Editor’s Note: SpokaneFAVS will be changing to a new business model this summer due to funding cuts. The site will soon become a local nonprofit, which judging by the feedback we’ve received so far, the Spokane community is jazzed about. How do you want to help with the new SpokaneFAVS?
Back in 2012, I worked as a community organizer on a campaign to defeat Voter ID in Minnesota. On its face, requiring a picture identification to vote seemed simple, especially for a middle class child like myself who got his driver’s license on his 16th birthday. Yet that argument never worked on me. Instead, I felt a huge sense of passion and, as some might describe it, a calling to join the opposition. I knew I couldn’t support the measure because Voter ID created a hoop to jump through before participating in the basic tenant of belonging to a community — being able to speak up for oneself.
Those same values — that people matter, that voices and ideas matter — are what brought me to SpokaneFAVS. I joined as a volunteer only a short while ago, but a short tenure doesn’t change the importance of what the site represents. And what it represents is community.
SpokaneFAVS occupies the unique space of providing a voice for thought leaders in our community. These leaders come from all different backgrounds, but each is an important thread to this woven cloth. In reading and editing the articles, SpokaneFAVS created new understandings of faith and sparked new conversations and connections. As a tourist for the year in Spokane, I didn’t expect to also become a tourist to multiple faith communities. Yet the interactions affected me, solidifying some beliefs and dislodging others. It’s making a better and more comprehensive me.
When we belong to community, we know our place in the world. We get to interact with our comrades and we get to express our full selves. We might not always agree with our neighbors, but we’re committed to the long term success of that community. And here or far away, I’m committed to SpokaneFAVS.
Robert Hemphill is in the midst of a year of service in Spokane. He is active in several non-profits creating community and building relationships for social change. He has worked as an organizer on several issue campaigns in the midwest, and hopes to continue a career in building community and developing voices.
Thank you for your support Robert. I’m so glad you found SpokaneFAVS and have been kind enough to volunteer your time. We need more Roberts!
Great column, Robert. I’m glad you share the vision of what SpokaneFAVS is doing to bring people together and have a positive impact on the community.