News Stories

City Council Votes for Indigenous People’s Day

by pjals Thursday, Sep 8, 2016 | 4:16pm | One comment.

On Aug. 29, 2016 the Spokane city council listened to community testimony urging support for the resolution to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day and with the exception of the lone conservative on the council, they did just that. Here is a brief report of that night from long time PJALS member Pauline Druffel. 

We had an opportunity to face truth at Spokane’s Aug. 29th City Council Meeting when we listened to testimony regarding a resolution for Spokane to change “Columbus Day” to “Indigenous Peoples Day”. Local members of various indigenous tribes told their stories about why it was so hard for them to deal with the annual celebration of the man who started the practice of treating their ancestors as though they had no intrinsic value as human beings. Columbus over-powered the native people, gave them no rights, and totally used them to serve his desires and those of his rapacious invaders.

I had grown up with the myth that Christopher Columbus was a brave and daring man who “discovered” a “new” land, and brought back it’s riches to Spain. It’s only recently that I am hearing the truth that Columbus and his men raped and otherwise tortured the people he found. He enslaved them, and stole their treasures. He left a legacy of discounting the rights of the native people of this continent, a legacy that still lives today. On Monday night I heard testimony of mothers that their children are still being discriminated against in schools. And I know corporations in their eagerness to make money off coal and oil are still trying to disregard tribal rights. Examples are everywhere once I start to see.

There were also a few speakers who were opposed to changing the holiday to Indigenous People’s Day. They said what happened over five hundred years ago shouldn’t impact us today and wanted the Native people to just forgive and forget. But I’m aware that forgiveness is not so easy. It is made possible when perpetrators face their despicable actions, take responsibility for the damage done, stop the discrimination and make amends. We, the immigrants, have a long way to go to deserve this forgiveness. Honoring indigenous people rather than Christopher Columbus is a step in the right direction.

Hundreds Stand for Peace

by pjals Friday, Jul 15, 2016 | 2:14pm | Comment on this

vigil photoAt a vigil-rally jointly sponsored by PJALS and the NAACP, hundreds of people gathered outside the county courthouse on July 9 in a show of solidarity and support in the aftermath of the killings in Minnesota, Louisiana, and Dallas. Among others, Phil Tyler, president of the NAACP, Sandy Williams, publisher of The Black Lens newspaper, and our own Liz Moore, PJALS director, offered inspiring words and their perspectives on a week of horror and tragedy, ways to heal, things to consider from a black mother’s point of view, and the importance of getting involved to end racism and violence.

The gathering itself of a diversity of communities was a beautiful example of unity and love. At one point a lone protester tried to disrupt the gathering but he was met with a collective refusal to be drawn into argument and tension, with love, hugs, and acceptance. Mr. Tyler effectively defused the tension by offering him his moment to speak, to name his issue, and it turned out, he, too, in his awkward way, was asking for love, a world of love and peace.

It was a moment of collective understanding among the people that we all suffer the residual trauma of violence and injustice and we mustn’t allow bitterness to divide us. As others have noted, only recognition, understanding and insight can rob trauma of its power. And by working together, building relations, we create the path to that recognition and understanding.

2016 Peace & Economic Justice Action Conference

by pjals Tuesday, Feb 2, 2016 | 12:12pm | Comment on this

Register now for our 7th Annual Peace and Economic Justice Action Conference on February 26-27, 2016 Once again we will be at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4340 W. Ft. George Wright Dr., Spokane, WA.

Eventbrite - 2016 Peace and Economic Justice Action Conference


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PJALS Receives Fellowship of Reconciliation Local Hero Peace Award

by pjals Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 | 2:14pm | Comment on this

PJALS received FOR’s Local Hero Award for outstanding service to the community in Nov. 2015 in New York City. The January issue of The Fig Tree features a story about long time PJALS member Mark Hamlin’s trip to NYC to accept the award on behalf of PJALS.

“As part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) in New York City in November, Mark Hamlin of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS) was on hand to receive FOR’s Local Hero award for PJALS as one of its affiliates.

PJALS is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015-2016.

Mark not only gave an acceptance speech on the importance of PJALS work for peace and justice in the region, but also learned about FOR’s history at a centennial exhibit at Union Theological Seminary’s James Chapel.”

Civil rights groups rally for more law enforcement oversight

by pjals Tuesday, Sep 8, 2015 | 2:14pm | Comment on this
Author: Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter ,
Published On: Sep 02 2015 06:57:32 PM PDT
SPOKANE, Wash. -A national trend toward more police accountability has now caught up with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.On Wednesday, several civil rights groups, including the Center for Justice and the NAACP called for independent citizen oversight of sheriff’s deputies in use of force incidents. Those groups and about a thousand people who’ve signed a petition want the Spokane County commissioners to pass a new ordinance requiring independent citizen oversight. Read more »

Petition for sheriff’s office independent review is a political move, Knezovich says

by pjals Tuesday, Sep 8, 2015 | 2:14pm | Comment on this

September 2, 2015

Petition for sheriff’s office independent review is a

political move, Knezovich says

Kip Hill
The Spokesman-Review

Calling the process of selecting an ombudsman for the Spokane Police Department “a political nightmare,” Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich on Tuesday dismissed a petition requesting independent civilian oversight for his department as redundant.

“This is being driven by a few political opponents of mine,” Knezovich said at a news conference called a day before organizers planned to deliver more than 1,000 signatures to Spokane County commissioners requesting a new body to oversee operations of the Sheriff’s Office. Read more »

Center for Justice, others voice new concerns with SPD body cam policy

by pjals Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 | 5:17pm | Comment on this

Originally published by the Inlander (

Posted By Jacob Jones on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Police accountability advocates today voiced several new concerns about the Spokane Police Department’s proposed usage policy for officer-worn body cameras, taking issue with vague recording requirements and a perceived lack of public input.

The Center for Justice issued a letter dated July 16, also signed by the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane and other local groups, saying advocates found the latest draft policy insufficient to ensure body cameras would provide reliable oversight.

“Unfortunately,” the letter states, “the current version of the policy supports a purpose mostly of discretionary surveillance, not of transparency and accountability.”

A promotional photo of the chest-mounted Taser Axon Body camera Spokane Police will start wearing in September. - TASER

A promotional photo of the chest-mounted Taser Axon Body camera Spokane Police will start wearing in September.

Advocates expressed the most concern with the rules defining what and when an officer must record. The proposed policy says “most” police encounters “shall” be recorded, but a section specifically listing many common, required interactions was removed. Read more >>