McMorris Rodgers to Join Civil Rights Pilgrimage with Leaders from Eastern Washington

Mar 01, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 1, 2018) – This weekend, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) will serve as co-host of the Faith and Politics Institute’s (FPI) 2018 Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage, which will take place from March 2nd through March 4th visiting Memphis, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma. The pilgrimage will be led by civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis (D-GA).

The Congresswoman will also welcome the following community and religious leaders from Eastern Washington to join her on the trip.

  • Phillip Tyler, Co-founder Peaceful Community Roundtable and past Spokane NAACP President

  • Kitara Johnson, Chief Development Officer at Excelsior

  • Joe Wittwer, Pastor, Life Center in Spokane, Washington

  • Lonnie Mitchell, Pastor, Bethel AME Church in Spokane, Washington

  • Rodney McAuley, Community and Church Engagement Director at the Spokane Youth for Christ

Earlier today, the Congresswoman hosted these leaders from Eastern Washington in her Washington, D.C. office ahead of their departure tomorrow.


“This pilgrimage is but a single step in our united journey to continue to learn from our history, from one another, and ensure the missteps of our past are not repeated in our present or future. This is an opportunity to both reflect and grow, together, from a brave place, not a safe space. We are eternally thankful for the gracious invitation by our Congresswoman to make this journey together.” — Phil Tyler, Co-founder Peaceful Community Roundtable and past Spokane NAACP President

“This pilgrimage is a powerful moment in the present that allows us to reflect on the past, how far we’ve come as a people and a nation. The very fabric of our political system is infused with our nation’s faith in God. It is that very faith that we need to restore relationships and reinvigorate the values that our nation’s founding leaders held true, that ALL people are created equal. I appreciate Cathy’s bipartisan vision as a leader in this year’s pilgrimage because it truly gives me hope both for our community and our country. It’s an honor to be invited and I’m happy to be a part of this journey.” — Kitara Johnson, Chief Development Officer at  Excelsior

The theme of the pilgrimage is drawn from one of Dr. King’s most enduring lessons: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”

In a speech about unity and building stronger communities, Cathy said the following about the pilgrimage on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:

“This March, I will travel to Memphis, Selma, and Montgomery and serve as Honorary Co-Host of the 2018 Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage — nearly 53 years after the Selma to Montgomery Marches. 

“This is something I never imagined I would have the chance to take part in. From Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma where the marches began to Edmund Pettus Bridge where police attacked the non-violent protests and on to Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where Dr. King organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

“I’m so honored to be a part of this journey through the history of the civil rights movement, and I’m hopeful that I will be able to welcome some friends here from Spokane to join me on this trip.”

Click here to read her full remarks.

For questions and media requests regarding the Congresswoman’s trip, please contact

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