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FāVS Religion News Roundup: Oct. 19


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FāVS Religion News Roundup: Oct. 19

Read about the recent Free-Palestine demonstration, the continuing anti-LGBTQ vandalism in Spokane and who this year’s Eva Lassman Award winners are.

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Please consider donating to the FāVS Fund for Social Justice Reporting

News Story by Tracy Simmons | FāVS News

Free-Palestine Demonstration at City Hall

A Free-Palestine demonstration was held on Monday, just before the City Council meeting.

Organizers, who shouted “Long Live Palestine!,” outside of City Hall, told KREM 2 the event was in a response to a pro-Israel resolution the Council passed Oct. 9.

One of the rally organizers, Zach McGuckin, told KREM2 that he hoped the rally would show Spokane leaders local Palestinian people need their support and they, too, have connections to lives lost overseas.

They hope the council will retract their resolution.

The rally came a day after a Pro-Israel rally was held downtown. There, about 100 people condemned the Hamas surprise attacks last weekend that led to the abduction and killing of over a thousand Israeli civilians.

Anti-LGBTQ Vandalism Continues

This month Spokane has also been reeling from anti-LGBTQ vandalism. Odyssey Youth Movement has been the victim of this vandalism repeatedly. This week Spokane City Council Members Zack Zappone and Ryan Oelrich introduced a resolution to ensure Spokane is committed to inclusion and protecting LGBTQ people.

“There appears to be a rise of overt attacks and bigotry on the LGBTQ community, which is a trend that we’re seeing nationally,” Zappone said Monday in The Spokesman-Review. “I think that this resolution shows that the City Council is against those sorts of acts of hatred and bigotry.”

Last night, The Spokesman-Review also reported that the Spokane police released photos of suspects involved in the vandalism. See the photos here.

Eva Lassman Award Winners Announced

This week Gonzaga announced the recipients of this year’s Gonzaga University Center for the Study of Hate’s Eva Lassman “Take Action Against Hate” awards. The winners were the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force and civil rights strategist Eric K. Ward.

According to a press release, the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force was selected due to its commitment to educating, supporting, informing and responding to all human rights issues in its county. The organization originated in 1992 as a response to an Aryan Nation group that intended to make North Idaho a haven for white supremacy. 

“Since then, it has spent the past 30 years speaking out whenever intolerance or bigotry poses threats to the rights, safety or dignity of any individual within their community,” the press release reads.

eric k ward
Eric K. Ward, Southern Poverty Law Center

Ward is a nationally recognized expert on the relationship between authoritarian movements, hate-fueled violence and preserving democracy. 

According to the news release, “He has undertaken substantial risks by working undercover in extremist groups to study white nationalism and anti-Semitism as a Black man.”

He has exercised philanthropy through his leadership roles as Western States Center executive director and senior fellow with both the Southern Poverty Law Center and Race Forward organizations.

The recipients will be recognized at the Gala Human Rights Awards Banquet in Spokane on Nov. 2.

Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons
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.


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