BRIEF: Conference to engage faith community in advocacy issues, strategies

The annual Eastern Washington Legislative Conference will be 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, at the Cathedral of St. John, 127 E. 12th Ave.

Keynote speakers include Spokane attorney Breean Beggs and Tia Griffin of the Washington Community Action Network (CAN) Spokane leadership team will address the event's theme, “Money: Grace and Justice,” according to a press release.

Beggs, who will discuss “Lobbying for Justice: Toughness of a Serpent and Softness of a Dove,” is an attorney advocating for disadvantaged people and for community reconciliation.  For more than 20 years, he has presented cases to juries, judges, arbitrators, mediators, community groups and media.  He advocates for police reform, national reform on oil pipeline safety and jail reform. 

Griffin will speak on Washington CAN's Racial Justice Report Card on state legislators.  As a community volunteer, she is also a member of The Children's Alliance, ASCD Educator Advocates, Five Freedoms and the League of Education Voters.

The legislative priorities of Faith Action Network of Washington (FAN) — wage theft, criminal justice reform, death penalty abolition, human services, immigration reform and environment — are topics for issue-information sessions, which will be repeated three times from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

There will be workshops on various tools for advocacy as well as opportunities for discussion.

After lunch and speakers, Benz and Cooper will offer a Legislative Briefing session, an overview issues and “What's Going on in Olympia: Faith Advocates as Effective Change Agents.”

Participants come as individuals, as teams from congregations and as representatives of nonprofits and human service agencies, trained to share the information for common action.

Those interested in attending may mail the suggested donation of $20 per person or $15 each per person for groups of four or more to The Fig Tree, 1323 S. Perry St., Spokane, WA 99202.  Advance reservations are requested for a count for the lunch.

For more information, call 535-4112 or email mary@thefigtree.org.



About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.

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