Legislative Conference is virtual on Jan. 30
The 2021 Eastern Washington Legislative Conference from 8:50 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 30, on Zoom will look at issues before the 2021 Washington State Legislature.
The keynote speaker is Walter Kendricks, pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church, who will speak on "Beyond Words: Doing Justice" based on his involvement with the Governor's Task Force on Independent Investigations and the Governor's Commission on African American Affairs, as well as with the Spokane Ministers Fellowship, Spokane Coalition Against Racism, NAACP Spokane, Carl Maxey Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center and The Fig Tree.
Four panelists will respond to his presentation and offer reflections. They will be moderated by Gen Heywood, pastor of Veradale United Church of Christ, . Panelists are Kiantha Duncan, president of NAACP Spokane; Phil Misner, assistant to bishop the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Northwest Intermountain Synod; Chalo Martinez, a Catholic deacon, and Margo Hill, an attorney and leader in the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women movement.
Workshops are on environmental issues led by Jessica Zimmerle of Earth Ministry; budget and revenue issues led by Paul Benz of the Faith Action Network; police reform led by Kurtis Robinson of NAACP Spokane; public health and racism led by Bob Lutz of the State Health Department; housing issues led by Ben Stuckart of Spokane Low-Income Housing Consortium and Terri Anderson of Washington Tenants Union, and immigration issues led by the St. Ann's and St. Aloysius Immigration Committee.
Between workshop sessions is a "Legislative Briefing" on bills, led by Paul of FAN, Jessica of Earth Ministry and Donna Christensen of the Washington State Catholic Conference.
With the event online, participants must register in advance for the link. To register, call 535-1813, or click this secure link for a link to Register.
Virtual Benefits will be March 5 and 10
The Fig Tree is recruiting team leaders this year instead of table hosts for its Lunch-Time Benefit at noon, Friday, March 5, and its Breakfast-Time Benefit at 8 a.m., Wednesday, March 10.
Both events will be virtual, but organizers are still determining which technical formats to use for a combined live and pre-recorded event.
'Team leaders are important as the main folks responsible for helping us recruit people to attend, hear our story and donate to support our work," said editor Mary Stamp. "The benefits bring in about $34,000 to supplement income from ads, sponsors, partners and grants."
The theme for the benefits is "Beyond Words: Doing Justice." Speakers are chosen from those whose stories have run in The Fig Tree in 2020 and 2021. Organizers are also planning a video.
"Each year the benefits are times of celebration of our mission and inspiration. We share stories of people who make a difference because of their faith and values. In doing that we bring hope that inspires others to act or to join in common action," said Mary.
Comments of speakers are shared through the year to inspire other giving that supports both The Fig Tree monthly newspaper and the annual Resource Directory: Guide to Congregations and Community Resources.
"We invite people interested in being team leaders to let us know they will help," Mary said.
For information, call 535-1813 or email email@example.com.
Video depicts winter impact on homeless
Seeking to interject reality into discussions of homelessness and the need for low-barrier warming centers, Maurice Smith of Rising River Media, created a four-minute-30-second piece, "Winter for the Unsheltered Homeless."
Filmed in early December, he followed outreach workers from Jewels Helping Hands and Spokane Street Medicine.
"My goal was to illustrate the practical result in the homeless community when the city's plan for addressing theoretical homelessness lags woefully behind the reality of homelessness," he said. "The pandemic didn't create this problem, but it has served to dramatically expose the pre-existing condition of neglect.
When Maurice took the video, all shelter beds in the city were full and there were enough people on the streets or camping to fill another warming center. The situation continues.
"These people have no access to a shelter bed to stay safe and warm," Maurice said. "It's not the way things ought to be."
There is no narrative in the piece, just graphics and some music to help the pictures tell the story.
For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see it at https://youtu.be/i8UOmOI0V7w.
Hate Studies Institute plans conference
In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, political divisiveness, racial inequity and climate injustice, understanding how dehumanization and othering harm communities and the world is as critical as ever, said Kristine Hoover, director of the Institute for Hate Studies.
The multidisciplinary field of hate studies gathers people to share new understandings to address hate in any one of its manifestations—such as racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, religious intolerance, ethno-violence, anti-immigration animus and ableism.
The sixth International Conference on Hate Studies, "Justice and Equity: Challenging Hate and Inspiring Hope," is scheduled to be held on Thursday to Saturday, Nov. 4 to 6, 2021, at Gonzaga University.
It is an interdisciplinary academic forum on hate, related social problems and ways to create socially just and inclusive communities.
Kristine said lessons learned and plans that emerge will help educators, researchers, advocates and others better analyze and combat hatred to lead to communities being committed to peace, human rights, and justice.
For information, visit www.gonzaga.edu/ICOHS.
River City Youth Ops plant seeds for youth
The River City Youth Ops (RCYO) garden beds in West Central Spokane are tucked in for the winter and plans are underway for next year, said Adam Gebauer board president.
RCYO has nurtured partnerships, such as with YouthBuild Spokane to offer older youth an AmeriCorps education award in addition to RCYO's stipend for learning experiences.
It is broadening involvement with West Central Episcopal Mission, now called the West Central Abbey, and building a council of partners to improve the lives of those in West Central," he said.
RCYO will provide produce for the Abbey's Wednesday Night Dinner Table and Catholic Charities' Food For All. They will work with the Herbalist Guild and Hutton Settlement to expand knowledge of medicinal and practical uses of plants.
Adam said the pandemic offered lessons and meaningful connections, but youth lost time interacting with peers and sharing in experiences to educate and empower them. Despite that, many model resilience, finding new ways to move forward. Planting seeds and ideas, youth grow to give to the community.
For information, call 703-7433 or visit youthops.org.