Testify! A trip to Olympia and the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee

Here’s the testimony I provided today (this is similar to the testimony):

Hi! I’m Rev. Terri Stewart of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition, representing the Church Council of Greater Seattle and the Faith Action Network.

On this evening of Rev. Dr. King’s 86th birthday. Let us remember his desire to create a beloved community where all people have the supports and opportunities they need to thrive. Let us remember, the lost, the least, and the lonely.

The kids I work with are these kids. Kids affected by incarceration. These are kids with a trauma problem, not a crime problem and they need us to increase investment in their lives and the structures that support them – JRA, education, health, mental health, and other vital services.

You have a tough job. But these kid’s lives are tougher.

I spent Christmas Day in detention. Each youth got three items. Shoes, hoodie, and a ball or a purse. For many kids, this was the best Christmas they have ever had.

One kid said, “This was only my second Christmas ever.”

Another said, “I have not had Christmas in five years.”

And another said, “I cannot begin to tell you the overwhelming joy and happiness that came over me.”

Then the buzzer went off and I had to stop talking. I wanted to say…

By investing in JRA, YOU did that. YOU changed lives that morning. We can see YOUR priorities by how you prioritize spending for these kids.

FAN and the Church Council of Greater Seattle ask you to invest in our kid’s future by funding and increasing revenue in the vital service areas that affect youth.

The Capitol Building in Olympia, WA by Josh at flickr.com CC (BY-NC)

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