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The Intersections of Us

Tuesday, Sep 3, 2013 | 12:12pm | Comment on this

Shar Lichtyby Shar Lichty

At the end of July I was fortunate to attend the Activists Mobilizing for Power (AMP) Conference put on each year by Western States Center in Portland. I have been wanting to attend this conference  for four years and this year all the forces were in alignment to make it happen.

I have a lot of respect for the work Western States Center does, particularly in the areas of racial and queer equity. As I found myself surrounded by 400 like-minded individuals at a conference that offered several workshops on how to advance this work, had gender neutral restrooms, and a plenary on the gender binary, I felt at home.

One of the most moving experiences I had during my three days at AMP happened at a film screening for All of Us North Carolina, a documentary about queer people of color who fought against NC’s Amendment One, which stripped domestic partners of their civil rights. Read more »


August Claims

Friday, Aug 2, 2013 | 3:15pm | Comment on this

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.

– Frederick Douglass,  Letter to an abolitionist associate, 1849


Things I learned at Pride

Thursday, Jun 20, 2013 | 3:15pm | 2 comments

photo credit OUTSIDEMediaby Liz Moore

In keeping with our role for over two decades, PJALS peacekeepers were at Spokane’s Pride Celebration on June 8. These are four reflections on my experience this year.

Things I learned at Pride #1: some things haven’t changed. The threat from one anti protestor was the same as I was threatened with when I told a fellow Deer Park 2nd grader in probably 1980 that I didn’t believe in a god: “Repent, or you’ll burn in the lake of fire.”

Things I learned at Pride #2: Some things REALLY CHANGE ALOT: Read more »


Freedom to Marry: Victory!!!

Wednesday, Dec 26, 2012 | 1:13pm | Comment on this

Spokane couples celebrate their marriage licenses! Photo: INBA by Shar Lichty

We made history on Nov. 6th, becoming the first state to defend the freedom to marry at the ballot by 53.32% to 46.68%. We were an important part of a historical night for LGBT rights and recognition nationally.

None of this would have been possible without a campaign dedicated to organizing in Eastern Washington. We had significant gains in Eastern WA support from R71 to R74 with the three largest gains being: Garfield County, 5.89% increase; Whitman County, 5.14% increase; and Spokane County, 4.48% increase. The City of Spokane also saw a significant 4.37% increase with the larger gains coming from the more conservative districts: District 1, 3.09% increase and District 3, 6.37% increase.

Spokane played another key role in Approving R74 with 16 faith leaders publicly endorsing the freedom to marry.  Read more »


Why Marriage Matters: LGBT People of Color Discuss the Freedom to Marry for All Loving Couples

Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012 | 9:21pm | Comment on this
why marriage matters panelists

Standing, from left: Terrie Ashby-Scott (moderator), Ramon Alvarez, Farand Gunnels, Marvo Reguindin, Sandy Williams, Renika Williams. Seated, from left: Rev. Happy Watkins, Lucy Vazquez, OJ Coates

by Lucy Vazquez

As the November election approaches and ballots are being filled out, it’s important to bring up conversations about LGBT communities’ rights and that no one should face discrimination when they hope to marry the person they love.

PJALS teamed up with Why Marriage Matters Washington to organize an event that focused on engaging in the conversation among communities of color about the freedom to marry. The East Central Community Center was filled with love, laughter, tears, and reflection as it became a safe space for a dialogue with great leaders of our communities who shared their personal stories as gay, lesbian, and two spirit people as well as allies showing their support to all loving couples.

This event was so powerful it touched my heart and made me reflect on my life; I didn’t realized how much I could relate to their stories. Read more »


Why Marriage Matters: LGBT People of Color Discuss the Freedom to Marry for All Loving Couples

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 | 5:17pm | Comment on this

wedding ringsAs the November election approaches, this event will lift up the visibility of LGBT people of color and leaders of communities of color who are allies for the freedom to marry. No one should face discrimination when they hope to marry the person they love.

Panelists will include Sandy Williams, Stanley Ruiz, Marvo Reguindin, and Ramon Alvarez sharing their stories as gay, lesbian, and two spirit people of color; and Rev. Happy Watkins, MEChA leader and PJALS intern Lucia Vazquez, and other community leaders speaking as supporters of the freedom to marry for all loving couples. Join us Saturday, October 20, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone.  Read more »


How Will You Feel If We Fail Marriage Equality?

Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 | 3:15pm | Comment on this

Shar LichtyBy Shar Lichty, Organizer

Last month I attended a brown bag lunch discussion with a staff member from Washington United for Marriage and leaders from the local group working to secure marriage equality at the ballot in November. During introductions we were asked to answer the question, “How will you feel on Nov. 7th if marriage equality fails at the ballot?” This question threw me for a bit of a loop because I honestly had not thought about it. In my mind it was not an option. This question became a dose of reality for me, a wake-up call: We can fail. Read more »


PJALS participates in 21st Annual Pride Parade and Rainbow Festival

Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 | 3:15pm | Comment on this

By Shar Lichty

This year marked the 21st year of the Pride Parade in Spokane on June 9. As we have done since its formation, PJALS participated with a delegation in the parade and provided peacekeepers to ensure a safe and fun filled day for all.  Mother nature was not so kind this year with her cold, rainy presence but that didn’t dampen the spirit or turnout (there were rainbows galore!) for what “my favorite day in Spokane.”

I recently caught this video clip (below) being posted on facebook from the first Pride Parade and am so pleased to see how much it has grown. Read more »


2012 Rainbow Awards

Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 | 3:15pm | Comment on this

By Shar Lichty

Once again, the LGBTQ community came together to celebrate the contributions of some of its leaders and kick off Pride Week in Spokane with the Rainbow Awards. I attended the event once again to celebrate with my LGBT family and honor the award recipients. I was surprised and honored to learn of the several nominations PJALS had received. Read more »


APPROVE Referendum 74

Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 | 2:14pm | Comment on this

Approve Ref 74By Shar Lichty

The marriage equality law that was passed by the legislation and signed into law by the Governor on Feb. 13, 2012 was set to go into effect on June 7th permitting civil marriage for same-sex couples. Unfortunately, the folks who don’t believe in equal rights for same-sex couples were successful in gathering enough signatures by the June 6th deadline to challenge this law at the ballot in Nov. Read more »


Washington United for Marriage: Campaign for Marriage Equality

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 | 10:22pm | Comment on this

By Shar Lichty

Will Washington be the next state to grant this civil right to same sex couples? I dare to dream the time is now.

PJALS has endorsed and is actively working with the campaign for marriage equality in Washington State, Washington United for Marriage. Governor Gregoire made a public announcement in support of marriage equality for this legislative session introduced the bills, SB 6239 and HB 1963. Since then, King County Council and Tacoma City Council have both passed resolutions in support of marriage equality as well as two Republican Senators publicly announcing their support. Read more »


Young Activist report: I can make a genuine difference in my community

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 | 10:22pm | Comment on this

By Molly Fitzpatrick, EWU Scary Feminists and Eagle Pride

The PJALS Young Activist Leadership Program has been an absolutely integral part this year in shaping me as an activist. Since I was sixteen activism has essentially been a “learn as you go” process for me, peppered with a few conferences and workshops here and there. I have pretty much always relied on the kindness and patience of experienced organizers to teach me their tricks and help me along. This program is basically a concentrated version of all of those tricks, and then multiplied by ten. I have learned so much and even if it ended right now I would have at least twice as many resources that I had when I started. Read more »


Young Activist report: a much bolder feeling of confidence

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 | 10:22pm | Comment on this

By Jessica Jahn, SFCC Alliance

Only just recently have I embraced the lifestyle that is activism and feminism.  I am so thankful for both. If I had not met Molly Fitzpatrick and in turn been introduced to the PJALS Young Activist Leadership Program, I fear I may still be living in blissful ignorance. Molly has helped open my eyes and PJALS has taught me things I never thought I would have the opportunity to learn! I know I’ve always had a rebellious and questioning attitude towards life, but I never had a purpose. Now I can say I have quite a few actually, all thanks to everything Liz and Shar have laid down for us. Read more »