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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.
Facing Race: Coalition Calls on Legislators to Work Towards Racial & Economic Equity
by Lucia Vazquez
Our WA legislature received a D for its voting on racial equity bills for the 2011 and 2012 sessions. The grade came from Washington Community Action Network’s Facing Race: 2012 Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity, which assessed the Washington Legislature’s performance during the 2011 and 2012 regular sessions on issues that affect racial and economic equity. The report was endorsed by 52 organizations across the state, including PJALS. The goal of this report was to educate legislators about the impact their decisions have on communities of color that make up about 30% of Washington residents, but also to spread awareness of advancing racial equity within our state. Read more »
Spokane’s Pax Christi Engages the New National Strategic Narrative
By Mike Nuess
Capt. Wayne Porter, USN, proposes that a new world vision and strategies for strategic security and prosperity that he presents in Mr. Y: A National Strategic Narrative (NSN) should replace those presented in George Kennan’s 1946 document, Mr. X: The Sources of Soviet Conduct, which defined the U.S. government’s Cold War vision, strategies and tactics still in place today.
Last April Pax Christi-Spokane and Gonzaga University’s Departments of Political Science and Religion hosted Capt. Porter in a one-day conference. Porter explained the new vision in terms of the need to respond to new threats requiring new ways of thinking. For examples, we are confronted by a global resource crisis where shortages of food supplies, water and the impending demise of fossil fuels challenge us to think of sustainable solutions that bring security; we must understand and adapt to an extremely turbulent change in climate, which will likely affect large populations around the planet, further impacting strategic and economic security. Read more »
Smart Justice Gains Momentum
The movement towards a smarter criminal justice system in Spokane is gaining momentum and has some worthy accomplishments to report! The Smart Justice Campaign coalition, convened by Greater Spokane Progress and endorsed by PJALS, the Center for Justice, and many other groups, co-sponsored the Smart Justice Symposium in November. About 200 elected officials, judges, police officers, attorneys, probation officers, ex-offenders, and concerned citizens gathered as experts and stakeholders discussed proven alternatives to jail that reduce crime, save taxpayer dollars and produce better outcomes for people re-entering the community. At the end of the day, anonymous polling revealed that a vast majority of the audience supported reallocating resources to support the programs discussed. Police Chief Straub helped closed the event by promising to work collaboratively with the public to heal, change and move forward towards a better Spokane.
For the coalition, part of making Spokane better is eliminating the grim fact that our criminal justice system disproportionately impacts people of color, people with disabilities, and people with low incomes. To educate and promote a dialogue surrounding this issue, the Campaign hosted the opening night of “The House I Live In,” a powerful documentary that links these disparities with drug war policies. After the film, Reverend Happy Watkins led an honest, but hopeful, discussion about institutional racism in Spokane and what we can do to address it.
The coalition has actively sought input from experts, criminal justice stakeholders, and the people most impacted by the system in order to create recommendations for change. At the core of these policy recommendations is the request that the city and county make all future policy decisions regarding criminal justice through a Smart Justice Lens – This means focusing on the person, not the crime, matching individuals with appropriate alternatives to incarceration that reduce recidivism and reduce costs, and monitoring such programs to ensure effectiveness. In addition, this lens includes paying particular attention to racial, economic, and other disparities within the system. The coalition hopes to share its recommendations with the three-member Regional Criminal Justice Commission recently appointed by the city and county to examine possible reforms.
While we have successfully gotten “Smart Justice” into Spokane’s vocabulary, it is time to push for commitment, a reallocation of resources, and implementation. To reach these next goals, we will need more participation and engagement from people like you. To find out how to get involved and for more information on Smart Justice alternatives, contact PJALS or go to the Smart Justice website – www.smartjusticespokane.org.
Progress NOT Roadblocks: PJALS Special Election Voter Guide
For the 2/12/13 City of Spokane special election – Please urge your friends to VOTE! Ballots will be mailed to registered voters on January 24 & must be returned by Tuesday February 12.
- Yes on Prop 1: Prop 1 will create permanent power for the Office of Police Ombudsman to independently investigate complaints against Spokane police officers and report findings to the public. It also gives the people of Spokane a voice by creating a citizen board to oversee the Ombudsman. Vote Yes to ensure that everyone in our community is treated fairly by law enforcement and to restore confidence and trust in our police department
- No on Prop 2: if passed, would place the power of governing in the hands of a radical minority by requiring a two thirds (5/7) supermajority vote requirement on selective tax measures. This means just 3 council members could block proposals to keep libraries open, support important life saving services such as EMS, and create jobs and attract tourism.
- Yes on Prop 3: which requests a dedicated levy for Library services at a rate of 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Homeowners with a home valued at $100,000, would pay a meager $7 a year. The levy duration would be four years and allow for the restoration of regular hours at all branches including those in the lowest income neighborhoods.
Give the gift of “Justice Java”
A tasty and justice-y gift for you or someone you care about! “Justice Java” from Roast House is a bag full of support for PJALS! It’s Fair Trade, organic, shade grown coffee with a farm-to-cup relationship. Each 1-lb bag of whole beans or ground coffee is $12 and benefits our work for social justice! Order here! Read more »
We said: “Money for People, Not for War!”
With the support of 18 faith communities, businesses, and organizations, we delivered 1123 signatures to Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell, urging them to vote for “Money for People, Not for War!” Thank you for signing in support! You can still endorse this important campaign here: www.pjals.org/billions.