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FāVS Religion News Roundup: June 14


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FāVS Religion News Roundup: June 14

News Story by FāVS News Staff

Pride History and Remembrance Project 

Spokane’s LGBTQ+ community has a rich history that was often passed down informally through oral histories and lived experiences rather than being comprehensively documented. RANGE Media wrote about Crystal Marché and Bethany Laird, who sought to change that by curating the Pride History and Remembrance Project exhibit to collect and showcase the stories, artifacts and heirlooms that trace Spokane’s queer past. As they assembled the exhibit, they were surprised to uncover just how vibrant and accepted the LGBTQ+ community was in Spokane, even decades ago, contrary to assumptions that it was a recent phenomenon.

The exhibit served as a visible historical record to honor the resilience and camaraderie of Spokane’s LGBTQ+ people throughout the years. It provided a source of community pride, education, and intergenerational connection. Visitors like Annamarie Walsh saw the exhibit as a way to inspire young queer people and promote understanding. With a digital component planned, Marché and Laird intend for the project to live on “in perpetuity” as an evolving collection that ensures Spokane’s queer history is no longer at risk of being forgotten or erased.

Spokane celebrates Juneteenth

Spokane’s 14th Annual Juneteenth Celebration runs from June 14 to June 19, featuring events that celebrate African-American history and community unity. Highlights include:

  • The Pillar Awards (June 14, 6 p.m.): A black-tie event honoring individuals, businesses, nonprofits and religious organizations uplifting Spokane’s African-American community. The Heartwood Award will be presented to a distinguished elder who embodies the community’s strength.
  • Pre-Father’s Day Brunch (June 15, noon-2 p.m.): Celebrating fathers, male mentors and father figures, featuring keynote speaker R-Jay Barsh, assistant basketball coach at Gonzaga University. This free event aims to challenge negative stereotypes about African-American fatherhood.
  • “A Night Out With Acute Inflections” (June 18, 6:30 p.m.): A musical evening with NYC’s Jazzy R&B Duo, known for their engaging performances and soulful sounds. This event promises an entertaining night of jazz and R&B.
  • Juneteenth Park Celebration (June 19, 11-4 p.m.): A free, family-friendly event at Grant Park, featuring child-friendly activities, vendors and support for Black-owned businesses. It celebrates Juneteenth’s history and significance in an inclusive environment.

For more information, visit the website.

‘Take Action Against Hate’ Awards Nominations

Human Rights Spokane is now accepting nominations for the “Eva Lassman ‘Take Action Against Hate’ Awards’. This award is presented annually by the Gonzaga University Center for the Study of Hate to honor the memory of Holocaust survivor Eva Lassman. The awards recognize one individual and one organization for their efforts to combat hatred in any form. Recipients receive a $500 award and are honored at the Spokane Human Rights Champions Gala, hosted by Human Rights Spokane.

Notable past recipients include Eva Lassman, Kenneth S. Stern, Eric Ward, Travis McAdam and the Rev. Happy Watkins. Organizations such as the International Network for Hate Studies and the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force have also been recognized. Nominations are open to anyone working against hate, including racism, religious bigotry, sexism and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments. Self-nominations are accepted. The nomination deadline is June 30, 2024. The nominations are completed online. More information about the award can be found on Gonzaga’s website.

Spokane Valley church’s $20 million expansion

Valley Real Life Ministries in Greenacres is planning a $20 million, multiphase expansion at its 48-acre Spokane Valley campus. The development, designed by Fusion Architecture PLLC, will double the size of the current 50,000-square-foot facility to accommodate growing attendance. The expansion includes a new building west of the existing church, connected via a renovated lobby, and an enlarged 1,500-seat auditorium. Phase two involves traffic-calming measures and expanded parking areas. Attendance at weekend services has surged by 20% annually over the past two years, necessitating the potential addition of a fourth Sunday service. The campus, used nightly, has seen increased activity post-COVID, drawing 2,000 to 3,000 attendees each weekend. A pre-development application is under review, and construction is expected to take 12 months once permits are approved. The project aims to enhance community engagement with new amenities.

Large donation to Eastern Washington Catholic school

Nazareth Guild has received its largest donation to date — more than $3.8 million — to build a new facility for Assumption Catholic School in Walla Walla. This modern, well-equipped building will enhance the educational environment, benefiting the current community and attracting new families, thus supporting the growth of Catholic education in Eastern Washington, according to the press release. Groundbreaking is set for spring 2025. Debbie Battaglia, Executive Director of Nazareth Guild, highlighted the donors’ trust in the organization to manage this significant gift. Hank Worden, Board Chair, emphasized that the donation reflects the vitality and hopeful future of Catholic schools in the region. Bishop Thomas A. Daly acknowledged the historic nature of the donation and its importance in continuing the legacy of Catholic education in Walla Walla since the 1860s, inspiring further generosity.

Chewelah vandal arrested and charged

Corbin Kusz, 21, from Spokane, was arrested for breaking windows at Jenkins Junior/Senior High School and St. Mary’s of the Rosary Catholic Church. He is charged with Malicious Mischief in the Second Degree, a class C felony. On June 7, Kusz appeared in Stevens County District Court and was released with conditions, including not visiting the high school or leaving Stevens or Spokane counties. Police linked him to the crimes through security footage and a confession during a recorded call from jail. The school district expressed concerns about safety and the local facility where Kusz had been living. Kusz’s next court date is June 17.

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