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Latest news

Support Indigenous Peoples Day

by pjals Friday, Aug 26, 2016 | 1:13pm | Comment on this

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Spokane’s City Council will vote Monday night, August 29, whether to begin to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day. Will you come show your support? You can invite your friends here.

Or, will you email citycouncil@spokanecity.org to encourage undecided Council Members to support the resolution declaring the second Monday in October “an opportunity to celebrate the thriving cultures and values of the American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Indigenous Peoples of our region”?

You can see the Spokesman’s coverage here.

I went to my copy of Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People’s History to find Columbus’ journals and the eyewitness account of Bartolome de Las Casas. Zinn begins the chapter:

“There is no more glaring distortion in the history learned by generation sof Americans – in textbooks, in schools, in the popular culture – than in the story of Christopher Columbus. … But what is missing from that story is that, when he landed in Bahamas Islands, Columbus and his men, greeted by peaceful and generous natives, set out on a ruthless quest for gold that led to enslavement, misery, and death for that population. … He kidnapped and enslaved hundreds of [Arawaks], compelling them to work in the mines, under terrible conditions, in the quest for gold. … It was the start of the European conquest of the Western Hemisphere”

“…with 50 men all of them could be held in subjection and can be made to do whatever one might wish.” – Sunday, 14 October 1492, The Diario of Christopher Columbus

And Columbus’ contemporary, Bartolome de Las Casas writes:

On one occasion when we went to claim ten leagues of a big settlement, along with the food and maintenance, we were welcomed with a bounteous quantity of fish and bread and cooked victuals. The Indians generously gave us all they could. Then suddenly, without cause and without warning, and in my presence, the devil inhabited the Christians and spurred them to attack the Indians, men, women, and children, who were sitting there before us. In the massacre that followed, the Spaniards put to the sword more than three thousand souls. I saw such terrible cruelties done there as I had never seen before not thought to see. …

Afterward, when all the Indians of this island were subjected to servitude and the same ruin had befallen there as on the island Hispaniola, the survivors began to fee to the mountains or in despair to hang themselves, and there were husbands and wives who hanged themselves together with their children, because the cruelties perpetrated by one very great Spaniard (whom I knew) were so horrifying. More than two hundred Indians hanged themselves. …

In three or four months, when I was there, more than seventy thousand children, whose fathers and mothers had been sent to the mins, died of hunger.

The celebration of Columbus Day perpetuates this glaring distortion of our history. We all deserve to acknowledge the hard truth of our history.

Please encourage Council Members to support the resolution!

Calling Us All In: Race, Class, Gender, and Justice

by pjals Wednesday, Aug 17, 2016 | 11:11am | Comment on this

Calling Us All In: Race, Class, Gender, and Justice

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Woman’s Club of Spokane (1428 W 9th Ave)

Doors open: 11:30 AM, Program: 12:00-1:00 PM

Cost: Free, Lunch Provided

Join us as we cap off our year of celebrating our 40th anniversary at a lunchtime event and evening workshop, Calling Us All In: Race, Class, Gender, and Justice. Our current members and donors, along with new friends interested in our work are invited to hear firsthand about how we expose and transform systems of violence and oppression to build a just and nonviolent world, as well as provide the opportunity to connect with like-minded peers to become part of our movement for peace and justice. This is a ticketed event, free of cost, though there will be an opportunity to support PJALS financially.

If you have not been invited by a table host, please register as an individual or table host so we can accommodate everyone! 

Keynote Speaker: Jessica Campbell is a national leader of Showing Up for Racial Justice and co-director of Oregon’s Rural Organizing Project. She has worked with some of the most rural communities in Oregon to fight for the commons from post offices to public parks, to support communities on the frontlines of the militia movement, and to envision what healthy and vibrant rural communities could look like.

Register here!

Part 2 of Doing Democracy book discussion

by pjals Friday, Aug 5, 2016 | 2:14pm | Comment on this

doing democracy bookCome join us on August 10 for the 2nd part of our discussion of Doing Democracy! And join us for a snack potluck so we can munch while we chat! We will be meeting at 5:30-7:30 pm in the conference room of the Community Building, 35 W. Main St.

Doing Democracy presents the Movement Action Plan (MAP), Bill Moyer’s practical strategic model that describes how social movements work.

The book presents a general theory of how social movements work,
including sections on democracy, power, powerholder strategy and
movement strategy; describes the four roles that activists need to
play effectively (compared to ineffectively) and explains in detail
the eight stages of the road to success along which activists need to
guide their social movement.

For more info on the book or to download a pdf of the first 3 chapters:

It’s okay if you missed the first discussion; our first meeting was a lively, thoughtful, discussion between 15  or so people (not all of them had read the book) and it soon became apparent we needed to continue the discussion to glean all the wisdom out of the book. Each of the first three chapters alone is so rich with ideas and insights as to be a single group discussion in itself. The best part was the forging of new connections between people who share a passion for justice, equality and freedom. Hope to see you there.

Summer Gathering for Police Accountability in Portland

by pjals Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016 | 1:13pm | One comment.

Registration is now open: Click here to register!

For two years now, PJALS has been networking and collaborating with Portland’s NAACP and Seattle’s Mothers for Police Accountability to form the Northwest Community Coalition for Police Accountability In order to strengthen our regional solidarity and develop a long-term, strategic framework, a Summer Gathering of activists will held in Portland at Portland State University on Aug. 12-13, a Friday and Saturday.

We hope a huge Spokane contingency will be there. People like you and your friends and allies. Read more »

Hundreds Stand for Peace

by pjals Friday, Jul 15, 2016 | 2:14pm | Comment on this

vigil photoAt a vigil-rally jointly sponsored by PJALS and the NAACP, hundreds of people gathered outside the county courthouse on July 9 in a show of solidarity and support in the aftermath of the killings in Minnesota, Louisiana, and Dallas. Among others, Phil Tyler, president of the NAACP, Sandy Williams, publisher of The Black Lens newspaper, and our own Liz Moore, PJALS director, offered inspiring words and their perspectives on a week of horror and tragedy, ways to heal, things to consider from a black mother’s point of view, and the importance of getting involved to end racism and violence.

The gathering itself of a diversity of communities was a beautiful example of unity and love. At one point a lone protester tried to disrupt the gathering but he was met with a collective refusal to be drawn into argument and tension, with love, hugs, and acceptance. Mr. Tyler effectively defused the tension by offering him his moment to speak, to name his issue, and it turned out, he, too, in his awkward way, was asking for love, a world of love and peace.

It was a moment of collective understanding among the people that we all suffer the residual trauma of violence and injustice and we mustn’t allow bitterness to divide us. As others have noted, only recognition, understanding and insight can rob trauma of its power. And by working together, building relations, we create the path to that recognition and understanding.

Up On The Roof

by pjals Thursday, Jun 30, 2016 | 3:15pm | Comment on this

 Right smack dab in the middle of town/I found a paradise that’s trouble-proof (Up on the roof)
And if this world starts getting you down/There’s room enough for two up on the roof (Up on the roof
)—Gerry Goffin/Carole King

PJALS Steering Committee members Taylor Weech and Louise Chadez sponsored a fundraising party on June 27 up on the roof of the Saranc building in downtown Spokane. Dozens of their invited friends came to hear poetry by the Love and Outrage Collective, music by Lucas Brookbank Brown and PJALS director Liz Moore. All in all, we raised a little over $1600!

We met many new people, some from as far away as Guatemala recently settled in Spokane. Others were long time supporters/veteran activists and some were graduates of PJALS’s Young Activist Leaders program. Plus, friends and family of many of the attendees.

If you would like to host a fundraising rooftop party for your friends and family, comrades and allies, co-workers and neighbors to have an opportunity to learn about all the amazing work the Peace and Justice Action League is engaged in, we can help you with the planning. You do the inviting, decide on the theme if any, whether there is entertainment or poets or whatever vibe you want to make of it; we’ll walk you through it. PJALS director Liz Moore, will be there to speak about PJALS triumphs and needs. Contact us at amurillo@pjals.org

The Celebration Continues!

by pjals Thursday, Jun 30, 2016 | 2:14pm | Comment on this

condiPlease keep this date and place in mind: Thursday, July 21 at 5:30 pm-7:30 pm Saranac/Community Building 25-35 W Main Ave, Spokane, Washington 99201

Our continuing 40th anniversary celebration rolls into summer. Join wonderful like-minded PJALS members on the Saranac Roof Top (rain location: Community Building Lobby) to celebrate summer, our 40th anniversary, and all our marvelous PJALS volunteers!

This is our summer general membership meeting but all are welcome including newcomers interested in learning more about PJALS.

This is a pot-luck event. But please don’t hesitate to join us just because you have nothing to bring. We will be honoring our many volunteers who are the lifeblood of the movement for peace and justice in Spokane and  Eastern Washington. These are the people who remind us by their actions that we, the people, are the true, legitimate power in a democracy not the institutional powerholders.

The Saranac rooftop is always shaded by the afternoon. It’s the perfect place to share food and drinks and listen/watch  testimonies of our history, vision for the future, stories and memories,  and to network, sign up and join up with PJALS. For those who are interested in and curious about the Peace and Justice Action League, here is where your activist life can begin.

Pride…and then, pain

by pjals Thursday, Jun 23, 2016 | 4:16pm | Comment on this

13346769_10154129670101893_1795580373583024717_nWe had the largest number of volunteers serving on our Peacekeepers team this year. Seventeen people ranging in age from young to old showed up to help keep the peace during Spokane’s 25th Anniversary Pride Day parade and festival. Some followed alongside the parade route while others monitored the religious protestor’s circle at the park entrance, forming a human, porous, barrier between them and the thousands of beautiful individuals and families who showed up to celebrate their love and respect for the LGBTQ community. Peacekeepers served to remind folks not to engage with the hateful rhetoric and, in a few instances, to calm down bitter feelings and urges to escalate the tension into physical acting out against the religious agitators. Read more »