The Spokane NAACP wants to give locals a voice.
For the next five Mondays the community is invited to join in panel discussions at the Community Building, where NAACP leaders will lead forums on justice issues facing Spokane.
The program, called Moral Mondays Northwest (MMNW), is designed to create dialogue around the organization’s five pillars: Economic Development, Political Action, Education, Health and Public Safety.
“These particular five game changer issues are really the most crucial issues facing people of color across the nation in the 21st Century,” said Executive Director Rachel Dolezal during a MMNW kickoff event on Monday. “Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Riots are the voice of the unheard.’ What we really want with Moral Mondays Northwest is to give the opportunity for voices to be heard so we can start the week with a fresh focus on justice issues and move the conversation from dialogue into action.”
Moral Mondays is a national grassroots social justice movement. The movement is popular in other parts of the country, but until now hasn’t made its way to the Pacific Northwest.
Dolezal explained that through donations and sponsorship from the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, the forums will be videotaped and posted the Spokane NAACP’s YouTube Channel. She said she hopes the conversations will continue beyond the first five forums.
“It’s like an onion with layers. We’re starting from the outside and working in,” she said. “I hope it progresses and builds toward meaningful dialogue.”
Floyd Rhodes, longtime NAACP member said Moral Mondays are important for Spokane because all people deserve to be treated equally.
He said he’s been in Spokane since 1990, and although he’s seen a lot of progress, said there’s still lots of work to do.
Dorothy Webster, NAACP treasurer, agreed and said she wants to see Spokane move from being a reactive city, to a proactive city.
“We need to begin identifying the problems, and attacking the systems that are the reasons these problems exist,” she said.
Respecting one another’s differences is one way to move in this direction, she said.
Dolezal said that’s why MMNW exists — to break down barriers.
Moral Mondays Northwest is the brainchild of Leoule Goshu who said he wanted to bring the national movement to Spokane because he sees the city as a place where change is possible. People in Spokane, he said, want to challenge racism and sexism.
“We are capable of building community,” he said. “This is about getting the job done. It’s about ending the disease of racism. We have the power to rid this disease.”
The forums will be held from 5-6 p.m. each Monday beginning May 18 and continuing through June 15 in the Community Building lobby.
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 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, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of SpokaneFāVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.
Moral Mondays? Is that the day you tell the world what race you really are???
It’s fun playing (what you perceive as) a ‘victim’, Isn’t it, rachel?