EASTSIDE INTERFAITH SOCIAL CONCERNS COUNCIL MINUTES
P.O. Box 662, Bellevue, WA 98009-0662
April 8, 2014
Visit our newly remodeled website at EISCC.net
The meeting was held in Bristol Hall of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church beginning at 12:00 noon.
WELCOME: The meeting was called to order and conducted by EISCC President Warren Marquardson.
OPENING REFLECTION: Jan Starr provided the opening reading of Mary Oliver’s ‘Mindful.’
SELF-INTRODUCTIONS were made by 30 representatives and guests.
MINUTES of the March 11, 2014, meeting were approved as submitted.
TREASURER’S REPORT: The Treasurer was not present at the meeting.Warren reminded our member organizations to forward their dues payments for the current year – if they have not already done so.
REFRESHMENT COORDINATOR: Many thanks to Steve Roberts, Jan Starr, Susan Morrisson, Farida Hakim, and JoAnne Way for providing the day’s refreshments.
Congregations for Kids: Nancy Jacobs reported that participation requests have already gone out for the next school year.This year they will be adding a pilot project to provide one new, age-appropriate book to each of their students.The pilot will be conducted at Phantom Lake Elementary School.If you are interested in supporting the books effort (or the project more generally), donation information can be found on the project website at http://congregations4kids.org/.
Backpack Meals: Jan Starr reported that the project was completing its second year of operation.They are serving approximately 100 kids.They are starting their planning for the year ahead.They hope for more outreach – especially to homeless kids.If you are interested in supporting this work, consider donating during the Seattle Foundation’s Give Big one-day, online giving event on May 6!
Legislative Coordinator:Warren reported that Jean Harris has agreed to serve as our Legislative Coordinator.
Emergency Services Fund:Dave Bowlan provided an update on the Hopelink Emergency Services Fund.In the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, they have received almost $15,000 from EISCC members.They have been able to provide eviction prevention for five households, emergency prescription coverage for three households, and water/electric/gas help for 32 households.Contributing congregations were thanked for their generosity and others were offered the chance to participate in the fund.
Men’s Winter Shelter: Steve Roberts reported on the men’s winter shelter, which is currently located near the Lowe’s Hardware store in Bellevue.They have served as many as 80 people at a time during the worst parts of the winter, and they are currently serving about 60.The shelter was originally scheduled to close at the end of March, but will now be open through April with the help of United Way and others.The shelter is looking for help with food for the remaining days of service.If you would like to help with food, go the website at http://www2.signupgenius.com/go/60B0F48ADAF2BA02-meals to sign up.
Steve also reported that the women’s winter shelter will extend its service through May – also with the help of United Way and others.They are currently serving 45 guests, including 14 children under 18.The shelter does not like to break up families, so families with dads are also welcome.They are hoping to reopen their shelter again in September.
Steve indicated that Congregations for the Homeless will also be a part of the Seattle Foundation Give Big event!
PROGRAM: Sex Trafficking
Our scheduled speaker, Carla Archambault, had unexpected surgery and could not present as originally planned.Fortunately, Carla’s husband Curt was able to make the presentation in her absence.
Curt began by placing sex trafficking within the larger problem of human trafficking.It is estimated that approximately 27 million people are currently being trafficked, with 80% of those women and children.It is the third largest money making venture behind drugs and weapons, accounting for roughly $32 billion – more than the revenue of McDonalds, Starbucks, and Nike combined.The three principal instances of human trafficking are child soldiers, labor trafficking, and sex trafficking.
The US Trafficking Victims Protection Act identifies three tiers of compliance with efforts to prevent trafficking.The first tier represents those countries which are fully compliant.The second tier represents those who are making progress toward full compliance.The third tier represents those who are currently making no effort toward compliance.In 2000, there were 12 countries who were rated Tier 1.In 2013, 30 nations received Tier 1 status.
In the United States, child soldiers are not a problem.Labor trafficking, especially in the restaurant and home care industries, is a problem.Of greatest concern to us, however, are the estimated 100,000 to 300,000 American children who are being sex trafficked.The average age of girls entering the sex industry is 13!
Why don’t trafficking victims try to leave their situation?Often, they feel that they have little choice.Some factors:
They have lost their self-control – they are controlled by their pimp
They do not want to be exposed
They have no place to go
They receive threats from their abuser to their persons or other family members
They are controlled by physical beatings
They need drugs
They are duped by falsely professed love
They suffer from the Stockholm syndrome
They see themselves as a criminal
They do not see a way to survive on their own
Is sex trafficking happening in our area?Yes!Denny and Dexter in Seattle is an area where such activity can often be found – although the activity often moves around in response to police efforts to control this behavior.Sex trafficking can also be found in Bellevue Square and Westlake Center, as well as other areas.If fact, this form of trafficking is often more prevalent in suburban areas, because the victims are more vulnerable.In West Seattle, a 19-year old trafficker was convicted of 12 cases of trafficking.Sex trafficking has been found in apartment buildings in downtown Bellevue.SeaTac is another prime trafficking location.
What can be done to put an end to sex trafficking?Joining one of the Coalition Against Trafficking groups (CATs) in your area could be a good place to start.These groups include representatives of community groups, government, business, media, law enforcement, faith communities, schools, and others.They have developed a How-To manual which offers action steps to move against trafficking.They have an assessment tool which can assess risk.
There are currently 8 CATs in the state, with most of them in outlying areas.A downtown Seattle CAT is yet to be formed, due to the major undertaking that would be involved.The Federal Way Coalition Against Trafficking is working closely with the Federal Way School District to raise the awareness of this issue within the schools.
Washington Engage is actively involved in fighting both sex and labor trafficking in Washington State.You can find a Not In My City declaration that you can sign to pledge your support for this effort at their website, http://www.waengage.com/Not-In-My-City-Declaration/.An East King CAT meets monthly on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 pm at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland.For more information, contact CAT@waengage.com.
Other resources that you might use to find out more about this issue include:
1. The Polaris Projectwww.polarisproject.org.
2. Shared Hopehttp://sharedhope.org/.
Contact Dick Jacke, EISCC Secretary, if you would like to get a copy of the PowerPoint presentation that was given for our meeting to use with your own faith community.
Events of the Muslim Community Resource Center (MCRC)The center invites you to join in the following events to unite the community through service projects and build bridges among faith based organizations.
1. Community and Volunteer Appreciation Event, Saturday, April 26, 1 – 4 pm, at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) at 17550 NE 67th Ct in Redmond.This is a community and volunteer appreciation luncheon that will bring together volunteers of Muslim and non-Muslim faith based organizations that MCRC works with on an ongoing basis.
2. MCRC is co-sponsoring an Eastside CROP Walk for Hunger with Church Worldwide Services.The event will be held on Sunday, May 18 1 – 3 pm, at the Bellevue First Methodist Church, 1934 108th Ave NE, Bellevue.Proceeds will go to local organizations such Hopelink and other international charities which work to eliminate hunger.
3. MCRC and Seattle University will be conducting a Poverty Immersion Workshop to increase awareness of issues experienced by low-income families.The event will be held at MAPS (see above) on Saturday, June 7, 2 – 5 pm.
The Center of Hope 1st Anniversary Celebration will be held at Renton City Hall on Thursday,
May 29, 4 – 7 pm.All are welcome.
Mind the Store postcards were passed out to those who wished to contact Walgreens and 8 other top retailers asking them to take the lead in eliminating the hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals currently in their supply chains.
Representatives were reminded that King County Proposition 1 to preserve bus service and improve roads is on the current ballot.We were reminded that more buses equals less traffic and pollution.Dave Bowlan also reminded us that reduced bus service would dramatically affect delivery of services to the homeless.
Petitions are currently circulating which would address the changes in campaign financing brought about by the Citizens United decision.Initiative 1329 would state that recent rulings by the United States Supreme Court that address limits on government power to regulate political contributions necessitate amendment of the federal Constitution. The measure would urge Washington’s Congressional delegation to propose amendments to clarify that constitutional rights, including rights to free speech, apply only to natural persons and not to corporations, and
to authorize federal and state governments to limit, and require disclosure of, political
contributions and expenditures.
Elizabeth Maupin reported that the Issaquah Family Drop-in Center has already extended its hours and may extend them even further.The program is serving homeless or about-to-be-homeless families in the Issaquah School District.For further information or to sign up to get notice of changes call 206-478-3899.
Real Change is starting a new initiative to reduce the county’s homeless population by 1,000 people this year.To kick off their effort, they will be holding a shoe drive and outside-in rally, Walk a Mile in My Shoes, to make a public statement about the issue.They hope to collect 3,123 pairs of shoes – each pair representing one of the homeless men, women, and children who were counted without basic shelter in the January homeless count.Shoes that can be reused, will be donated to the homeless.Those that can’t be reused will be recycled.Shoes may be dropped off at the Real Change office at 96 S Main St, Seattle or to Redeeming Soles drop off locations (visit their website at redeemingsoles.org).If your group would like to collect shoes for the homeless and would like an 11″ by 17″ poster to advertise the collection, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.The rally will be held at Westlake Park on Sunday, May 18, from 1 – 3 pm.Find out more about the event or download a flyer at the Real Change website: http://realchangenews.org/index.php/site/advocacy/Events.
Ron Dent reminded us that the Emergency Feeding Program Open House will be held at its new location on Saturday, April 12, from 3 – 8 pm.Their facility is located at 851 Houser Way N, just behind Fry’s at the Landing.
An Earth Day celebration will be held on Saturday, April 19, at Newport Park from 10 am to 3 pm.
Jack Staudt reported that a respite program for autism caregivers will be offered every 90 days at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Kirkland.Gift of Time will provide free respite for parents and caregivers of children age 11 – 18 with autism by giving them a much needed break.The next event will be on Saturday, June 21, 11 am – 3 pm.Pre-registration and admission is required prior to attendance – to allow the team to identify the right volunteer mentor for each child.The RSVP and Pre-Registration deadline is May 2.For more information, visit the Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy website at http://www.washingtonautismadvocacy.org/updates/advocacy/gift-of-time/. To RSVP or ask questions, contact email@example.com.
Karina O’Malley of the Sophia Way indicates that they have an urgent need for more meal donors for their Emergency Winter Shelter for women, children, and families as they extend the service through May 31st.If you can help, please contact their meal coordinator Andrea Liggett at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425-822-0295 ext 110.You can also sign up online at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0F48ADAF2BA02-meals.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has scheduled a 5K benefit walk for Saturday, May 17, 2014.Check in is at 8 am.Register at www.namiwalks.org/washington or e-mail email@example.com for more information.Please specify NAMI-Eastside when you register.
CLOSING REFLECTION: The meeting ended with a closing reading from an inspirational piece regarding Margaret Mead and including a rendition of the prayer known as the Prayer of Saint Francis.
THE NEXT EISCC MEETING will take place on Tuesday, May13, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
PROGRAM: NATIVE WOMEN IN NEED.
LOCATION: BRISTOL HALL, ST. MARGARET’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 4228 FACTORIA BOULEVARD SE, BELLEVUE (ACROSS FROM NEWPORTHIGH SCHOOL)