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FAN reports how faith communities impact policies

Elise DeGooyer

Each year, the Faith Action Network (FAN) of Washington reports mid-year reflections on successes and invites financial support. The theme "Pathways to Solidarity" has guided FAN since last fall. One component of the theme is solidarity.

"At a time of division and polarization, our multifaith solidarity with each other is transformative," said FAN executive director Elise DeGooyer. "Solidarity is where love and justice meet. Building solidarity for racial equity and social justice for people and communities affected by the policies we work on is vital to FAN's vision.

"This is work for the long haul, and we are constantly changing and learning how to be more effective," she said, sharing some of the victories for the people and communities made possible by people of faith raising their voices:

• Passage of the hunger and safety net bills, enhancing emergency food support, providing more school meals for K-12 students and expanding basic-needs support for college students.

• Removal of the death penalty from state law after being deemed unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court. Faith communities have been involved in this work for decades.

• In a year of grief over multiple mass shootings, the state took steps to limit assault weapons, add comprehensive background checks and hold the gun manufacturers accountable for controls.

In the first week of May, FAN remembered Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People (MMIWP). FAN advocated for and helped establish statewide alerts for missing Indigenous people in 2022, and establishment of a MMIWP cold-case unit in 2023, which will bring more capacity to investigations. Those interested may subscribe to the Washington State Patrol email alerts about Indigenous women and people who are missing or murdered at

FAN's final Spring Summit is online on Sunday, June 4. To include all of the state, it will be a virtual meeting. There will be smaller, in-person cluster meetings and regional gatherings this summer and fall.

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Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June 2023