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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 »
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.
Corporate Tax Evasion Costs Us Dearly
by Carroll W. McInroe, former Sgt., U.S. Army and WACAN Editorialist
“Mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them.” Jefferson wrote those words in an 1826 letter to a friend, only days before his death – but he wrote for all of us. He was sounding a warning for the ages; mankind has always been plagued by the privileged and the powerful riding roughshod over the rest of us. And they always will – if we let them. Read more »
Peace & Justice Action Committee: A new model to advance our work
by Shar Lichty
After a summer off, our Peace & Justice Action Committee (PJAC) will be resuming our meeting schedule on Sept. 19th with a new approach: leadership development and campaign-specific organizing. Read more »
The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. … If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, … want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. …. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.
We Walk to Keep Our Community Whole
by Josh Neil, PJALS intern
On March 23rd our community came together to urge our representatives to reject cuts to education, healthcare, and other lifeline programs. Nearly forty people from several organizations came together in the largest action the Spokane’s northside has ever seen. Read more »
Walk to Keep Our Community Whole!
Come Walk to Keep Our Community Whole on Saturday, March 23rd at 12Noon to reject the Senate’s proposed All-Cuts budget, and call on our state Senators in the 6th and 7th Legislative Districts to raise revenue and reject cuts that hurt real people in our community. Read more »
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 »
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 »
Time to Put People First
By Michelle Little, Young Activist Leader and PJALS Intern
Being a single mother of three young children, I depend on many programs to care for my family while I am attending college, including Medicaid, food stamps, child care assistance and the Washington State Need Grant for higher education. Continuing cuts to these programs will devastate families such as my own, and many other families who are struggling to stay afloat.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day I had the privilege of speaking at the rally on the capitol steps with 300 people at Washington Community Action Network’s Racial Justice Rally in Olympia. I went with a delegation from the Peace and Justice Action League including my fellow intern Justin Filla. This was the first time I had ever spoken in front of a crowd, and although it was very scary it was also very empowering to be able to tell my story and have the support of so many people who feel the same way I do.
Our Work for Economic Justice – A PJALS Success Story!
by Amanda Hunt, BSW
Since September, I have had the pleasure of working with the Peace and Economic Justice Committee. In this committee, we set our 2012 legislative priorities which included fighting to raise revenue in the state by closing corporate tax loopholes and rejecting cuts that will disproportionately affect low-income children, families, and people of color. Read more »
By Liz Moore
“Save Lives, Save Jobs, Raise Revenue” is the rallying cry of Our Economic Future, a coalition of over 150 groups pushing the Washington state legislature to close wasteful corporate special interest tax loopholes. As you’ll see in these posts, PJALS members like you have been very busy raising our voices together to stop the devastating cuts to education and lifeline programs for struggling families. We co-sponsored the Spokane release of the important report “Facing Race: How Budget Cuts Are Increasing Racial Disparities” and a caravan of PJALS and WA CAN! activists traveled to Olympia to “Occupy the Capitol”, culminating in marches in Spokane and Olympia. Our joint march here (with Occupy Spokane, unions, and other groups) included the delightful experience of 300 of us caroling in the atrium of Riverpark Square with re-written tunes including “I’m Dreaming of a Fair Budget” and “It’s the Most Critical Time of the Year.” Read more »
Occupy the Capitol
By Amanda Hunt
PJALS and Washington Community Action Network worked together to get 20 Spokane residents to Olympia to Occupy the Capitol at the end of November We went to speak to our legislators and to encourage legislators to take a “balanced approach” to the budget and to raise revenue by closing corporate tax loopholes.
We met with Senate Majority leader Lisa Brown and Representative Andy Billig, who were welcoming and excited we were there. We also met with 6th District Representative Kevin Parker. When asked to raise revenue and not cut programs, he asked us “Why are you doing this to yourselves? Why don’t you request to send the Department of Ecology to the voters instead?” Read more »
Facing Race: How Budget Cuts Are Increasing Racial Disparities
Washington’s communities of color and low-income communities have faced unequal pain in this recession. High levels of unemployment, home foreclosure, and racial inequities in health, education and criminal justice continue to devastate communities of color. By 2030, one in every three Washington residents will be a person of color.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed. Washington’s budget decisions can either echo this, or make matters worse.
The report Facing Race: How Budget Cuts Are Increasing Racial Disparities highlights how the cuts made to the 2011-2013 biennial budget disproportionately affect communities of color in Washington State and worsen existing racial disparities. Read more »
Students speak out for revenue at EWU legislative panel
By Alyssa Henderson
In November, we new interns at PJALS successfully held a legislative panel on EWU’s Cheney campus. The panel was sponsored by PJAL-EWU (the new club on Eastern’s campus that we kicked off in September) and the Associated Students of Eastern Washington University. Focusing primarily on proposed budget cuts to higher education, the panel allowed students and community members the opportunity to speak directly to their legislators, addressing their concerns. Representative Susan Fagan of the 9th District, Senator Majority Leader Lisa Brown of the 3rd district, Senator Michael Baumgartner of the 6th district, and Representative John Ahern also of the 6th district sent their policy advisors.
Expecting only a turn-out of around 40 people, we were delighted when nearly all seats were filled and 100 people had partaken. Read more »
Showdown at Suncadia
By Amanda Hunt, intern
On September 21, I attended the Showdown in Suncadia, in beautiful and remote Cle Elum, WA. Suncadia is a luxurious mountain resort in the majestic Cascade Mountains. This event was organized by Washington Community Action Network, and joined by many organizations from across the state. Shar Lichty, Brock Baker, myself, and 5 members of the Youth Sustainability Council left Spokane at 530AM. This was an action in direct response to Governor Gregoire’s “private” address to the Association of Washington Business. Besides our governor, Phyllis Campbell, the Northwest Regional Chairperson for Chase Bank, was also addressing the group.
Unfortunately for the corporate fat cats, who were supposed to be enjoying activities such as wine tasting and golfing, Suncadia was not secluded enough. Hundreds of protestors from all over the state interrupted their quiet little retreat. Read more »