29. July 2022 · Comments Off on Faith Action Network Update July 29, 2022 · Categories: Committee News

FAN board and staff members at our hybrid retreat. In photo on the left, front row, left to right: Sabiha Khan, Kristin Ang, Aneelah Afzali, Dr. Jasmit Singh, Elizabeth Dickinson; back row, left to right: Rev. Eric Don Anderson, Rev. Carol Jensen, Elise DeGooyer, Jonis Davis, Rev. Jim CastroLang, Carolyn Stevens. In photo on the right, clockwise from lower right: Jess Ingman, Rev. Nigel Taber-Hamilton, Rabbi Jason Levine. Not pictured: Dr. Edward Donalson.

Statewide Planning Retreat

FAN governing board and staff enjoyed a rare opportunity to meet in person and on line this week in a statewide planning retreat. We are grateful for the abundant hospitality of board member Dr. Jasmit Singh and his team at the Khalsa Gurmat School in Federal Way.

We listened to each other’s perspectives, identified some of the challenges to our communities during this difficult time, and considered some multi-faith ways we can adapt to meet these challenges.

We are energized to work with you to address the needs ahead.

Take Action for Hungry Kids

Things are moving quickly in Congress, and hungry kids need your voices NOW!

Yesterday, the Senate released its budget reconciliation proposal, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The Senate is poised to vote next week on this budget reconciliation bill, which includes important
provisions on climate action, the economy, and health.

But the bill does not include the critical child nutrition provisions that we have been calling for this year. Summer EBT benefits and access to free school meals have been critical resources for keeping hunger at bay for nearly one million kids in Washington during the pandemic, and for millions more across the country. We also know these programs generate significant positive economic impacts for local communities.

With our partners at the Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition, we urge you to TAKE ACTION! Please email Senators Murray and Cantwell TODAY:

To read more about these provisions, see the full action alert on our website.

FAN Is Hiring: Operations Coordinator

The backbone of FAN’s operations, administration, communications, event planning, and coordinated teamwork is our Operations Coordinator position. Do you know someone who would like to serve this role in amplifying FAN’s advocacy work across our state?

After several months of excellent temporary assistance with this role, we are looking to hire a permanent Operations Coordinator who is eager to learn FAN’s systems and support this growing network.

Please share and circulate the attached job description and encourage candidates to apply by August 12.

Introducing New Central WA Organizers!

This month we were delighted to welcome two new part-time organizers to help us connect with advocates and faith communities across Central Washington! Because it’s a large region, we decided to divide the work into north and south regions. If you live in these regions, you’ll be hearing from them soon.

Jess Ingman is excited to be joining FAN as our North Central Washington regional organizer. With a background in pastoral ministry, Jess is energized by faith-based organizing and developing relationships at the intersection of justice and spirituality. She is a member of the ELCA Lutheran Church and is grateful for her Jesuit formation. Jess loves fair-trade coffee, serving as a coordinator for Wenatchee for Immigrant Justice, and hiking near her home in East Wenatchee with her husband Mark and their two sons, Isaiah(4) and Jude(2). They live in the ancestral homelands of the P’Squosa/Wenatchi people.

Rev. Eric Don Anderson is joining FAN as our South Central Washington regional organizer. He lives in Yakima after moving back to the Pacific Northwest in 1999. Eric was ordained with standing as a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) co-pastor while living in a multi-cultural urban community in Kansas City, Missouri. He learned community organizing and leadership skills with Faith in Action (formerly PICO National Network) in 1994. He served as a pastor until 2014, and has also served as a chaplain with Heartlinks Hospice and a community coordinator for Yakima Rotary Food Bank. Eric and his wife of 38 years formally joined with the community of Shalom United Church of Christ in Richland in 2018. He currently also reads and meditates regularly with Zen Buddhists in his community of Yakima. 

Meet with Your Representatives this Summer/Fall

We are in the interim time between state legislative sessions and during Congressional recesses. This is a great time to meet with your elected officials. You can spend more time with them, invite them to your faith community or social service site so they can hear what their constituents are facing in the community, and have conversations that will shape their decision-making when they’re back in Olympia or D.C.

FAN Policy Engagement Director Kristin Ang would like to help organize several of these interim meetings during the rest of summer and fall. Please let us know at this link if you would like to attend or help organize a meeting with your elected officials. Make sure you include your contact information and legislative district. Thank you!

Learning from Each Other:
News from FAN Faith Communities

For those of us who wonder how to keep our children and youth deeply engaged in our faith communities, ask those at the Khalsa Gurmat Center in Federal Way.

In a retreat this past week, FAN board and staff were generously hosted by members of the center, a vibrant Sikh house of worship and education hub. Dr. Jasmit Singh, a community leader there and a member of the FAN Board, shared some history and the three goals of the Khalsa Gurmat Center: education, empowerment, and engagement. Dr. Singh’s introduction, delicious South Asian meals prepared by members of the center, and conversation with some youth from the center combined to provide a splendid welcome to FAN’s board and staff!

Education and empowerment were evident when Simran Kaur and Mannat Kaur, ages 15 and 20, spoke animatedly of their summer leadership. They had been part of a group of close to 20 youth who had designed and led a day camp for 80 children ages 6-14 this summer. Each day combined learning and recreation, including a water slide, crafts, and field trips. Their brother Arshveer Singh, one of the participants, assured us that the camp had indeed been fun. Summer also means youth cooking classes; Dr. Singh told us that was one activity they especially missed during the pandemic.

About 280 children and their families gather each Sunday for both prayer and education at the center. Fulfilling the desire to keep new generations involved with Sikh faith and practice, courses at the center highlight Sikh history and Punjabi language. They also offer a variety of other classes, such as creative computing, math, music, and public speaking. The staff encourages the students to pursue higher education.

Youth also are excited to engage in discussing issues that matter in their civic lives. They have engaged in discussions on the farmers’ movement in India, Black Lives Matter, equity, inclusion, and gun violence, the latter because they “want their voices heard.”

The center also collaborates with other nonprofits. They have sponsored free legal clinics, a community health fair, and adult computing classes. In addition, they have increased participation in the civic process through voter registration and translating voter information into Punjabi.

The programming at the center, run by a staff of 80 volunteers, also serves to strengthen the community in the face of the bullying, discrimination, and hate that have been shown to Sikhs here in Washington. They have hosted a Hate Crimes Forum and the White House’s AAPI Task Force’s Anti-Bullying Workshop, and have also worked with other faith groups.

This comment from the center’s website sums up much of the work we all aspire to: “We believe that we need to come together as a community to nurture every child and ensure that they lead an inspired life.” Thank you, Khalsa Gurmat Center, for this inspiring work!

If you’d like to share your community’s learnings with FAN, please contact Partnership Coordinator Elizabeth at dickinson@fanwa.org.


Friday, August 12Steel Lake, Federal WayDay of Seva commemorating the tenth anniversary of the tragic August 5, 2012, shooting at the Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Gurdwara (Sikh house of worship). Participate in the National Day of Seva (selfless community service) as a way to remember the lives lost and pay tribute to the Oak Creek community that is forever impacted by this tragedy. Spend the time in reflection and service together, cleaning up the park and fixing it for the kids and community members to use.

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