WA Governor Inslee Declares Moratorium on Death Penalty
Governor Inslee’s action in issuing a moratorium on the death penalty was a necessary step toward “equal justice under the law” which we agree should be the state’s primary responsibility. We thank the Governor for his leadership and courage with this action which has increased conversation on this important issue. We look forward to working with the Legislature to bring a bill to the Governor’s desk to fully repeal the death penalty in Washington State.
—statement from PJALS and Inland NW Death Penalty Abolition Group
A Time for Celebration!
by Shar Lichty
On Tuesday, Feb. 11th as the news of Governor Inslee’s moratorium on the death penalty reached me, I found my eyes welling up with tears of joy. While I knew there was a possibility this historical moment would come, I was completely unprepared for the announcement and the emotions it would evoke on that morning. Somewhat overwhelmed with joy, relief, and hope I scrambled to spread the good news to the amazing folks I am honored to work with on this issue, the members of the Inland NW Death Penalty Abolition Group (INDPAG). INDPAG is an affinity group of PJALS which was formed 30 years ago by Rusty & Nancy Nelson. Read more »
Commemoration of What?
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
Veterans for Peace is such a tonic for me that it seems almost unthinkable there could be sharp divisions among its members and chapters. I remember the thrill of solidarity at the national convention in Seattle a few years ago and affirmation from Spokane vets who attended subsequent conventions. I loved being with Western Washington members last November in Auburn, and in Tacoma in February, not to mention planning, laughing, and solving global problems with our local members.
What disharmony could exist among veterans who agree that war should be abolished as our default foreign policy and that our leaders should be accountable for the devastating costs of war? Alright. That’s a silly question for anyone who’s spent years working in peace and justice organizations. Peace mongers come in all imaginable types. In fact, it was reassuring to hear VFP leaders talk, at our Tacoma conference, about recent internal squabbles, because they involve disagreements which allow for constructive discourse and encourage independent points of view.
As one who joined VFP about the time I started working for PJALS, I was not drawn to the regional conference to be enlightened by workshops, but to be part of the community-building for our chapter as well as among state-wide chapters. Feeling some success in that, I was caught off guard by one workshop: “Vietnam Commemoration.” Read more »
Meet the Young Activist Leaders!
Monday March 24, 2014, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm
Community Building Lobby, 35 W. Main
Light refreshments, networking, & inspiring program
Come meet the active, passionate young people of PJALS’ Young Activist Leaders Program—working for lgbtq equality, criminal justice reform, economic justice, and much more! Come. Chat! Nosh. And engage with passionate & inspiring young leaders!
Young Activist Leaders: Building Our Boldness
by Jeremiah Manes
The Young Activist Leaders Program benefits those of us involved on so many levels. As a member of this program I can say that learning in connection with a small and committed group of young people provides an environment well suited to build our boldness, sense of camaraderie, and desire to create change.
The Young Activist Leaders Program effectively provides skills for activism in workshops and context for necessity of action during retreats. Young people who may feel disenfranchised from the problems they face will gain a more in-depth understanding of oppression and will be able to personalize an effective plan of action on an issue of importance.
Specifically, we have learned successful speaking skills for motivating people to action, facilitating meetings, and building campaigns. We’ve also learned community-specific ways to mobilize allies in Spokane. And always we are provided with written resources that will be valuable in future campaign planning.
I encourage any young person who is feeling immobilized, in a rut or lacking resources, to join next year’s program and be a part of the energizing group process at YALP!
Moving Forward With a New Police Contract in Spokane
by Dom Felix
One year after voters passed amended the City Charter to mandate independent investigation authority by the Office of Police Ombudsman (OPO), City Council approved a contract between the city of Spokane and the Police Guild, along with an accompanying ordinance, that severely limits when or even if the Ombudsman will have that power. Read more »
Time to Act Against Drones
by Bobby Kirl
Remember drones? The President, in his lengthy State of the Union Address last month, gave a mere three sentences to one of the most pressing issues of our age. He mentioned the word drone only once. For many of us this is not only a snub that fell far short of calling for the necessary action to put an end to the immoral use of these terrible machines, it is outright indifference to the suffering of those who his drone policies have affected so terribly.
An international call for Spring Days of Action — 2014 is ringing out across the social airwaves. This coordinated grassroots campaign, supported by a litany of activist groups and individuals of conscience, is being held this April and May. The campaign is simple in its concept, but bold in its purpose. It aims to encourage activists around the world to join in consolidated effort for a common set of goals; winning passage of local laws that prohibit drones and drone surveillance; keeping drones from being used in our communities; and seeking national laws to bar the use of weaponized drones and drone surveillance. This campaign has the potential to be a massive coalition for human rights. Read more »
Solidarity with El Salvador
Hermanas Spokane and Camp Salvador Counselors are raising money for the library of Huisisilapa:
Dinner and Auction: Saturday, March 8, at The Community School 1300 W. Knox. Tickets: $10 (a donation accepted for families). Doors open at 5:00 pm; 6:00 pm Live auction; 6:15 pm Program.
Huisisilapa (we-si-si-la-pa) is a community of former refugees from Mesa Grande in Honduras as a result of the Salvadoran Civil War. The last refugees to repopulate El Salvador from the refugee camp went to an area known as Huisisilapa (Huisi). The area was pastor land without as much as one outbuilding and of course no infrastructure.
The people arrived in Huisi April 1, 1992, to begin rebuilding their lives. They had lost everything during the war. Read more »
Inspiration & Impact in Olympia: Lobby Day!
by Bobby Kirl
On January 20th, I and members from the 6th Legislative District participated, alongside PJALS and Washington CAN members from many Eastern Washington Legislative Districts, in an exciting and highly effective lobby day in Olympia. Our PJALS delegation of 16 people was our largest to date! The atmosphere and mood of the delegation was more than this aspiring activist could have hoped for right from the start.
My first lobby day began with an inspirational rally. Several highly motivated organizers and activists shared heart-felt personal stories of their struggles and triumphs on important legislative issues like the Washington DREAM act–which has since been signed into law!– as well as increasing access to dental care, paid sick days for all workers and health care reform. The rally left the congregation with no doubt of the importance of the agenda. Shortly after that inspiration the entire group, nearly 200 strong, took to the streets for a multi-block march from the Capitol Theater all the way to the steps of the State Capital building. Read more »
Our 5th Annual Peace & Economic Justice ACTION Conference
This has become the largest skill-building, relationship weaving event of its kind in the Inland NW, bringing together 200 progressives from Montana to Seattle and beyond. There are 21 fantastic workshops to chose from! You can still register at pjals.org/2014conference, or you can come and register at the door!
Our Keynote Speaker is Kristin Stoneking, Executive Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). A vocal advocate for the Occupy/Decolonize movement, Kristin achieved national attention in November 2011 for her role in a situation with violent overtones. Police officers pepper-sprayed activists who had joined a large Occupy Davis protest. Kristin successfully mediated between the parties and, when video footage of the dramatic incident “went viral” via social media, promoted the disciplined, principled use of nonviolent action. Check out this interview with Kristin about her upcoming keynote! Read more »
2014 Peace & Economic Justice Action Conference
Rave reviews about our Action Conference:
“Great variety of programs and the opportunity to meet new people!”
“It gave me inspiration and hope.”
“Surrounded by the energy of like minded people, rare in Spokane!”
“Open discussions, amazing positive energy, and equality.”
“I met amazing people and the mingle times were so productive and interesting. The energy at this conference and the reception was amazing. Wow! It is hard to feel hopeless about America’s current state when getting together to make a change like this.”
“Idealistic but practical. Motivating, energizing.”
We want YOU to join in this year!
Enjoy Early Bird Registration Rates - through Feb 22, add $5 after Feb. 22:
- $40 General Public
- $30 members of PJALS and co-sponsoring groups
- $15 Living Lightly (self-identified low-income, students, seniors, etc)
- Limited “workshare volunteer scholarships” are available—please contact Shar at email@example.com for info. Two-hour workshare shifts include set-up, registration table, resource table, clean-up, etc.
Location: Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, 4340 W. Ft. Wright Drive Read more »
Out of the Shadows: Palestine Film Festival
Bringing Palestine out of the shadows! Help us reach beyond “the choir” to bring a new awareness to folks who might never attend an educational event about Palestine. We need to raise $1200 to do this in April.
Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane is partnering with the Arab Culture Club of Spokane Community College to present our Palestine Film Festival, and we’re asking for your help. We’ve chosen films with broad appeal: hip-hop for young folks and music lovers, a beautiful film about an African-American gospel in a Palestinian play about Martin Luther King Jr., and more.
Can you help? Every dollar you contribute will help us get this issue before a broader public, and that, as we all know, is critical to finding a just resolution to the struggle and to ending the suffering there.
You can donate with credit card or Pay Pal by clicking the button on this page, or you can send a check to:
Film Festival – Peace and Justice Action League at 35 W. Main Spokane, WA 99201.
The festival will debut at Spokane Community College with Slingshot Hip-Hop on April 9th, which braids together the stories of young Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel as they discover Hip Hop and employ it as a tool to surmount divisions imposed by occupation and poverty. From internal checkpoints and Separation Walls to gender norms and generational differences, this is the story of young people crossing the borders that separate them.
For more information on Slingshot Hip-Hop click here.
PJALS at EWU: Activist in Residence event series kicks off!
The new year is getting going strong! Our EWU Activist in Residence series began with a panel of young changemakers & me to kick off an exciting series of workshops as the Activist in Residence. All events are open to community members–please spread the word and do come!
I’m excited to be on campus and connecting with some wonderful student activists, and I’ll be attending their events–will you join me?
The EWU Black Student Union is holding an Anti-Violence Memorial Candlelighting on Friday Jan 17 at 5pm (details here).
Activist in Residence Workshops:
Students who attend all four workshops will receive a certificate. Read more »
Criminal Justice Commission’s “landmark” recommendations to require political courage, focus, and public involvement
The Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission’s “Blueprint for Reform” was presented in a private meeting to Spokane Mayor Condon, County Commissioner Mielke and Spokane City Council President Stuckart, on January 10, 2014. The reforms envisioned in the Blueprint will require an unprecedented push for structural and cultural change says the Smart Justice Spokane Campaign.
In the press conference that followed the private meeting, both Mayor Condon and Commissioner Mielke praised the Commission for its work. Smart Justice Spokane Campaign spokesperson Mary Lou Johnson, also states, “We have to express our deep gratitude for the Commission’s landmark report. It’s hard to understate just how enlightened ‘A Blueprint for Reform’ is for improving our criminal justice system and getting the most out of public dollars. But as the Commission itself acknowledges, these reforms can’t occur without large doses of political courage, a longsighted approach, and persisting resolve to ensure the changes actually occur.” Read more »
Thanks to our friends at CMTV for donating their time to make this message!
Together: community, power, and possibility!
Because of PJALS members like you, it’s been a great year–and we’re ending it with a great opportunity: our generous friends at the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund have teamed up with member donors to match all gifts made before midnight December 31, up to $3600. I know you already appreciate the work that PJALS does, so I’m hoping you’ll take advantage of this offer to double the value of your gift.
Here is what a long-time member and a new member tell us about what PJALS means to them:
I am grateful that PJALS has been a steadfast voice for peace and justice in our region for over thirty years. While our members are diverse, we have stood together in city hall demanding police accountability, marched in the streets for peace and economic justice, and have held candles at midnight when the state executes one of its own. During these times, I never fail to be moved by my deep feelings of kinship for my PJALS compatriots.
–Maurina Ladich, attorney
Miraculous work comes out of PJALS. PJALS is a beehive of activity, accomplishing changes for the good of community with limited resources, faithful volunteers, and coalition allies across eastern Washington. The work carried out here at PJALS was a breath of fresh air to me as a new resident. I’m grateful it exists and wish to see it thrive to answer to injustices and create possibilities.
– Deb Svoboda, new member of PJALS Steering Committee and EWU Professor of Social Work and Women’s & Gender Studies
This year, because of the support of members like you, we have great successes to celebrate:
- We’re supporting inspiring young social justice organizers in our Young Activist Leaders program!
- We stood strong together for peace and against war on Syria.
- We won a 70% Yes vote for Police Accountability in February–and we won’t settle for less than independent investigations!
We’re excited to work together with you to fuel more change in the year ahead:
- Organizing with the Smart Justice Campaign for alternatives to incarceration!
- Mobilizing with members like you to fully fund education and lifeline programs for struggling families.
- Engaging more and more everyday people for “Money for People, Not for War” –It’s time to turn away from militarism, cut the Pentagon budget, and fully fund human needs!
Gifts from generous people like you make our work together possible. Always, our most unwavering source of support is the community, and that means you.
Will you join hundreds of families across our region in supporting our work together with a year-end donation to PJALS? Thanks to generous member donors and the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, every gift pledged or given before midnight on December 31st will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $3600!
With PJALS’ lean and efficient budget, every gift is important, at every level! Please give at www.pjals.org/contribute.
Thank you for supporting our work together for economic justice, peace, and human rights!
–Liz, Shar, and the PJALS Steering Committee
Festivus! PJALS Holiday Party
Friday Dec 20, 6:30-8:30
Community Building Lobby, 35 W. Main
Action Needed: Sit and Lie Ordinance Vote on December 16
Emails Needed on Sit and Lie Ordinance, Attend City Council Meeting on Monday December 16
Spokane City Councilman Allen, with the support of the Downtown Spokane Partnership, has dropped an expanded “sit and lie” ordinance that will come up for a hearing and vote at the Spokane City Council meeting on Monday, December 16, 6pm.
The Smart Justice Campaign is very concerned that the “sit and lie” ordinance being considered will increase the number of non-violent people in our jail. The proposed ordinance makes it a misdemeanor crime to sit or lie on sidewalks in the downtown core between 6am and 1am, and to sit or lie on any sidewalk fixture (like a planter, bike rack, or drinking fountain) at any time. The ordinance attempts to direct people into homeless shelters instead of jail, but fails to provide resources to shelters for additional space and services, nor does it establish diversion programs to provide treatment and support services for those found to be in violation of the ordinance.
Your help is needed – Please call or email Spokane City Council members (talking points below) and urge them to oppose the Sit and Lie Ordinance, and attend the City Council Hearing on Monday December 16th. Read more »
Tell Mayor Condon: independent investigations & nothing less!
Carl Maxey, attorney and civil rights worker, said in 1975:
“There must be a viable method for getting a full and complete investigation when a death is caused by a policeman.” And 38 years later, our community’s long struggle for real oversight of police is at a pivotal moment–and YOUR voice is needed!
We won a 70% Yes vote for Police Accountability in February this year. Our votes mean our city charter now mandates independent investigations of police misconduct. And we’ll settle for nothing less!
But now, Mayor Condon has not only failed to negotiate for independent investigations in his new “tentative agreement” with the police union. He has also now produced a new ordinance that muddles the Ombudsman’s involvement in Internal Affairs-run investigations even further and clearly violates Prop 1–ALL with NO written assurances that the Police Guild won’t file a challenge against the ordinance. Police accountability advocates are calling this combination “the worst of all possible worlds.”
The 3 Most Important Things You Can Do:
1. NOW: email Councilmembers–vote NO on the contract AGAIN and NO on the ordinance. We won’t accept anything less than what our votes mandated in our city charter! (See below for sample message you can edit, and post your letter in the comments below!)
2. TOMORROW: come to the Mayor’s public forum Thursday Dec 12, 6pm to 8pm, at West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt.
3. MONDAY: come to City Council Monday Dec 16, starting 6pm to show your support for the will of the voters or to testify. Read more »
Notes from the fundraising learning curve
I’ve been an activist and organizer since high school, and I’ve worked with some inspiring folks on a wide variety of issues. But my depth of experience with fundraising is much less, well, deep. This past year has brought a great deal of new information, practice, and some dawning understanding about what it can mean to raise the funds we need in order to organize social justice campaigns, develop new leaders, and involve people like you.
The most important thing I know for sure is that we never need to rely on foundation grants. Organizing for “peace” isn’t very “fundable” right now. But that’s ok, because community members who support PJALS at every level are our most steadfast source of support for our lean & efficient budget and always have been. Read more »
WANTED: Volunteer Coordinator, Office Manager, Bookkeeping Assistant, Bookkeeper, Treasurer, CPA
We’re seeking justice-lovers and peaceniks to join the team of dedicated volunteers that make this organization function from the inside out! Good work environment and lots of appreciation guaranteed! Call 838-7870 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Read more »
Over the counter
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
May Americans with some degree of accountability or any inclination for peace please agree to stop pretending that counter-terrorism is something other than terrorism?
It seems to me that the land of the free and the home of the brave used to be a little more squeamish about openly discussing our intentions to terrorize populations in other parts of the world. Today, anyone we want to call a terrorist is considered fair game for murder or torture by our counter-terrorists, and if we kill a few too many bystanders who happen to be elderly, pre-adolescent, and/or female, well, they could hardly have been less than potential terrorists. “Collateral damage” is a specious term and so last war. And if we can’t nail them as terrorists, they must be, at least, insurgents. This is all said or thought, not out of freedom or courage, but out of debilitating fear. Read more »
Police Accountability: Council rejects TA
By Dom Felix, Intern
The struggle for independent oversight of police continues. After 21 months of negotiations between the Mayor and the Police Guild, the voters are not any closer to it than they were after passing Proposition 1 way back in February 2013.
On November 1st, City Legal and The Police Guild released a Tentative Agreement (TA) that they and Mayor Condon claimed fulfilled Proposition 1. Read more »
Your Snowflakes created a Blizzard for Accountability
Our snowflakes created a facebook blizzard that could not be ignored! Thank you to the more than 40 individuals who helped spread the message: Mayor Condon failed the voters; Council: Reject the new police contract; Police Accountability for Spokane NOW! Click here for the collage all the “snowflakes”!
We helped to call out Mayor Condon on his complete failure to listen to the voters who overwhelmingly passed Prop. 1 and put pressure on the Council to unanimously reject the police contract.
There is still a lot of work ahead for us to achieve independent oversight for the Office of Police Ombudsman but for now let us bask in our victory!
Super heroes unite!
PJALS members and friends revealed their true superhero identities on Oct 25 at our SuperFriends Party! Big thanks to photographer Aaron Kathman for documenting the fun in our Hall of Justice Photo Booth!
“Move, Cathy–Get Out of the Way!”
PJALS members join OneAmerica for Immigration Reform Action Nov 13
Momentum for commonsense immigration reform is growing. But Speaker John Boehner has yet to schedule a vote. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers continues to stand behind him. And 1,100 people are deported each day. We spoke out to call on GOP leadership to vote on a pathway to citizenship this year!
Members of Washington Community Action Network and PJALS as well as college students from Whitworth, EWU, and Whitman were arrested in a civil disobedience action to convey the urgency of comprehensive immigration reform.
PJALS Members and Smart Justice Supporters Turn Out for CJC Hearing
By Dom Felix, Intern
The Spokane County Commissioners and Mayor Condon appointed a joint City-County Regional Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) in November 2012, charged with recommending reforms to our criminal justice system. The Commission’s final recommendations will provide the “to do list” for City and County elected officials to implement criminal justice reform. Their recommendations were released in a 60 page draft November 1st 2013.
On Nov. 6th the CJC held a hearing to get input from the community. There were nearly 150 community members at the hearing. Read more »
Build your communication skills for effective lobbying!
Frustrated with the political process? Feel like your voice is not heard when communicating with your legislators? Want to increase skills for effective meetings with legislators?
If so, please join us on Thursday, Dec. 5th at 5:30pm in the Community Building, 35 W. Main.
Come and learn effective methods of communicating with your state representative! We will use state revenue as the subject matter for this workshop, but the principles of communication apply to any issue. Come and learn how to let your voice be heard here and in Olympia! We will also be recruiting for a delegation to go to MLK Lobby Day in Olympia to put these skills to good use!
For more information, contact Shar at email@example.com or 838-7870.
Your Voice is Needed for Smart Justice: Hearing Wed., Nov. 6
We’re part of the Smart Justice Campaign because PJALS members like you told us alternatives to incarceration and criminal justice reform are worth winning. Now is the time for us to spring into action together!
Your Voice is Needed at November 6th Hearing to
Police Oversight: Out of Excuses
Police Oversight: Out of Excuses
People like you–making your voices heard–have made the difference at every step as we’ve worked with great determination to win real, meaningful independent oversight of police for Spokane.
As we know, change worth working for doesn’t come quick or easy!
It’s time now for us to mobilize again–can we count on you? Read more »
“From Spokane With Love” World Premiere to benefit PJALS
Thursday Oct 17
Magic Lantern Theater, 25 W. Main
7pm reception; 7:30 showing
Come for the reception at 7:00 with finger foods handmade by Shahrokh Nikfar!
“From Spokane With Love” is a heart-warming, entertaining and informative movie about the Friendship Delegation from Spokane who went to Iran to try and bridge the gap of stereotypes and misinformation and bring their two peoples together.
Shahrokh says it is the BEST DOCUMENTARY EVER.
Tickets are $20
or call 838-7870, or purchase at the PJALS office or at the door.
Independent Oversight of Police: “Out of Excuses”
Independent Oversight of Police: “Out of Excuses”
Councilmember Salvatori brings forward an ordinance expanding Ombudsman powers!
In February 2013, Spokane voters passed Proposition 1 with a 70% yes vote, to mandate independent investigations of Spokane police. Councilmember Salvatori’s ordinance will now implement that mandate.
From the Inlander story “Out of Excuses”
Salvatori says he’s “out of excuses” for citizens who ask why Proposition 1, a measure passed overwhelmingly in February to give the Office of Police Ombudsman expanded powers, hasn’t yet resulted in actual changes. The city says such changes — among them, independent investigative powers and a commission to choose future ombudsmen — will be included in a new contract with the Spokane Police Guild, but the two sides haven’t reached one in 20 months of negotiations.
Testify or come show your support on Monday Sept 30, 6pm at City Hall
Urge Councilmembers to vote Yes:
Ben Stuckart: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amber Waldref: email@example.com
Nancy McLaughlin: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Fagan: email@example.com
Mike Allen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jon Snyder: email@example.com
Steve Salvatori: firstname.lastname@example.org
Time is Now to Say No War on Syria
and Yes to Practical Peace-Building Actions
With all three of our Congressional delegation saying they are “undecided” on authorization of military intervention in Syria, THIS IS THE WINDOW for us to act! All are hearing from constituents, and all need to hear from YOU!
The full Senate will vote this week; the House vote is not yet scheduled.
When you call, or when you talk to friends, here are the best resources I’ve seen about why we MUST say no to war with Syria and the practical peace-building actions we can take instead. Read more »
Talking to Electeds: No War on Syria
On Thursday a multi-generational delegation including PJALS members, Veterans for Peace, and clergy visited Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ office where we met with her District Director Louise Fendrich and Senator Cantwell’s office where we met with her Eastern Washington Representative Bryan Raines. Both said their offices had received many calls–keep ‘em coming! Here’s our quick debrief of our first meeting:
Each person shared his or her own story and most important reasons to vote NO on any authorization of military intervention in Syria: Read more »
The Unknown Peace Pact
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
Why is it that we – humans, Americans, patriots, progressives, veterans, educators and educated, thinkers and doers – have never been able to get violence out of our system? This question screamed at me, again, as I pondered the unlikely existence of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed by most of the world’s nations in 1928. Read more »
Saying NO to Civil Liberties Violations
PJALS members at our July 3rd 2013 action against government violations of our civil liberties received positive responses from passersby.
The Intersections of Us
by Shar Lichty
At the end of July I was fortunate to attend the Activists Mobilizing for Power (AMP) Conference put on each year by Western States Center in Portland. I have been wanting to attend this conference for four years and this year all the forces were in alignment to make it happen.
I have a lot of respect for the work Western States Center does, particularly in the areas of racial and queer equity. As I found myself surrounded by 400 like-minded individuals at a conference that offered several workshops on how to advance this work, had gender neutral restrooms, and a plenary on the gender binary, I felt at home.
One of the most moving experiences I had during my three days at AMP happened at a film screening for All of Us North Carolina, a documentary about queer people of color who fought against NC’s Amendment One, which stripped domestic partners of their civil rights. Read more »
Smart Justice needs you this fall
Our community has a huge opportunity to make major reforms our criminal justice system starting this year. A three-member Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission that was appointed by the Mayor of Spokane and the County Commissioners is in the process of conducting a comprehensive and broad review of the criminal justice system that is in the process of conducting a comprehensive and broad review of the criminal justice system. Read more »
Engaging students for social justice! PJALS Director will be first Activist-in-Residence at EWU
PJALS is excited to announce that director Liz Moore will serve as the first Activist-in-Residence at EWU this winter. This is a wonderful opportunity to further the work we’ve begun through our Young Activist Leaders Program and our community organizing internships. Read more »
Peace & Justice Action Committee: A new model to advance our work
by Shar Lichty
After a summer off, our Peace & Justice Action Committee (PJAC) will be resuming our meeting schedule on Sept. 19th with a new approach: leadership development and campaign-specific organizing. Read more »
Say NO to US War on Syria
War is not the answer! US military intervention in Syria will lead to more bloodshed and deaths. Come join members of the PJALS, Veterans for Peace, and people from all over Spokane as we make our “NO WAR” position visible. ALL WELCOME!
Say NO to US War on Syria
Saturday August 31, 2:00 pm
Riverfront Park Fountain at Howard & Spokane Falls Blvd
Here are 5 ways you can ACT NOW:
- Spread the word on Facebook about Saturday’s rally or download & post this flier
- Join us to make signs Friday at 2pm in the Community Building Lobby, 35 W. Main. Bring your own materials or use ours.
- Donate to support this rapid response at www.pjals.org/contribute –all gifts appreciated!
- Sign these three petitions–and share them!
- Educate yourself with these useful articles below.
Petitions to Sign and share:
- Prevent an Attack on Syria Now–call for alternatives – from Roots Action
- Demand that no military action be taken in Syria without prior Congressional authorization! – from Win Without War
- NO U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTION IN SYRIA! — from Credo
- NEW: Iraq Veterans Against The War’s statement Against Military Force in Syria:So long as non-military avenues exist, we demand their use before war. According to current opinion-polls, the majority of Americans share our deep opposition to military intervention. As veterans, we know all too well the limitations of military action to bring meaningful resolution, and this is why we now call upon the U.S. and international community to exhaust every available non-military option to ensure that a cease-fire is diplomatically secured in Syria. We firmly believe that the Syrian people have the right to self-determination and that international leaders should work tirelessly to secure a space within which the Syrian people can pursue a lasting reconciliation free of outside interference.
- 10 simple points to help you understand the Syria conflict
- Syria: Another Western War Crime In The Making
- Bob Dreyfuss, The Nation: No War With Syria
- IPA: An Illegal War Forced on Syria That Benefits Al-Qaeda?
- Mairead Maguire: Syria: No Armaments to Rebels
- Phyllis Bennis: There is No Military Solution to Syria
- More from the Institute for Policy Studies
The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. … If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, … want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. …. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.
12 hours for everyday suffering
by Lucia Vazquez
To bring attention to the suffering and struggles of undocumented Americans, I participated in a 12-hour fast along with 10 other folks from Spokane and Walla Walla on July 3rd in front of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ office.
At first I was very optimistic of being able to do the full 12 hours with only water to drink yet as the day progressed I doubted being able to make it– my feet were sore, my head pounding, constant thoughts of food raced in my head.
My pain was nothing compared to the number of years families wait to see their loved ones, the deaths of innocent people attempting to seek a better future, the agony undocumented students experience knowing that tuition is due, the fear children face when their parents leave for work, the cruel reality that you’re one traffic stop from deportation–these are all real scenarios and being able to symbolized the suffering undocumented people face every day was my motivation. Read more »
Patriots Say NO to US Civil Liberties Violations
This next week we’re going to hear a lot about patriotism. What does patriotism mean to you?
To me, it’s most important to be loyal to humans and our planet as a whole, not to focus too much on nationality. I feel suspicious of so-called patriotism being used to silence critical thinking and dissent. I like Barbara Ehrenreich’s quote: “No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.” In fact, dissent, rebellion, and hell-raising have a strong track record of strengthening democracy & justice in our country and all over the world.
On that note–Will you join me and other PJALS folks to speak out against US violations of civil liberties–NSA spying, call-tracking, email surveillance; unlawful detentions, force-feeding, & rights violations at Guantanamo; and the persecution of whistleblowers Eric Snowden & Bradley Manning? Join us on Wednesday July 3 at 5pm on Division at North River Dr, near the Wendy’s. Read more »
Human Rights, the US Drug War, and Grassroots Nonviolent Resistance in Colombia
Just back from a month-long research trip in Colombia, John Lindsay-Poland of the Fellowship of Reconciliation will share eyewitness experiences with communities using active nonviolence to refuse participation in the armed conflict, civil groups maintaining collective memory of the conflict, as well as with soldiers who have been part of this long war. Learn about peace communities, the current process seeking an end to war, and efforts to hold the United States accountable for its role in Colombia’s trauma.
Thursday July 18, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Salem Lutheran Church
1428 W. Broadway Ave., Spokane, WA 99201
Since 2000, the United States has spent more than $8 billion on “Plan Colombia,” most of it military aid, as part of the “drug war” and “war on terrorism.” Nearly five decades of armed conflict in Colombia have subjected Indigenous people, women, union activists, youth, journalists, and human rights workers to violence by guerrillas, paramilitaries and the U.S.-backed Colombian military. Yet, despite this adversity, Colombians refuse to give up in their courageous quest for peace and social justice.
Remembering Al Mangan
by Louise Chadez
Aloysius Anthony Mangan, Jr. died on Holy Saturday, March 30th at the age of 92. He had been living in California with son Barry and his family.
I first met Al Mangan in 1984 at a rally against the white trains at Fairchild, there with my then 2 month old daughter. Al had moved to Ford, WA, but later moved to a small house on Dean in the West Central neighborhood. His house was full of books and he was always reading. And he could recite passages from Tennyson, Burns, and Poe.
Al was both a mentor and a friend. He was active in PJALS, involved in bringing a Pax Christi group to Spokane, and always involved in the local protests. Read more »
In Memoriam… Al Mangan
by Rusty and Nancy Nelson
In the development of PJALS, the contributions of Al Mangan are unlikely to be matched. We who treasure his friendship and example are saddened by his death and inspired to be more proactive in the promotion of justice.
Remembering Al, we are first tempted to try to list the times he was arrested for disturbing the war or following the demands of the Nuremberg Principles, the times we were arrested with him, and his example of knowing and upholding the law in spite of distortions and evasions by the courts. His rap sheet, impressive as it was, shows little of his depth. His courage and convictions were bolstered by his faith and a relentless self-education. Read more »
Fretting about Fairchild …and other chronic ills
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
Long ago, in a time of relative innocence and prosperity, the people of the Spokane area hitched themselves to the star of the U.S. Air Force. It didn’t take much reflection or study, just a simple faith that our country and it’s military establishment had always been noble and right and would never betray our confidence that Fairchild Air Force Base would make us all safer, prouder, and wealthier.
As the USAF celebrates 65 years, many of us have been cynical for a long time, especially we who have done horrible things under military orders and then watched as our safety, pride and wealth are stripped from people and bestowed upon corporations. In spite of hard numbers and unresolved superfund sites, we are expected to believe that Fairchild is the best thing that ever happened to our area’s economy. Read more »
Marching for Immigration Reform
By Lucy Vazquez, PJALS intern
The streets of Downtown Spokane echoed with a powerful “Sí Se Puede” (yes we can) on May 1st as approximately 150 Mechistas, PJALS folks, students, and other community members marched on the streets in support of a just and humane Comprehensive Immigration Reform that will create a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11.2 million undocumented people currently living in the United States. Read more »
“I have done things I never thought I was capable of “
by Michelle Little
When I first chose to do my internship with PJALS, I was a bit wary of how well I could function as a community organizer. I can’t even keep my house organized, so the thought of organizing a whole community was a bit intimidating. However, looking back over the experience I have had with PJALS it was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. Read more »
“I was part of a monumental victory”
by Justin Filla
These past nine months at PJALS has been a great experience. I have had the privilege of sitting on the Marriage Equality Committee as well as the Palestine and Israel Human Rights Committee (PIHRC). From sitting on these committees I had the opportunity to work with some amazing individuals who have an abundance of knowledge and passion for the issues we worked on. Read more »