The Blogful of Salt
PJALS Priorities for Action 2014-2015
As a collective of activists, PJALS staff, steering committee members, and committee chairs addressed the difficult task of prioritizing efforts when there are seemingly endless injustices being carried out through direct acts and perpetuated through acquiescence and silence. Prioritizing our work aids us in focusing our “hands, heart, and head” efforts for a period of time for the best possible outcomes, leaving room for rapid response to an ever changing landscape.
As the Steering Committee Chairperson, I’m excited to share with you the three PJALS Priorities for Action 2014-2015. With your support through membership, volunteering, showing up, and lending your voice, PJALS can continue the movement for peace and justice. Read more »
Another Look at the Cycle of Violence
I believe you know that support for capital punishment in this country: is diminishing; was only a foot deep when it was a mile wide; is based upon fear and ignorance rather than common sense or justice, and; is always weakened when executions are honestly examined as factors in the cycle of violence in our communities and institutions.
You should also know that Gov. Inslee’s moratorium on executions is little comfort to the men on our death row in Walla Walla, who believe they are likely to be killed when a new governor takes office. Believing this is a splendid time to ban the death penalty and that public enlightenment is the best way forward, the Inland Northwest Death Penalty Abolition Group wants Spokane to see its new production of The Exonerated on November 21 or 22, at Gonzaga University. The Center for Justice produced two performances of The Exonerated, five years ago at the Civic Theatre, and is co-sponsoring this show, which will, again, be directed by Bryan Harniteaux, Spokane’s attorney/playwright. Read more »
MAIA PROJECT – Gaza Water Purification Unit update
This is a different update from what we originally planned to give, as since July 8, Gaza has been under almost constant attack from Israeli bombing and shelling, and Khan Younis, where “our” unit is located at Atfal Al-Ghad (Children of Tomorrow) pre-school and Kindergarten, has been particularly devastated.
Deborah Agre from our partner Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) told us in mid-August that they don’t yet have a report on the water units there, as the primary concern right now is keeping people safe, recovering the dead and treating the injured. What they do know is that the UNWRA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) schools in which the units are installed have been used as shelter for families fleeing bombs and needing shelter when their homes were destroyed, many of which were themselves bombed. Units that were built to serve hundreds of children during school hours have had to put out clean water for tens of thousands of people, 24 hours/day if they are working at all. MECA does not know yet how the units are performing at so far above capacity. Read more »
Nonviolence in Action: Peacekeeping for Successful Protests
We are offering a great workshop for protesters, organizers, and folks thinking of volunteering as peacekeepers for any social justice cause! Our Oct 1 workshop will focus on preparing for our Oct 9 protest when Condoleezza Rice speaks at the Convention Center, but the skills are completely transferable. Come learn how trained peacekeepers can help create a successful demonstration or action for social justice and peace. We’ll cover nonviolence principles and guidelines, techniques to defuse and de-escalate potentially volatile situations, and how to organize a team of peacekeepers. And, we’ll practice so we are more likely to use these new skills in real life!
No cost. Donations gladly accepted!
Community Building, 35 W. Main, Wednesday, Oct 1
Food at 5:30 (light refreshments)
Training begins at 6:00 pm and will finish at 8:00 pm.
Successfully completing this training makes you eligible to join PJALS’ Peacekeeper Team, but there is NO obligation and it’s open to all interested. We offered this same workshop on August 6 with wonderful participation from a great group of new and experienced peaceniks.
We are building up our pool of trained peacekeepers and our team of trainers. If you’re interested in becoming a trainer for this workshop, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re planning on offering more workshops in April and June 2015, so we need your skills!
Role playing at August Training:
Director’s reflection: How to build peace
This spring, as we sat down with our 2013-2014 community organizing interns to talk about their experience with us, we realized that somehow none of them had led chants into a bullhorn, none of them had held banners while we marched, none of them had managed sign-in at a rally. We were shocked when we realized we hadn’t held a major march or rally since our rapid response in September which was part of the successful national push-back against US war on Syria.
This summer has looked far different! Starting with a Global Day Against Military Spending action, we’ve mobilized in April rain, May sun, June heat, July 4th weekend traffic, and late July wildfire smoke for actions calling to “End the Spiral of Violence: End these Endless Wars” with a focus on opposing increased US military presence in Iraq, extending our occupation of Afghanistan into 2016, and US-funded military attacks on Gaza.
Repeatedly as we get ready to mobilize, I look for the writings of thought-leaders and opinion-makers on what to call for instead of the latest proposal to bomb. This is especially necessary because the pro-war extremists have been pretty consistent about adding a humanitarian talking point to their list of reasons war is the answer, and that talking point is effective. Read more »
Smart Justice Campaign: Ban the Box Win!
The Smart Justice Campaign just had a win! On August 4th, Spokane Mayor David Condon publicly asked the Civil Service to remove the box asking about criminal convictions from city employment applications, and that his administration will make changes to the process for conducting criminal background checks. This announcement comes after Council President Ben Stuckart and Spokane City Council Member Jon Snyder led on this issue by sending a letter to the City’s Civil Service Chief Examiner requesting that they ban the box.
Spokesman-Review wrote a great editorial in support making the connection that reducing barriers to employment for people with criminal records part of implementing smart justice.
This announcement is an important first step in creating fairer opportunities for people with criminal convictions to find employment and move forward. Our thanks and appreciation to Council Member Jon Snyder, Council President Ben Stuckart, and Mayor David Condon. Read more »
Smart Justice: “There’s No Voice Like Your Voice!” PhotoVoice project
I am excited to tell you that PJALS is teaming up with Smart Justice Spokane and I Did The Time to invite you or other folks who’ve experienced the realities of our criminal justice system to tell your own story ! Will you share your experience with law enforcement, courts, and/or jail by joining our Smart Justice PhotoVoice Project? Or, will you invite someone you know? Please contact us to learn more about this exciting PhotoVoice project at email@example.com or 838-7870.
Smart Justice Spokane is a broad, diverse coalition of more than 30 organizations, community members, and criminal justice professionals who have come together to reform our expensive, ineffective, and unfair criminal justice system. Instead of warehousing members of our community in jail, who pose no danger to our neighborhoods, we are urging our elected officials to spend our tax dollars on proven programs that are fiscally responsible, reduce crime, and create a strong and healthy community. PJALS is a proud member of Smart Justice Spokane. Read more »
Condoleezza Rice speaking in Spokane
Whitworth University is bringing Condoleezza Rice as part of their President’s Leadership Forum on Thursday, October 9th at the Convention Center. PJALS is working with other local groups including Vets for Peace and Occupy Spokane to organize a nonviolent protest outside of her event. If you would like to be a part of the planning process please contact Shar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-838-7870.
There are so many reasons to oppose Rice’s visit to Spokane and with recent military escalations in Iraq it has become very timely. While current military decisions are Obama’s, we must not forget the lies from the Bush administration used to justify the illegal Iraq war. Among the 935 false statements from the Bush administration following 9/11, 56 came directly from Rice.
Here are a few links regarding these false statements:
False statements: http://www.publicintegrity.org/2008/01/23/5641/false-pretenses
Searchable database: http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/06/24/14969/search-935-iraq-war-false-statements
Misguided honor: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/04/03/misguided-honor-for-condi-rice/
Please join us at 11:30am on Oct. 9th in front of the Convention Center
to stand in peaceful opposition to her visit.
More resources on Condoleezza Rice’s false statements: Read more »
We need you!
PJALS Inland NW Death Penalty Abolition Group (INDPAG) is busy gearing up for the legislative session and a push for legislative repeal of the death penalty. In addition to civic engagement, we seek to increase member engagement, public awareness, and participation from the local faith communities. We need you to help advance our work! Here are a few ways you can get involved and make a difference:
Attend a house gathering in your legislative district. In Sept. we have wonderful PJALS members in the 3rd, 4th, and 6th legislatives districts who are hosting gatherings in their homes. These gatherings will provide a great opportunity to meet other folks passionate about this work, learn more about our work and ways to make a difference. Will you join us at one of these lovely gatherings?
Invite our faith panel to speak to your congregation. We want to build upon and strengthen our relationship with the progressive faith community in Spokane while building capacity in Eastern Washington for our work to repeal the death penalty. Are you a member or pastor of a church that would like to host our panel for a discussion on the issue?
Be a part of planning our work. INDPAG meets on the 2nd and 4th Wed. of each month at 5:30pm in the Community Bldg. 35 W. Main. Do you have ideas on how to advance our work, an interest in planning, or a desire to get more involved?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, please contact Shar at email@example.com or 509-838-7870.
Ethiopian Education Fund
Ethiopian Education Fund
by Elaine Tyrie
Enjoy an evening of history, education, and Ethiopian food to support the Ethiopian Education Fund.
You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Flier with event information here
Year of Youth!
PJALS members like you supported youth as leaders for justice in three ways this year!
Congrats to the graduating YALPistas of 2014! Our Young Activist Leaders Program offers passionate youth leaders ways to strengthen their own youth-led groups. Hear from YALPistas Vitamin J, Amy, and Sevan!
Teaching as the first-ever EWU Activist in Residence, PJALS’ Liz Moore reached over 140 students with nonviolence & social justice. Pics here!
Young Activist Leaders program: “organize, mobilize, and facilitate”
The Young Activist Leadership Program has been instrumental in teaching me how to organize, mobilize, and facilitate for a number of causes, including teaching me how to efficiently manage my own grassroots movement. YALP has brought my activism to a higher level of effectiveness, motivating and giving me the tools necessary to organize the pursuit of issues I’m so passionate about.
–Justin “Vitamin J” Pimsanguan, Don’t Shoot
Young Activist Leaders program: “stretch the limits of our everyday thinking”
It has been very refreshing to connect with other young activists from different back-grounds and experiences with different goals and aspirations. YALP has proven to me to be a very open, comfortable environment to ask the questions we’ve hesitated to ask before, to stretch the limits of our everyday thinking and to appreciate others for our own unique qualities and skills. The commitment to participate in YALP is well-tailored to the demanding life of a young adult, making the resources and tools gained well worth the effort.
Amy Cowin, Chair of Spokane Chapter of Washington Young Emerging Labor Leaders (WA YELL)
Write, Tinker, Abolish
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
By the time I wrote my first editorial about the death penalty, Nancy had produced several articles, including a commentary in the Spokesman Review, but Washington had not yet killed Dodd and Campbell. Lethal injection was catching on, but Nevada had resumed executions with a firing squad, Florida electrocuted a man whose crime would have been self-defense if he had not been gay, and Washington was dusting off its gallows. If I had been better organized and more careful, I could compile a book from our experiences, observations and opinions on state killings. And I have a lot more to say. More than I’ll try to cram into this space.
To paraphrase Einstein, everything’s changed about executions in the U.S. but the way we think about them. Two recent developments should affect the way Americans think about capital punishment, but thinking doesn’t change easily. Read more »
Young Activist Leaders program: tools, skills, confidence!
YALP has given me many tools and ability to connect with other social justice advocates.
The tools I’ve learned I have taken back to young people I work with at Odyssey Youth Center. This has included planning successful events, running meetings that don’t suck and addressing racism with young people. All of these have increased my confidence and allowed me to practice new skills in a safe place, and that’s YALP.
–Sevan Bussell, Health and Wellness Coordinator, Odyssey Youth Center
Dom Felix: “Impossible to Leave”
I have truly enjoyed my time as a PJALS Intern. I cannot imagine having done my practicum anywhere else. When other students in my cohort share their experience at their practicum sites I am surprised by stories where students feel as though their work doesn’t matter. I hear about endless intakes, “Name and date of birth please.” I have never felt like my work at PJALS didn’t matter. Often I felt like I was not the most qualified person for the job, but by working on campaigns that really matter to me I think I was able to be effective.
When I started in the fall the Spokane Police Accountability and Reform Coalition was working feverishly to empower the Office of Police Ombudsman. Sadly a new contract was approved that left Proposition 1 voters wanting more. On a more positive note Spokane has a much better Internal Affairs process in place now. Body cameras that should make excessive force complaints easier to verify have been approved. Some goals were not met, but the system is better now than it was before. I learned that changing policy requires a long attention span. Read more »
Marching for Immigration Reform
Jeremiah Manes and YALP alum Molly Ftizpatrick carry the PJALS banner at the May 1 2014 march for Immigration Reform. PJALS Organizer Shar Lichty and member Mark Hamlin offered a Peacekeeper training for MEChA de EWU members who organized the event.
Jeremiah Manes: “Creating the Culture We Want to See”
As a social work student at Eastern Washington University, I joined PJALS to gain the field experience that supplements classroom learning. With elementary awareness of privilege, oppression and social injustice, but without knowledge of the activist skill-set used to counter this oppression, I came to PJALS to develop these skills.
My time here was spent on our Palestine-Israel Human Rights Committee, Young Activist Leaders Program, and planning and promoting community events such as our annual Action Conference, Soiree fundraiser and Palestine Film Festival. These experiences offered valuable opportunities for my future social work path, wherever that may be. Read more »
Activist in Residence: PJALS reaching EWU students on campus
Over 200 students learned about PJALS, social justice campaigns, being allies to each other, nonviolence, and more through workshops & class presentations by PJALS director Liz Moore.
Participants who completed all 4 Activist in Residence workshops received certificates in Social Justice Leadership.
Truth in Recruitment: a letter from Veterans for Peace member George Taylor
Dear concerned citizens,
Truth in Recruiting is a nationwide educational program sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Society of Friends, the War Resistance League and many other national groups. It is an informational vehicle designed to present a more accurate and truthful presentation about enlistment into all branches of the armed forces: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine. This program seeks to expose the information that most official recruiters for the armed services keep quietly to themselves: Information like the extreme suicide and sexual assault rates in the military; or that 40 percent of recruits who enlist in the military today will not complete their full term of service.
The Veterans for Peace, chapter 35 in Spokane, has also created its own Truth in Recruiting program. It maintains that students in the public school system, as well as their parents and teachers, deserve the right to be presented with all of the accurate and truthful information about armed forces enlistment in order to make the most informed choices regarding their future. Read more »
Smart Justice Campaign Update: New Law & Justice Council for Spokane
On May 6, the Spokane County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to create a Law and Justice Council to coordinate a regional criminal justice system. The Spokesman Review article about the vote is here. Both the Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission’s Blueprint for Reform and our Smart Justice Campaign recommended creating a Law and Justice Council, so this is a step forward.
Now, the County Commissioners need to hear from you! This is an important time to thank them and share your support for Smart Justice Campaign recommendations going forward.
The success of the Law and Justice Council is going to ride on the make up of the Law and Justice Council, AND on the engagement of the public in informing the Council’s work with stories and expertise, and holding our elected officials accountable to make sure that the Council’s top priority is implementing smart justice.
Will you take a minute to contact the Spokane County Board of Commissioners? Please thank them for their leadership in creating the Law and Justice Council, and make the following four recommendations: Read more »
US Militarism and the girls of Nigeria
by Liz Moore
More than two hundred girls kidnapped in Nigeria have caught the sympathy of many in the West, and that attention has helped to prompt US military aid as part of the effort to rescue them.
It started as a simple #BringBackOurGirls call gaining amplification on social media. Then came the names of the girls, which I and others re-posted as a way of making more specific and more powerful our call for their return. And then, wiser people pointed out that listing the girls’ names puts them in greater danger in the future and violates their right to decide whether or not to be public about their experience. I had to pause my urge to help to learn whether my actions were actually helpful or harmful.
The world clamor, led by protests by parents in Nigeria, led to greater attention and some international response. The US government response, of course, was to offer “counter-terrorism assistance.”
Let us pause again to see if our offer of help is actually helpful. Read more »
What is “Nakba”?
Yesterday marked the 66th year since the Nakba, or “catastrophe” for Palestinian people living in present-day Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and in diaspora around the world. While Israeli Jews celebrate their independence day, increasing outspoken commemoration of the other side of independence is taking place throughout Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel proper. The popular myth believed by many in the U.S. about Israel revolves around the idea of “a people without a land returning to their holy land” in a procession similar to the whitewashed version of American history in which European settlers arrived at a mostly empty land and went about making it home. The problem with both of these narratives is that they fail to mention just how not-empty the promised land was when they got there. In 1948, more than 750,000 Palestinian Arabs were displaced by the military directly or voluntarily, with the intention to return home, after hearing stories of violent displacement in other nearby villages.
If you temporarily left home, you would bring your keys with you to open the door upon your return. Today, many of the descendants of the 1948 refugees, in the third or fourth generation removed from the Nakba, still have these keys and keep them as a symbol of their intention to return home. Almost a year ago, I was able to visit the West Bank and saw one of the few villages that was evacuated, but not demolished, Lifta. The grandchildren of the people who lived, loved, worked, argued, and played here still live nearby in many cases, but are unable to see what would have been their home due to the occupation. Without knowing the history, the ruins of the buildings overgrown with cacti and flowers appears very beautiful. After learning the story behind it though, it becomes more difficult to enjoy the sight of the old stone homes and roads.
Just like Americans in the West who were raised on a narrative of progress and westward expansion that left out the genocide of the Native population that predicated it, Israeli Jews have been insulated from the ugly history of their nation’s founding by a culture of fear and nationalism. Former Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff Moshe Dayan summed up the strategy of erasing history selectively when he said, “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either…There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab Population.” The restriction of information about the Nakba was an intentional decision to dehumanize the population of Palestinians further in the eyes of Jewish settlers. Increasingly, the Jewish population in Israel is being confronted with the suppressed story of the Nakba. A culture of fear and nationalism has kept the story skewed for nearly seventy years, but with wider access to information and huge nonviolent action by Palestinian neighbors with growing international solidarity movements, it has become more difficult to ignore.
To learn more about the ongoing Nakba displacing people from their homes and denying their right to return, and about strategies to end this oppression, check out these links and photos:
Younes Arar has an excellent ongoing photo documentation of Palestinian resistance on Facebook here.
If you have other great resources, please include them in the comments!
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 »
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 »
Blueprint for Reform calls for “Smart Justice”
by Dom Felix
The Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) released its report “Blueprint for Reform” January 10th 2014. Many of the Smart Justice Campaign’s policy recommendations are in the CJC’s report–ideas like moving to an evidence-based criminal justice system, creating a Disproportionate Minority Contact Workgroup to address racial disparities, building culturally appropriate programs and support service for offenders, reforming the system to be offender-centered rather than offence-centered, and delaying the building of a new jail or increasing jail capacity until after alternatives and new practices are implemented and evaluated.
This is a great success for the Smart Justice Campaign. These recommendations have the power to improve our criminal justice system and save money at the same time. 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 »
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 »
Books Not War benefit booksale brought people together and raised funds
We built a bookstore out of donated books in the lobby of the Community Building on Oct 5. Volunteers sorted out some “staff pics” to highlight. Bobby Kirl and Sheila Fox played music we all enjoyed! Roast House loaned us their melitta station. And folks gathered to drink coffee, tuck books under their arms, and chat!
Much appreciation to all who donated books and goodies, played music, and helped make this event a big success!
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 email@example.com 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!
Welcome new intern Jeremiah Manes!
Jeremiah Manes is a 24 year old senior in the EWU Social Work program. He is from Coeur d’Alene and recently transferred from Lewis and Clark State and moved to Spokane. He pursued social work because the values associated with it resonated strongly with him. He joined PJALS hoping to build skills in the area of political activism where he has no previous experience
Jeremiah is involved in the Young Activist Leaders Program (YALP), the Peace and Justice Action Committee (PJAC) and the Palestine-Israel Human Rights Committee (PIHRC). Read more »
Welcome new intern Dom Felix!
Dom Felix joined PJALS this year as part of an internship through Eastern Washington University’s Social Work program. Dom has been a long-time resident of the Spokane area who recently chose to pursue higher education in hopes of becoming a chemical dependency counselor. Now as a senior in the program, Dom has come to the decision that working on systemic social change would be a more constructive use of his social work career. This realization lead to Dom choosing PJALS as an internship placement when he became aware of the organization during a lobby day trip to Olympia last year. Read more »
Bobby Kirl joins our team in January!
Bobby Kirl is a Master’s level social work student at Eastern Washington University and has chosen to spend his practicum hours with us. Bobby was first introduced to the work of PJALS during a university course on human rights and was later able to become involved when his affiliation with the local Vets for Peace chapter led to an opportunity to play music at our PJALS membership meeting. Read more »
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 838-7870.
The US and Syria: Sometimes Peace Wins!
This summer, PJALS members like you stood together for peace and against war on Syria. Headlines predicted US missile strikes were just days away. But because of people like you taking action together, the story began to change!
Together, PJALS members like you deluged our then-undecided Senators and Representative with calls and emails with reasons to oppose war. Read more »
Why Race Matters
By Jeremiah Manes, Intern
On October 22nd, members of PJALS along with others in the community were able to attend a workshop by Glenn Harris titled, “Why Race Matters: Tools and Strategies for Strengthening Community.” This interactive workshop on bias and race allowed for participants to assess their organization and it’s possible contribution to disparity, while fostering conversations on questions such as, “Why does race matter?” Read more »
Member Profile of the Month: Mike Nuess
We start our series of member profiles with our wonderful long-term interim treasurer, Mike Nuess. Mike is an author and an expert on environmental design.
Can you tell us about your role as a PJALS volunteer?
I’ve been with PJALS for roughly a decade and serving as interim treasurer, accountant and bookkeeper for most of that time. I wasn’t trained in these skills but it was something PJALS needed at the time. It was time consuming at first, but I’ve managed to learn, often with the generous support of others more qualified, and it’s much more streamlined now. It’s an essential role. And now PJALS needs a volunteer(s) to replace me. Having a like-minded volunteer member perform these duties is ideal for PJALS as it frees more member donations and staff time for direct program work.
Tell me how you first got involved in with the cause to further peace and justice.
I probably first realized I lived deep within “The Matrix” when I was in high school. I saw a teacher ruthlessly shame, demean and humiliate a student for something he hadn’t done. Both his error and deliberate meanness shattered my illusion that adult authorities were there because they had grown sufficiently wise. The doors of perception began to open: I was on my own when it came learning the truth. Read more »