What Kind Of Washington Do We Want For Today’s Children?

Turmoil in the federal government has Humanities Washington Executive Director Julie Ziegler thinking: What sort of state do we want today’s children to inherit?

Julie Ziegler

Julie Ziegler, Humanities Washington executive director

Has the ongoing turmoil in the federal government been on your mind lately? It’s been on mine. While much of the conflict has centered on the nation’s financial responsibilities, it all boils down to a basic question: What kind of country do we want to leave to our children?

As a parent, I give a lot of thought to the Washington State I’d like my two young girls to inherit.

In my perfect Washington, people understand our rich history and the many stories that pool together to create a complicated, but wonderfully rich, culture. In my perfect Washington, all children have the opportunity to become strong readers and creative thinkers, able to gather and consider new ideas with strong context and foundational values. In my perfect Washington, people define themselves more by what they support than what they oppose.

As executive director of Humanities Washington – and a 15-year donor to the organization – I am proud to say that Humanities Washington has supported all of this and more for 40 years. And, as an organization, we are continually innovating to best serve the interests and needs of local communities.

Participants in Prime Time Family Reading listen attentively to a story last fall in Lynnwood.

Participants in Prime Time Family Reading listen attentively to a story last fall in Lynnwood.

This fall, we’re expanding Prime Time Family Reading, which uses reading, storytelling and discussion to explore the cultural and ethical themes presented in children’s literature. Just last Monday, families in Walla Walla Library and Spokane Valley Library gathered for the first time to hear and discuss The Lion and the Mouse. An enthusiastic conversation among parents and children followed that explored the power of storytelling and the ways in which we communicate. Families left with the books Peppe the Lamplighter, Tar Beach and The Fortune Tellers, eager to read and discuss at home before next Monday’s session.

We’re also working on a new initiative, the Washington Stories Fund, to source and elevate the untold stories of Washingtonians in a way that dismantles barriers and enhances cross-cultural understanding. Generous seed funding for the effort was provided by the Lenore and Charles Hale Family Fund. Work will kick off next year, and we can’t wait to get started.

Family Reading and the Washington Stories Fund are just two examples of how Humanities Washington enhances the culture and intellectual vibrancy of our state on an ongoing basis.

Our annual fundraising appeal kicks off in early November and will be your chance to join me as a supporter of a more culturally vibrant and inclusive Washington. It is a chance to show what YOU value and what legacy YOU would like to leave for the next generation.

We’ve been doing this for 40 years. Help us continue for at least 40 more.

2 thoughts on “What Kind Of Washington Do We Want For Today’s Children?”

  1. I am very interested in what Judy Zeigler says about What we want for the State of Washington in the future and storytelling as a way to get there. Is there a speaker who could bring that story to us for a Wednesday evening 7:00-8:00pm program at Wesley Terrace,Des Moines WA.? I have Open dates in Feb. 2014 5th,19th,26th We have had speakers previously from Humanities Wa and are an attentive older audience. Thankyou for your kind attention Irene McCoy 206 870 6348

    1. Abby Rhinehart says:

      Hi Irene,

      Thanks very much. Julie Ziegler is actually our executive director; this letter is her opinion, not the topic of a presentation she gives. You may be thinking of our Speakers Bureau program, which provides low-cost, high-quality public presentations on humanities topics. I have passed your question and contact information on to the manager of that program, Zaki Abdelhamid. In the future, to apply for a speaker, check out that section of our website.

      Abby Rhinehart
      Communications Officer, Humanities Washington

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.