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Kendal Froese

Kendel Froese has served as the Development Director at the Center for Justice in Spokane since 2013 and is passionate about non-profit development. She focuses on giving back to the Spokane community and in addition to her job, she serves on the Board of Directors for the YWCA of Spokane, volunteers as a Crisis Response Advocate on the local 24/7 sexual assault crisis line, serves on the SAFeT Advisory Board at Lutheran Community Services, and volunteers with the Spokane Regional Health District’s needle exchange outreach program.

Interview by Caylee Lamm, May 2015

            When I think of peace, I think more in terms of the concept of Shalom. Some people have the narrow vision that peace is simply the absence of conflict or war, however it is much more than that. I love the idea that peace is a holistic way to look at your community and to identify and address the needs of that community. It can look like anything from victim advocacy to helping establish homes for the homeless to ensuring that all youth have the opportunity to engage in a good education. Peace is actively including all members of society and meeting their needs.

            As a Christian, I am instantly reminded of Jesus when he said, “whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me.” We sometimes forget that our calling as Christians is to help people seek out a greater good. Peace is about recognizing that someone else’s brokenness and pain directly affects us and affects the greater good. Peace is also about acting on this knowledge and helping each individual.

            In my position at the Center for Justice, the work that I do connects back to shalom- if someone in my neighborhood is unable to provide for their family, that affects me and the community. The Drivers Relicensing Program is an example of how we are helping meet the needs of people who are struggling. It is by helping the person holistically, rather than stopping after one issue that makes actual change occur. Working with sexual assault victims has shown me this too. When we address the real needs, we open the doors to more opportunities and we lift people out of the cycle of poverty.

            In order to make peace more prominent in the world and in our communities, we need to look at issues more holistically and recognize that each individual’s life and each individual’s situation affects the others in the community. Someone being homeless does not disconnect them from the rest of society, but affects all of us by hindering the greater good. If someone’s needs are not being met, there needs to be dialogue amongst the community about how to provide for the need. Specifically, we need to dialogue about racism, sexism, housing, education, safety, and inequality, as those are issues that are present and destructive. In my opinion, every human being is entitled to the rights of housing, safety, education, and equality and every human being should work to protect these rights for all people. When we work to instill peace, we must attack these issues first, and let long-term peace follow.

            In Spokane specifically, we need to come together collaboratively to determine solutions to the needs in our area. We cannot wait until someone else acts, but must be instigators of beginning the process of bringing peace. Moreover, to promote peace, we need to have an understanding of the issues that are hindering it. We also need to be in close proximity to the issue we are trying to change. For example, if we are combating homelessness but are never amongst the homeless, there is a disconnect. We need to not just make decisions for other people, yet instead make decisions with other people

            In my opinion, the best way to learn about peace is to take a step back and reexamine where we’ve come from. Our history books are told from one perspective and that nullifies the voices of many other people groups. It is important to hear more voices and more perspectives in order to conceptualize the impacts of our actions and to move forward together. In order to understand people and their issues, we need to hear their stories from their voices. 

Kendel Froese is the Development Director at the Center For Justice. The Center For Justice is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization that seeks to find justice and empower individuals  who’s community rights need to be defended and their voices heard.

Interviewed by Sarah Dice, May 2014

To me, peace is kind of a two -step process. I feel like the first step is being aware that what you do affects other people. I think that comes from the fact that we are so interconnected, it could be if I throw my trash into the street that is going to affect somebody else. I think that’s the first step; just knowing that if I yell at someone or I’m not taking care of our environment the way it should be taken care of affects other people. The second part is actually doing something with that. Knowing that we are all connected and that just because I yell at someone and they won’t respond doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect them or other people. I think it is about being aware of others and to be respectful and live in community.

            I definitely promote peace through my work here. I feel like a big part of what the center does is listen to people, and I think the more people feel like they have been heard they feel like a member of their community. A lot of people in our community feel disregarded every singly day, and I think that what I am most passionate about is actually having someone walk in and to treat them like a human being and want to hear their story. I think that when we treat people with respect and share our peace with them they will hopefully go out and share that with other people. As the Development Director I do the fundraising events and work with major donors.  I think for me it’s really cool to be speaking with a donor and hear something that they’re passionate about and being able to connect that with something we are doing, so sort of providing the bridge. I think its cool to provide that bridge between this is what I think is important and actually doing it. In my view doing something and having a say or speaking out is part of bringing out that peace; that has been a really cool part of my job to connect people with those causes so they can actually make a difference.

I think in sharing peace people should not be so intimidated. I think it is easy to be intimidated by the greats in nonviolence and say I can’t do that, but I think that something that is very tangible is just making a step everyday to treat people with respect and try to spread the peace. I think the more students can internalize the information they learn about nonviolence we can have that impact our life. If we are more aware about what we can do and how we can make a difference and if every single person were to do one thing a day it will add up. I think that should be our goal as a community.