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Remembering 13 Years of War in Iraq
This month marks the 13th year of war, occupation, death, and fear in Iraq. Yesterday we held a rally to commemorate this unfortunate anniversary, with the theme being, “resistance of the heart against business as usual.” As a 21-year-old college student, this theme resonates especially strongly for me. Over half of my life has been spent fighting this war. In fact, I can hardly remember a time when America hasn’t been in war – and that is not how it should be. Our young people should grow up knowing peace and understanding, instead of assuming that war and violence is just “business as usual.” It was a sobering occasion as we listened to speeches calling for action and powerful poems against violence, sang a song of dissent, and let up a dove-shaped balloon for every year of war. As we watched each of the 13 balloons float up into the sky, the number of deaths each year was read aloud. The mood of the event can best be summarized with the lyrics of the song that we chanted together: “We’re gonna rise with the tides of freedom. Truth is the rock that will break our chains. We will stop the powers of destruction. Healing is the fire running through our veins.”
Truth in Recruitment and Militarism Awareness Workshop
During the annual Peace and Economic Justice Action Conference; Jessica and Monce held a workshop about Truth in Recruitment and Militarism Awareness. The objectives of this workshop were too identify a shared definition of militarism and its impacts around the world, identify ways to talk about Truth in Recruitment with high school students and identify ways that the community can get involve with PJALS’ work on this topics. The audience consisted of twelve people in which the majority were Veterans and educators. With the help of George Taylor from Veterans for Peace Spokane the facilitators gave information on the targeted populations for enlistees, lies that recruiters tell, statistics on life after the military. The audience were engage at all time; participating in the group discussions and asking questions. The most important thing that I take from this workshop was the information given by the audience as a facilitator it was powerful to see that this group of people seek peace and unity.
Truth in Recruitment and Militarism Awareness
by Jessica Silva
On February 4, 2016 the pre re-launch meeting was held in the lobby of the Community Building; concerned people came and expressed what they wish people knew about the military. What stood out to me was that everyone agreed that militarism and war are causing terror among countries and most of the people being affected by war are innocent people. The meeting also discussed ways PJALS members can get involved in creating militarism awareness among young people. We want adolescents to know before enlisting that there are other alternatives to joining the military and that before enlisting they should understand the pros and cons of militarism. During the Annual Peace and Economic Justice Conference, Jessica and Monce, interns at PJALS, will be offering a workshop on What is militarism and how does the ideology of militarism impact our world and our communities? During the month of March PJALS will be hosting a rally remembering the 13 years of war in Iraq. Mark your calendars and come out and support the PJALS rally on March 31 (location TBA) 2016 and to the conference on February 27.
PJALS Receives Fellowship of Reconciliation Local Hero Peace Award
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.”
Our priority areas for 2016-17
As determined by our member priority survey responses and our Steering Committee!
- A Just Society: Smart Justice and Police Accountability
- Peace: Truth in Recruitment, Consciousness-Raising about Militarism, and Mobilizing against War!
- Human Rights Community Organizing: Building collective power with targeted communities.
- Ending the Death Penalty in Washington as our top legislative priority.
Exposing & transforming systems of violence & oppression to create beloved community and build a just and nonviolent world.
A Time for Nostalgia
Rusty Nelson: On Peace & War
There was never time for nostalgia, here, even when I wrote this column every month. Just as PJALS was so often derailed from local projects by global violence and the siren call of war, my plans for a 40th anniversary recollection have been curbed by horrible attacks in Paris. Curbed, but not cancelled.
Here’s what must be said in November, 2015: The established powers of the earth continue to prepare for the same war, thinking we’ve learned from every tragic human sacrifice offered in the names of peace, panic and greed. Now, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our outraged allies to prove we have not yet learned the lesson of the Trojan Horse, never mind Vietnam or Iraq. Read more »
Two reasons to feel hopeful in Spokane
Hope is precious, and when I find it I try to pay attention to it and share it. So I want to tell you about 2 experiences I had just last week that lifted my spirits, buoyed my energy, and gave me concrete reason for hope.
Last Tuesday, Shar and I met this year’s Young Activist Leaders–and they are wonderful! They talked about their shared values: equality, education for all, civil rights and liberties, an attainable American dream, world peace, equitable distribution of wealth! And they discussed what they want to make happen to advance those values: prioritize, begin huge things with strategy and confidence, get other people on board and engaged to participate, and map power, resources, allies, and decision-makers. These dedicated, passionate leaders of our own community are not kidding around about their values or their plans, and knowing them makes me feel hopeful about what’s happening in Spokane and what will happen in the future! Even better, I really love knowing we can support them to sharpen their skills and hone their leadership for social justice!.
Then on Wednesday last week, I got to facilitate a powerful community gathering on Race, Militarization, Body Cameras, and Police Accountability with speakers Blaine Stum from the Spokane Human Rights Commission, Julie Schaffer from the Center for Justice, and Justin Pimsanguan from Don’t Shoot. The room was packed with members of our groups and others, including three members of our new Police Ombudsman Commission. Excellent points and questions were raised by this engaged, smart bunch of our neighbors and friends. The fact that so many people came together in our community to learn and to share their own questions and ideas left me energized and hopeful.
Neither of these experiences would have happened without people like you supporting PJALS and our sister organizations. There are plenty of reasons we can feel down or angry, and justifiably so. But when there are concrete reasons to feel a sense of hope, community, and possibility — let’s share those examples and move forward with greater energy!
Thank you very much for everything you do in our community and in our world!
Condoleezza Rice speaking in Spokane
Whitworth University is bringing Condoleezza Rice as part of their President’s Leadership Forum on Thursday, October 9th at the Convention Center. PJALS is working with Vets for Peace, IWW and Occupy Spokane to organize a nonviolent protest outside of her event. Gather at 11:00 am at the Community Building, 35 W. Main, to march together to the Convention Center. Our plans include giant heads, street theater, leafletting, and more.
Invite your friends on fb to join PJALS, Veterans for Peace, Occupy Spokane, and IWW to protest and tell the truth about Condi’s record here. Invite your friends to our Peacekeeper Training on Wed 10/1, 5:30 – 8p, here. Invite your friends to our sign-making party on Thurs 10/2, 5:30 – 7p, here.
Download a pdf turnout flier here!
There are so many reasons to oppose Rice’s visit to Spokane and with military escalations in Iraq it has become very timely. While current military decisions are Obama’s, we must not forget the lies from the Bush administration used to justify the illegal Iraq war. Among the 935 false statements from the Bush administration following 9/11, 56 came directly from Rice. Read more »