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Welcome to Social Work Practicum Student Moncerat Rodriguez
by Andrew Lack
Monce is a senior at EWU, doing her social work practicum at PJALS. Monce is drawn to working within the juvenile justice system. She also has always felt a close connection to Child Protective Services.
Monce is a graduate of the Toppenish School District in Yakima County. She originally came to know of PJALS through a friend who had once worked with us as an intern. She also credits her involvement with M.E.Ch.A. at EWU and participated in a PJALS peacekeeper training with them. Read more »
Greetings and salutations from the Young Activist Leaders Program!
By Jamie McDaniel
We have been working our hardest to prepare ourselves to be the greatest possible leaders of tomorrow. Last month we worked on reaching out to the community by means of public speaking and building a community power map. A community power map is an extremely important tool to utilize because it one of the most effective ways to analyze who holds the power and how we can sway them to see things are way.
For the month of May, we practiced the art of self-care — which as we all know is often overlooked in our line of work. My personal favorite aspect of this workshop was creating a “word box” in which we put many words that hold significant meaning to us so that in times of trouble, we can draw on one of our words to empower us.
The turnout for YALP has been excellent the past few months and many of us are gearing up and getting ready to attend our Young Activist Leaders Program graduation on June 16th. Let’s hear from some of our graduates:
Bri Gardiner would like all of our supporters to know, “YALP has been an amazing opportunity for me. It has not only connected me with other young activists but it has taught me how to make a difference!” Read more »
“Seeing Our Plans Turn To Action” – Practicum Reflection by Victoria Huckabee
Interning at PJALS has been an amazing experience for me and I have learned about so many different areas of community organizing and macro level social work. I am grateful for every experience I had at PJALS from participating in police accountability meetings and activities to planning the Mothers and Families for Smart Justice group, and even making hundreds of event reminder phone calls. Interning at PJALS has taught me community organizing, leadership skills, and formed my professional identity. I feel confident and satisfied in the work I have done and in the work I will continue to do with the skills I learned at PJALS.
Looking back on the year I remember how little I knew about community organizing at the first event I was a part of, which was the Smart Justice Community Symposium. I remember feeling a little useless and somewhat in the way because I had so many questions and wasn’t really sure what I was doing. As the year progressed and I felt more confident in my abilities I began to own my projects and take pride in my work. When I compare my symposium experience to our most recent event, which was the auction, I am really able to see how much I changed and grew over the course of my internship. The auction was a very different experience for me than the symposium was. At the auction, I felt confident in the work I was doing, took charge of my projects, and stepped up to help out wherever I was needed. I also noticed a difference due to the relationships I built with members and volunteers and it feels great to be a valuable member of the team. Read more »
“A Sense of Needing to Contribute” – Practicum Reflection by Teresa Kinder
Interning at PJALS has provided me with a unique opportunity to learn mezzo and macro level social work practice. I learned what advancing social change really means and what working for a better tomorrow looks like. Students in my social work cohort question whether they are really making a difference. At PJALS I have never questioned if my work is making a difference. Being an intern has shown me my own faults and areas for improvement but also how to make a difference in the community.
At the start of the year I started at another internship. I remember hearing fellow interns Jamie and Victoria talk about all the work they were doing at PJALS and feeling a sense of needing to contribute to this work.
Starting my internship at PJALS, one of the first things I was a part of was a demonstration about the Department of Justice report on torture tactics employed by the Bush administration and developed at Fairchild Air Force Base. This small demonstration was my first look into the injustices perpetrated in our country and one action we can take to counter injustice. Read more »
“My Journey as a Warrior of Social Justice” – Practicum Reflection by Jamie McDaniel
As my year as an intern here at PJALS comes to a close, I have truly begun to notice the impact my time here has made on me as a person and how much of this practice I have soaked up like a little social-justice sponge.
An example of this is in my final policy class at school, now my fellow students seek me out and want to work with me on projects or ask my advice on assignments and perspectives. It is extremely empowering to know that people can turn to me for help and assistance on issues that are not taught enough in our Bachelor’s of Social Work program. I have enjoyed being able to share what I have learned here with everyone around me and it has truly been a unique and enlightening experience.
My fondest memories at PJALS are mostly made up of our rallies and protests. It’s the time where we put all the taxing office work into action, taking to the streets with a purpose. I can remember my first protest for Condoleezza Rice’s visit Spokane and how nervous and excited I was to finally get to be part of something great and bigger than myself. There are not any words to describe how it felt to shout chants into the bullhorn for the very first time. Read more »
Wisdom and Wishes from the Action Conference Youth Panel
At our Action Conference in March, PJALS Steering Committee member and YALP grad Taylor Weech moderated a panel with three young activists: Charlie Johansen is a Cheney High School student who graduated from our Young Activist Leaders Program last year. Jaclyn Acher is an EWU student. Emanuel Flores is a member of Young Emerging Labor Leaders. Here are some excerpts from the conversation from my notes! – Liz
What is your vision you’re working toward?
Equity and strong communities. ~ Charlie Johansen.
Cultural awareness and not living in ideological monoculture – Jaclyn Archer.
Everyone should be able to go to work and be paid fairly and not bullied – Emanuel Flores.
What do you need from older activists? What do you not need?
I need your wisdom …not your cynicism. ~ Charlie.
I need scaffolding and practical support, help with organizing. I don’t need to be told what my generation needs. ~ Jaclyn.
I need understanding. I’m young and I have an opinion. Give me the opportunity to learn. ~ Manny
What gives you hope? What is most disheartening to you?
Community is essential. The most disheartening thing is futility and the systems that are in place and the disproportionate amount of power some people have. – Charlie
When regular folks have that aha moment and realize if they don’t get active, nothing good is going to happen. The most demobilizing thing is cynicism. Can’t stand it. — Judith
What I find disempowering is calls to revolution without practical follow-up. The empowering thing is: Together we will continue. We are not alone, and the persistence is continuing. — Jaclyn
The most disheartening thing for me is being told, “You failed.” What helps me is addressing my elders and getting a rub on the back. Mistakes are how you learn. — Manny Read more »
Year of Youth!
PJALS members like you supported youth as leaders for justice in three ways this year!
Congrats to the graduating YALPistas of 2014! Our Young Activist Leaders Program offers passionate youth leaders ways to strengthen their own youth-led groups. Hear from YALPistas Vitamin J, Amy, and Sevan!
Teaching as the first-ever EWU Activist in Residence, PJALS’ Liz Moore reached over 140 students with nonviolence & social justice. Pics here!
Dom Felix: “Impossible to Leave”
I have truly enjoyed my time as a PJALS Intern. I cannot imagine having done my practicum anywhere else. When other students in my cohort share their experience at their practicum sites I am surprised by stories where students feel as though their work doesn’t matter. I hear about endless intakes, “Name and date of birth please.” I have never felt like my work at PJALS didn’t matter. Often I felt like I was not the most qualified person for the job, but by working on campaigns that really matter to me I think I was able to be effective.
When I started in the fall the Spokane Police Accountability and Reform Coalition was working feverishly to empower the Office of Police Ombudsman. Sadly a new contract was approved that left Proposition 1 voters wanting more. On a more positive note Spokane has a much better Internal Affairs process in place now. Body cameras that should make excessive force complaints easier to verify have been approved. Some goals were not met, but the system is better now than it was before. I learned that changing policy requires a long attention span. Read more »