confusion throughout the entire nation if certain states or counties "opt out," especially if they already have populations of refugees living there who have children or spouses seeking to join them from war-torn areas.
There are already court challenges to this law, as it may suggest a kind of discrimination against people who are already fully vetted and authorized to enter the U.S.—just because their immigration status is "refugee." That would make it unconstitutional.
The refugee resettlement program is already fully funded by the federal government, so there is no direct additional cost for states or counties who welcome refugees.
By granting "consent" the county and the state do not take on any additional financial or administrative responsibility for refugees.
They simply agree to continue to let the nonprofit organizations in the community work with the federal government to continue doing what we've been doing here successfully for decades.
We are grateful for our state governor and our county commissioners taking action to specifically welcome refugees.
They all recognize the value of refugees for our nation, our state and our county.
Mark Finney, director, World Relief Spokane
Thanks for all you do, especially now.
Linda Tompkins, Liberty Lake
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, January, 2020