Amber, at the Faith Action Network, has been networking with people of faith who want to raise their voices on social justice issues. You may be lucky enough to receive a call from her about attending Interfaith Advocacy Days, where you can share your faith-inspired concerns about homelessness, hunger, climate change, and more. (Learn more at http://fanwa.org. Closest to Amber's heart among the FAN legislative priorities are increasing revenue that enables the social safety net while funding education, and addressing the culture of violence. Ask her about them! At Keystone Church, Amber helped organize the Festival of Hope, which raised record-breaking revenue (and perhaps postcards) for action against hunger.
Emmanuel, at the Church Council of Seattle, is focusing his attention on immigration reform, including a compassionate response to the unaccompanied children who have fled violence and poverty in Central America. He is creating a resource pamphlet for both those seeking help and those seeking to extend solidarity. Look also for curriculum he is developing on immigration for communities of faith. (Check the Church Council website for how to communicate with him: thechurchcouncil.org) Emmanuel is always asking how our faith organizations can better embody God's extravagant welcome and care for all, especially for communities of color.
Hillary, at the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, helped to organize a voter registration drive during which over 180 homeless and unstably-housed individuals registered to vote, as a way to make sure everyone's voices are heard. She also had an audience with Seattle mayor, Ed Murray, on improving citywide responses to homelessness. During a King County Council budget hearing she testified in Spanish and English, sharing quotes to advocate for King County Winter Shelter funding. (You can sign the Coalition's petition for this at www.homelessinfo.org by clicking the link to their petition.) In November Hillary was featured in the "Yes for Buses" campaign, and now she is incredibly busy helping organize the One Night Count of people who are homeless at the end of January. Hillary works with young adult and social justice groups at All Pilgrims Church. She is glad to be part of this program and is learning lots and enjoying being an advocate.
Honah, at the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, is planning the program for the biggest advocacy day of the legislative session: Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day! She is contacting legislators, and recently led a webinar introducing the Housing Alliance's legislative agenda for the year. In September, Honah was inspired by members of WLIHA's Emerging Advocates Program, who are translating their experiences of homelessness into powerful advocacy. At Plymouth Church, Honah is planning a breakfast forum--featuring school cafeteria-themed food!--on advocating for the Breakfast After the Bell bill. For more information about the bill, go to: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/educationlab/2014/01/31/guest-to-help-more-kids-succeed-serve-breakfast-after-the-bell/.
All of us have been reflecting weekly on our work, faith, and the gifts and challenges of community life. In class, we have begun to explore and develop skills in community organizing, anti-racism and anti-oppression work, legislative advocacy, and trauma stewardship. We are wrestling especially with how to speak up and act out for racial justice.
There is still a little time remaining for fun: dinners at La Cantina, decorating the apartment for Christmas, and going out dancing in Capitol Hill!