“As Catholics we are called to leadership in building community, advocating for justice and being part of the ongoing legislative process.” Archbishop J. Peter Sartain
The Dialogue for Justice is an Archdiocesan-wide initiative coordinated by Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, the Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center, and the Washington State Catholic Conference working with parishes and organizations to strengthen Catholic advocacy addressing the needs of people who are poor in our state.
The goal of the Dialogue for Justice is to reduce poverty in Washington State.
This goal is achieved through the following objectives:
- Develop partners among churches, organizations, communities and ministries;
- Create strategic plans for effective Advocacy on behalf of those who are poor and vulnerable;
- Educate grassroots advocates;
- Convene regional gatherings for legislative briefing and advocacy organizing;
- Identify key districts for specific legislator meetings prior, post and during legislative session;
- Coordinate key district meetings;
- Support and grow Catholic Advocacy Day participation;
- Provide resources to parishes and groups on Legislative advocacy;
- Increase online advocacy.
The Dialogue has identified four Advocacy Priority Issues for the 2013 Legislative Session:
- Funding for the Basic Health Plan must be maintained in the budget. Access to basic health services by low-income people should be preserved, especially during these extremely difficult economic times. To learn more, click here.
- The Aged, Blind or Disabled Assistance Program, Housing & Essential Needs (HENS) and Medical Care Services must be preserved. Thousands of disabled people are avoiding homelessness through HENS rental and utility assistance. For a detailed history and description of these programs, click here. For a summary of the issue, click here.
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) grants and vital services are essential and must be maintained. Low-income families rely on TANF for their basic needs. To learn more, click here.
- The Housing Trust Fund should be funded at the highest level possible to help build needed low-income housing throughout the state. Communities of concern should receive dedicated funding to build and manage housing and enhance their capacity to serve their people who have been disproportionally impacted by chronic homelessness. To learn more, click here.
How the Dialogue Began:
Working with the WA State Catholic Conference (WSCC) and the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (IPJC), we began meeting in March, 2011 with pastors, women religious, and lay men and women leaders to talk about organizing our Church’s advocacy efforts. An initial group of parishes across western Washington were identified to meet with their district legislators before the 2012 legislative session and increase the number of parishioners attending Catholic Advocacy Day.
Why Does the Church to Speak on Behalf of the Poor:
Based on Catholic Social Teaching and our commitment to serving others, we have knowledge of their intimate needs. We witness their struggle and are in relationship with them. For more information, please click here.