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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Local clergy tell congregants to act, rather than speak, to advocate for justice

The focus of a conference held by local clergy Saturday was racial justice, with a direction to go “beyond words” and act.

In his keynote address, Pastor Walter Kendricks pointed to a cry for justice in the country in recent months and encouraged attendees to join the NAACP, whether or not they are people of color.

Kiantha Duncan, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, said she was grateful for members who joined the organization individually but asked how many had brought their congregations to the table.

“What happens when you join is you, in turn, bring your resources to that organization,” Duncan said. “When we look for what we can do, that’s an easy ‘do.’ ”

Duncan was on a panel that spoke after Kendricks’ address. Other panel members included Catholic Deacon Chalo Martinez, who spoke of his work with incarcerated people.

“Our white churches should experience a lot of shame for explicitly and implicitly supporting white supremacy over the centuries,” Rev. Jim CastroLang of the Faith Action Network wrote in the chat during panelist discussions. “We are getting better on words, but our actions are still a big failure.”

The panel laid out legislation impactful to Eastern Washington, and more than 150 people from local congregations attended the Zoom conference, including former president of the NAACP’s local chapter Kurtis Robinson and former Spokane Regional Health District health officer Dr. Bob Lutz.

“Doing justice does not mean we keep talking about it,” Duncan said. “It doesn’t mean we keep having summits, conferences and meetings. It means we get into action … That means movement.”

The Faith Action Network, Catholic Charities, The Fig Tree and the interfaith Earth Ministry hosted the 2021 Legislative Conference.

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