Issues

Learn more about our work.

Click to expand any of the items below to learn more.

  • Peace & Opposing Militarism
  • Human Rights
  • Smart Justice
  • Police Accountability
  • Ending the Death Penalty

Peace and Opposing Militarism

PJALS members have led our region’s opposition to US militarism and imperialism for 40 years! We stand together in spring rain, summer heat and smoke, and gather to tell the truth about the need to grow beyond militarism and end our endless wars, connecting the dots between out of control military spending and cuts to lifeline programs for struggling families.

We believe that all human, financial, and community costs of war are unacceptable.  As an organization dedicated to building a just and nonviolent world, PJALS  opposes the billions our country spends on war and militarism and its devastating impact on our national and local economies, including cuts to education, health care, and basic human services. The twin “sacred cows” of tax loopholes for corporations and the super-wealthy at the state and national levels and our country’s bloated military budget have structurally reduced resources for the needs of low-income families. We believe in inclusive democracy and economic justice with a just tax system and equal access to quality education, health care and services for families and communities. For all families to prosper, our country must turn away from out-of-control militarism and military spending as well as runaway corporate power and profiteering to create a balance of power between corporations and working families, inclusive democracy, vibrant and resilient communities with safety nets, and an organizing ethic which rejects exploitation and violence in any form.

To shift our federal spending of shared resources from war and militarism to education, healthcare, jobs, and lifeline programs  for struggling families and communities, our efforts include workshops on nonviolence, nonviolent de-escalation trainings, rallies, legislative action, truth in recruitment outreach, and militarism awareness with other organizations including the local chapter of Veterans For Peace.

Our Peace & Justice Action Committee meets the 1st & 3rd Thursday of every month at 5:30 pm in the Community Building, 35 W. Main.

Spokane Veterans For Peace meets the 2nd Wednesday of every month at 6:45pm in the Community Building, 35 w. Main.

Our Palestine-Israel Human Rights Committee is currently on hiatus.

Human Rights

We believe that “all human beings are born with equal and inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms” as asserted in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As an organization dedicated to building a just and nonviolent world, PJALS opposes individual acts and structural policies that serve to discriminate and oppress individuals based on race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, religious views, or any other identity.

We work toward a just society through support of all marginalized communities through efforts on police accountability, abolishing the death penalty, human rights in Palestine and Israel, rapid response to acts of hate, outreach, legislative action, voter turnout, education, and support of local organizations representing these communities to build power together.

Smart Justice

PJALS is a founding member of Smart Justice Spokane.

Smart Justice Spokane is a broad, diverse coalition of more than 30 organizations, community members, and criminal justice professionals whom have come together to reform our racially biased, expensive, ineffective, and unfair criminal justice system.

We are working together to implement comprehensive, cost-effective, and research-based smart justice reforms in the Spokane criminal justice system by conducting research, educating, mobilizing impacted voices, advocating and collaborating for a just, strong, and healthy community, which fosters racial equity and opportunities for recovery and integration.

Smart Justice Spokane Coalition Goals for 2016-2017

Jobs:  Reduce barriers to living wage jobs for people with arrest and conviction records by passing “Ban the Box”-type legislation, and establish job training and placement programs as a component of diversion and alternatives to incarceration.

Treatment: As part of regional criminal justice reform, establish a clear plan with funding sources for culturally appropriate mental health and drug/alcohol treatment.

Non-Arrest Solutions: Establish diversion program that provides pre-arrest pathways to treatment, housing, jobs, and other services that meet basic needs.

Non-Jail Solutions: Reduce the number of people in jail for nonviolent offenses; fully implement risk/need assessment and early case resolution; expand Electronic Home Monitoring and problem solving courts.

Re-Structure the System: Win approval for a re-designed, regional, smart justice system that is committed to achieving racial equity, and responsible to community needs, and there is an initiative for community engagement.

Racial Equity:  An action plan is developed to achieve racial equity throughout the criminal justice system with the goal of eliminating the disproportionate impact of our criminal justice system on people of color. A racial equity toolkit is adopted and used to achieve racial equity throughout each department, and culturally appropriate programs and support services for offenders are developed and funded. 

Community Engagement: Coalition partners and community members, especially those directly impacted by the system (people of color; people with disabilities; people with mental illness and addictions; ex-offenders; and/or family members; and victims) are actively engaged and in leadership roles in Smart Justice Spokane, and are represented in the SRLJC.

For more information, please visit www.SmartJusticeSpokane.org

The Smart Justice Spokane campaign coalition: 

ACLU/Washington · All Saints Lutheran Church · Center for Justice · Chihak & Associates – Disability Attorneys · Community Building Foundation · Community-Minded Enterprises · CORD (Coalition of Responsible Disabled) · Friends of Compassion   Fulcrum Institute Dispute Resolution Clinic · Greater Spokane Progress / Win/Win Network · I Did the Time. · KYRS/Thin Air Community Radio · League of Women Voters Spokane Area · NAMI Spokane – National Alliance on Mental Illness · Neighborhood Alliance of Spokane · Northwest Fair Housing Alliance · November Coalition · Odyssey World International Education Services · Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane · SEIU Heathcare 775 NW · Spokane Branch Unit 1137 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People · Spokane Humanist Focus · Spokane Tribe of Indians · Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane · University Legal Assistance, Gonzaga Law School · Washington Community Action Network · Washington Education Association, Eastern Washington · Washington Normal · Washington State Council of City & County Employees – Local 270 AFSCME

Police Accountability

Click here to see all posts about police accountability.

PJALS is a founding member of the Spokane Police Accountability and Reform Coalition (SPARC).

The Spokane Police Accountability and Reform Coalition (SPARC) works vigorously to ensure that everyone in our community is treated with dignity, respect, and due process by law enforcement officers and agencies in the Greater Spokane area regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, income level, mental health status, disabling condition, citizenship status, or any other identity.

SPARC meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of every month at 5:30pm, at 35 W. Main. To join our coalition email list, please contact Shar Lichty at slichty@pjals.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook!

Points of Unity

We Support:

– Independent civilian oversight of law enforcement – Independent & timely investigations of and public reporting on law enforcement conduct and policy – Law enforcement accountability and transparency – Full implementation of the Crisis Intervention Team model – De-escalation practices – De-militarization of law enforcement – Full implementation of community-oriented policing

We Oppose:

– Excessive use of force – Racially-biased policing and racial disparities in contacts, uses of force, arrests, and other interactions with the criminal justice system – Criminalization of people with mental illness and people living in poverty – Culture of violence, denial, and cover-up

Guiding Principles

SPARC supports a collaborative work ethic among coalition members that builds trust, diversity, inclusiveness, and which optimizes coalition strategies. We are open to all who support our aims. We are non-partisan and will not endorse political candidates.

Decision-Making and Membership

– Core Groups endorse the SPARC Mission, Points of Unity, and Guiding Principles and agree to regularly participate in monthly General Coalition meetings, Steering Committee meetings and other work. – SPARC operates by consensus of the Core Groups in monthly General Coalition meetings. Participation of supportive groups and individuals is also welcome and appreciated. – SPARC Steering Committee members include representatives of Core Groups and committed individuals. Steering Committee is authorized to carry out decisions made by consensus in monthly General Coalition meetings.

– Endorsing Groups endorse the SPARC Mission and Points of Unity and are therefor members of our coalition.

Communicating with Public Officials:

– The coalition will designate representatives to speak on behalf of SPARC to public officials with report-backs to the coalition. – Coalition partners agree that we will not speak for SPARC in off-the-record or confidential communications with public officials. – Coalition partners agree that we will not speak for the coalition regarding matters which the coalition has not considered and determined a position. – Coalition partners are aware that our mere presence in non-transparent policy discussions can undermine the coalition’s interest in transparency, collaboration, and sound public process. – This commitment may mean taking the time to be more inclusive despite a sense of urgency to move quickly. The health, shared trust, and strength of the coalition is most important, so that we can continue to work together toward our shared goals.

The Death Penalty

Statement from PJALS and Inland NW Death Penalty Abolition Group regarding Governor Inslee’s moratorium enacted in 2014:

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.

We believe the death penalty is an unjust, unfair, and irrational punishment that does not deter crime.  The death penalty costs tax-payers more than life imprisonment with majority of these extra costs being incurred during the trial phase.  Nationally, over 140 individuals have been found innocent and released from death row and one wrongfully convicted individual was released from Washington’s death row upon the State Supreme Courts review of his case.  As an organization whose mission is to build a just and nonviolent world, PJALS opposes the death penalty.

We work toward the abolition of the death penalty in Washington State through education and outreach, legislative action, rapid response to litigation and imminent executions and collaboration with other organizations.

The Inland NW Death Penalty Abolition Group (INDPAG) meetings will resume in November on the 2nd Wednesday of each month in the Mezzanine conference room of the Community Building, 35 W. Main at 5:30 pm.

If would like to join our efforts to abolish the death penalty or get further information on current actions, please contact us at 509-838-7870 or join our facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/234988883226937/.

INDPAG is working with the statewide campaign, Safe & Just Alternatives. Safe and Just Alternatives is a campaign that seeks to replace the death penalty with life without parole through legislation. SJA includes people of faith, law enforcement officials, family members of crime victims, and community leaders from across the state who believe that the death penalty is wasteful, unfair, and fails to protect public safety. For more information on SJA click here.

We believe the death penalty is an unjust, unfair, and irrational punishment that does not deter crime.  The death penalty costs tax-payers more than life imprisonment with majority of these extra costs being incurred during the trial phase. In September 2010, for example, Washington tax payers paid nearly $98,000 to execute Cal Brown.  Nationally, 139 individuals have been found innocent and released from death row and one wrongfully convicted individual was released from Washington’s death row upon the State Supreme Courts review of his case.  As an organization whose mission is to build a just and nonviolent world, PJALS opposes the death penalty.  We work toward the abolition of the death penalty in Washington State through education and outreach, legislative action, rapid response to litigation and imminent executions and collaboration with other organizations.

If would like to join our efforts to abolish the death penalty or get further information on current actions, please contact us at 509-838-7870.

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