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.
Working on the Marriage Equality Campaign to help in the fight to approve Referendum 74, I was able to work with community leaders and the local community to spread awareness on why it is so important to approve R-74. I was amazed to see how many local church congregations were in support of marriage equality for lesbian and gay citizens of Washington State. Some of the events I organized included Rally for Love and Why Marriage Matters. It was great seeing our hard work pay off on election night when we had a lead on getting Referendum 74 passed. It wasn’t until a couple days later when it was official that all of the hard work paid off and R-74 had passed. I am glad that I was a part of this monumental victory for lesbians and gays in Washington State.
When I was told that I would be sitting on PIHRC I was a little nervous since I had little knowledge of the issues that Palestinians faced. That didn’t last long since there are great individuals who sit on the committee and educated me on the issues. One of the first projects I worked on was the Bowling for Water event that helped raise money for the Maia Project. Leading up to the event I was worried that it was not going to be a successful event but in the days before the event it all came together and we were able to raise close to $1,500 towards our $4,000 goal.
I am glad that I chose PJALS for my practicum placement. I never knew how much work went into organizing events but now I realize that there is a lot of work needed to make an event successful. Lots of phone calls and emails need to be made and you have to work as a team with a group of individuals to pull an event off. It has been great working with the other EWU interns here at PJALS and with Liz and Shar. I am going to miss everyone but I am also looking forward to graduating and moving on to bigger and better things.