Director’s Report: Happy New Year!

reprinted from the January/February Handful of Salt

By Liz Moore

PJALS has been fantastic for a long time (35 years to be exact), and I think we’re looking very good at the beginning of 2011. We have amassed a satisfying list of accomplishments for 2011, ranging from working as a police accountability coalition partner to help win an important step forward in accountability and transparency for Spokane’s police department, to mobilizing with community partners against Cal Brown’s execution and then against the Westboro Baptist Church’s vitriolic visit, to investing in a new database that lets us put to rest our 18-year-old system and move into 2011 with a cutting-edge system. In the new year you’ll also see our re-designed website! Check out our accomplishments listed on pages 8-9, and pat yourself on the back! It’s because of your support that we’ve been able to do this work together.

Click here for the January/February Handful of Salt pdf for full list of accomplishments.

Where to from here? Thanks to the nearly 100 members who took the time for our strategic directions survey, we got the message loud and clear that your top priorities are economic justice (75%) and countering war and militarism (71%). You also said you value standing against racism and homophobia (64%) and working for police accountability (52%).

More than anything else, I learned from reading your comments that you deeply feel and clearly see the connections between militarism and economic injustice: “War is a suction which not only perpetuates violence, but takes funding away from economic justice issues.” “War threatens to destroy the America we know. It broke the economy and kills our young and too many civilians.” “War is the biggest barrier to balancing our budget.” “If we were not wasting our energy, money and people in various wars, there would be more of all for improving education, health, and jobs for people who now see no other alternatives in their lives than to become soldiers.” “Economic justice is fundamental to any justice. As long as we spend most of our national economic & productive efforts on military, we cannot achieve economic justice. Prejudice always gets more ugly and vehement when people are fighting over ever smaller pieces of pie.”

I learned you are thinking strategically, and you want to see local involvement and local impact in our work together: “All three issues (I ranked highest) are of local importance and have immediate and ongoing impact on local communities.” “Your local/regional emphasis creates opportunities to reach out to new members and allied organizations to collaborate with PJALS to make our region more humane.” “I think about national and international efforts but I think we need groups to focus on local issues.” “Local matters; it’s easier to engage people and see results when dealing primarily with issues that can be addressed on a local level.” “Positive results in these areas will benefit a greater percentage of the population.”

And I learned that you want to spread the word and invite your friends to PJALS events. With our new database, we are keeping track of you who marked an interest in that kind of friend-to-friend outreach, and we’ll be asking you to do just that! Our top outreach priorities for the next three years are youth, students, and faith-based activists, and we know the best place to start is with connections we already have.

Based on these results, your comments, and Steering Committee discussions, the Steering Committee has approved a Strategic Plan for 2011-2013. Thank you so much for your thoughts, guidance, and consideration!

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