The Blogful of Salt
Learn, Share, Accompany
by Liz Moore
I’m delighted that we were so lucky as to host human rights workers Pablo Obando, Communications Director of the Fray Bartolomé Human Rights Center in Chiapas, Mexico, and Tony Nelson, of the Mexico Solidarity Network and the Autonomous University of Social Movements and the Albany Park Centro Autónomo, last month. It was a powerful and bilingual presentation. A great detail was the word “compañero” or “compañera” which was not translated because there’s not an exactly right English word–the best way to explain it is brother or sister, with a political and community meaning; a companion in the struggle for justice.
Pablo spoke on the human rights situation in Chiapas, Mexico, the Fray Bartolomé Center’s work, and the role of international solidarity. The Center has been widely recognized for accompanying indigenous communities under attack, documenting abuses, and defending cases in court. It has recently been increasingly threatened by paramilitary organizations for this work.
Both Tony and Pablo spoke about how they do their work: they do not give, teach, or help–they are committed, instead, to learn, to share, and to accompany, so that the people experiencing oppression are the authors of change. If you missed their great presentation, or if you just want a refresher, check out this video of their presentation!
Our Community of Action Going Forward Together
by Liz Moore, PJALS Director
What I love most about PJALS is being part of a community of people who take action together based on the connections between human rights, economic justice, & peace.
Our Steering Committee asked you, PJALS members, to guide strategic planning for 2013-2014. We learned that you overwhelmingly support organizing to raise revenue & reject cuts as well as to counter the costs of militarism and to demand money for people, not for war. You’re also passionate about alternatives to incarceration & police accountability. You value that we create community together through our events & campaigns. You strongly support our Young Activist Leaders Program & our interns. You love our Action Conference. You want PJALS to continue to strengthen our connections with communities of color & with rural people.
Why prioritize those areas? Read more »
Yelling “Fire!” In A Crowded Bill of Rights
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
Cassandra, in ancient Greek stories, has become a more and more compelling character to me as I’ve observed the politics of institutional violence. What curse could frustrate you more than being able to see the future clearly while every other mind is completely closed to any warning or constructive comment you might offer? Watching epic, human-driven disasters unfold was much less painful before I realized two essential facts: The violence residing within me is part of the problem, and there is always an alternative to violence.
Our national conversation is full of presumptions that immutable conflicts emerge from the blue, with no way to anticipate or prevent them. What a waste of talk. Read more »
Pulling at the Threads of Violence in our Culture
By Rev. Dr. Todd F. Eklof, The Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane
What a privilege it was to moderate during PJALS’ February 7th panel discussion on violence. We don’t hear about most the violence that occurs every day in our country or in our communities, but the recent and terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, as well as those in places like Aurora, Colorado, the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, and far too many others, have reminded us all that something must be done now! Read more »
Rural Organizing Revisited
By Shar Lichty
A few years ago, Liz and I had the privilege of visiting some amazing groups of rural progressives to do voter education around seven important ballot initiatives concerning revenue. We have since been wanting to make another round of visits but haven’t quite figured out when to squeeze them into our busy schedules. Last spring a couple of our interns and myself went to Seattle to attend a conference on rural organizing and I left feeling a sense of urgency around re-launching our rural organizing efforts.
Having worked on a few “statewide” campaigns I understand the importance of progressives in Eastern WA and sometimes experience frustration with groups on the west side of the mountains who seem to lack this understanding. Eastern WA is much more than just Spokane, it is a broad region full of vibrant rural communities who are vital to moving any progressive issue forward. Read more »
Join Our Media Action Team
By Justin Filla
The Peace and Justice Action League is looking for individuals who would like to join our Media Action Team. This Media Action Team will consist of authors who would like to write letters to the editor for causes that PJALS focuses on. These letters will be submitted to The Spokesman-Review as well as other area publications. The goal of this action team is to get more progressive voices out in the Spokane community. Read more »
Our generation has all the potential
Young Activist Leader reflection
By Audrey Connor, Youth Sustainability Council, Community-Minded Enterprises
Thus far into the program, YALP has really helped me understand the context of my thinking as both a semi-organizer and a private citizen. I feel so engaged and impassioned in every discussion, and being able to share my thoughts and opinions freely among like-minded individuals (under the guidance of Shar and Liz) has been a huge gift, especially lately as I figure out what it is I want from my life and experiences.
I am also able to listen to different points of view and have my mind changed often. I really respect my fellow program members, and many of the exercises and discussions we have had have reassured me that our generation has all the potential I tell people it does. I am really, really grateful this program exists.
For more information about PJALS Young Activist Leader Program, visit www.pjals.org/yalp
We did it! Yes on Prop 1!
By Michelle Little
After many years and a tremendous amount of effort by groups such as the Spokane Police Accountability and Reform Coalition, along with overwhelming support by local citizens of Spokane, we have taken a huge step in the right direction. By a landslide 70% vote Proposition 1, which mandates independent investigative authority and public reporting by the Spokane Police Ombudsman and creates a citizen oversight commission, has passed. Read more »
Lobby Day Trip to End the Death Penalty
By Cly F. Evans
Five Spokane area death penalty abolition supporters, most involved with INDPAG and/or PJALS, loaded ourselves in a van and made their way to Olympia to participate in the February 12 Death Penalty Abolition lobby day organized by the statewide campaign Safe and Just Alternatives. Throughout the day, by my count, members of our group interacted with three Senators (Billig, Padden, and Carlyle) three Representatives (Riccelli, Crouse, and Parker), the staff of two Senators (Roach and Padden), and two Representatives (Ormsby and Shea). Read more »
Pull the Pentagon Pork: Protect our Priorities, Protect Families
Update: Check out our photo petition on the National Day of Action to Pull the Pentagon Pork here!
By Lucy Vazquez
On Tuesday February 19th PJALS members met with John Culton, the Eastern Washington Director for Senator Patty Murray as our second mobilization, following up on our December action, where we delivered over 1,100 signatures of individuals and 18 different organizations that have signed on as part of PJALS’ Bring Our Billions Home Campaign. As the fight over the budget continues and more cuts to social programs are on the chopping block, PJALS decided to make a stance and urge Senator Murray to protect our communities and fight to reduce wasteful Pentagon spending.
Sitting in Senator Murray’s Eastern Washington Director John Culton’s office with seven PJALS members–veterans, students, farmers, mothers and fathers, and other everyday people–and listening to their stories made me realize this is not about numbers, it’s about impacting real people and communities. Read more »