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Young Activist Leaders: Building Our Boldness
by Jeremiah Manes
The Young Activist Leaders Program benefits those of us involved on so many levels. As a member of this program I can say that learning in connection with a small and committed group of young people provides an environment well suited to build our boldness, sense of camaraderie, and desire to create change.
The Young Activist Leaders Program effectively provides skills for activism in workshops and context for necessity of action during retreats. Young people who may feel disenfranchised from the problems they face will gain a more in-depth understanding of oppression and will be able to personalize an effective plan of action on an issue of importance.
Specifically, we have learned successful speaking skills for motivating people to action, facilitating meetings, and building campaigns. We’ve also learned community-specific ways to mobilize allies in Spokane. And always we are provided with written resources that will be valuable in future campaign planning.
I encourage any young person who is feeling immobilized, in a rut or lacking resources, to join next year’s program and be a part of the energizing group process at YALP!
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 »
Welcome new intern Jeremiah Manes!
Jeremiah Manes is a 24 year old senior in the EWU Social Work program. He is from Coeur d’Alene and recently transferred from Lewis and Clark State and moved to Spokane. He pursued social work because the values associated with it resonated strongly with him. He joined PJALS hoping to build skills in the area of political activism where he has no previous experience
Jeremiah is involved in the Young Activist Leaders Program (YALP), the Peace and Justice Action Committee (PJAC) and the Palestine-Israel Human Rights Committee (PIHRC). Read more »
Welcome new intern Dom Felix!
Dom Felix joined PJALS this year as part of an internship through Eastern Washington University’s Social Work program. Dom has been a long-time resident of the Spokane area who recently chose to pursue higher education in hopes of becoming a chemical dependency counselor. Now as a senior in the program, Dom has come to the decision that working on systemic social change would be a more constructive use of his social work career. This realization lead to Dom choosing PJALS as an internship placement when he became aware of the organization during a lobby day trip to Olympia last year. Read more »
Bobby Kirl joins our team in January!
Bobby Kirl is a Master’s level social work student at Eastern Washington University and has chosen to spend his practicum hours with us. Bobby was first introduced to the work of PJALS during a university course on human rights and was later able to become involved when his affiliation with the local Vets for Peace chapter led to an opportunity to play music at our PJALS membership meeting. Read more »
Engaging students for social justice! PJALS Director will be first Activist-in-Residence at EWU
PJALS is excited to announce that director Liz Moore will serve as the first Activist-in-Residence at EWU this winter. This is a wonderful opportunity to further the work we’ve begun through our Young Activist Leaders Program and our community organizing internships. Read more »
Marching for Immigration Reform
By Lucy Vazquez, PJALS intern
The streets of Downtown Spokane echoed with a powerful “Sí Se Puede” (yes we can) on May 1st as approximately 150 Mechistas, PJALS folks, students, and other community members marched on the streets in support of a just and humane Comprehensive Immigration Reform that will create a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11.2 million undocumented people currently living in the United States. Read more »
“I have done things I never thought I was capable of “
by Michelle Little
When I first chose to do my internship with PJALS, I was a bit wary of how well I could function as a community organizer. I can’t even keep my house organized, so the thought of organizing a whole community was a bit intimidating. However, looking back over the experience I have had with PJALS it was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. Read more »
“I was part of a monumental victory”
by Justin Filla
These past nine months at PJALS has been a great experience. I have had the privilege of sitting on the Marriage Equality Committee as well as the Palestine and Israel Human Rights Committee (PIHRC). From sitting on these committees I had the opportunity to work with some amazing individuals who have an abundance of knowledge and passion for the issues we worked on. Read more »
“I discovered my passion”
by Lucy Vazquez
The past nine months at PJALS have been very rewarding. There were many times I doubted my abilities in community organizing and often thought that perhaps community organizing wasn’t for me. During my practicum experience I didn’t get the intern-to-client work experience that my fellow classmates did, however I do understand the importance of lobbying and the importance of being politically involved. I would like to continue working around changing policy for social justice. One of my professors mentioned to us, “social workers are the lobbyists of the poor.” At first I didn’t understand her statement but now after seeing all the work that PJALS does for our community, I get it. Read more »
“I have the values and drive to influence change”
by Joshua Neil
I started the school year off excited to be able to gain knowledge and experience from PJALS. Now I have a little over a week left of my undergraduate career and I’m wondering where the time went! My time as an intern at PJALS has been so enriching. I have learned so much about the issues I’ve worked on, and at the same time I’ve learned more about myself. The thing I will remember most about my practicum experience is the people. Read more »
Young Leaders graduate–tomorrow, the world!
Congratulations to the Young Activist Leaders Program class of 2013! Alex Golikov, Michelle Little, Michael Tooley, Lucy Vazquez, Justin Filla, Taylor Weech, Josh Neil, and Audrey Connor (not pictured).
Thank you for being part of our program! Love and best wishes to each of you!
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.
Young Activist Leader reflection: “YALP is my can of spinach”
by Alex Golikov, Lewis and Clark High School, Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media
If I were a male of my age, I would just punch a wall and forget the issues that make me an activist. Well, I tried, and it didn’t work- so I joined YALP. There is a large difference between being aware, and being aware with the knowledge of how to act. YALP has not only provided me with a broader awareness of local, national, and global affairs through the diverse knowledge pool of our members, but an idea of how to make change that becomes clearer with every meeting. Read more »
Welcome Michelle Little
Michelle Little grew up in Omak, WA, and is the mother of three children, ages 7, 4, and 2. Michelle decided to get a degree in social work so she can change people’s views on social workers, due to her own previous negative experiences with social workers.
At first, she was interested in working in corrections or chemical dependency. After learning about macro-level social work in one of her classes, Michelle realized that she wanted to make a bigger difference and work on a larger scale. The major turning point for her was when she went to Olympia to lobby for healthcare. Read more »
Welcome Josh Neil
Josh Neil, from Whidbey Island, WA, is very active on EWU’s campus, where he helps the Pride Center Coordinator with various presentations about the LGBT community and how to become an ally.
Josh got very interested in learning more about PJALS after talking with one of the interns from last year. He then saw the organization’s work as something that he saw himself doing in the future. He states, “I’m looking forward to becoming more involved in the political process,” so he can become a more informed citizen.
He describes his most memorable moment at PJALS thus far, as doing phone banking for Referendum 74. Read more »
Welcome Lucy Vazquez
Lucy Vazquez, from Wenatchee, WA, became interested in social work because she liked the case management work she saw her mother doing in the community. Lucy is also working on a minor in Chicano/Latino studies.
Lucy has been active in MEChA, NASA (Native American Student Association), One America and other social justice groups and she’s learned leadership and communication skills. She has a passion for social change, is open-minded, and wants to help other people. Read more »
Welcome Justin Filla
Justin Filla is from Cowiche, a small rural community outside of Yakima, WA. He was originally majoring in Criminal Justice, but after learning more about systemic issues that contributed to the delinquency of minors, he realized that he would rather be on the other side of the problem. Rather than putting people in jail he wanted to help them in other ways. He then decided the Social Work program would be a good fit. He is still considering finishing his degree in Criminal Justice, but would like to focus on his current program. For the last three years, Justin has been involved with ASEWU, the Associated Students of Eastern Washington University, and is currently the elected Student Services Representative. Read more »
PJALS Young Activist Leaders program
“Not only did this program give me numerous, explicitly useful tools for my activism, it refueled my spirit every month and encouraged me immensely to stay involved and active. I was treated like my work really mattered.”
“This program has been incredibly helpful and enjoyable. It helps young activists realize and utilize their own power and promotes their autonomy as leaders and organizers.”
“The Young Activist Leaders program is an amazing experience for all levels of personal experience. It is a wonderful opportunity for current leaders to share their knowledge with those who seek it and to ensure there are future leaders to push boundaries, ask questions, and seek justice.”
Your support helps us provide skill-building workshops, binders and materials, dedicated staff time, healthy food, and stipends for those who complete the commitment. Thank you! It’s easy at www.pjals.org/contribute.
Check out our coverage on KYRS:
- PJALS Young Activist Leaders Speak Out: Hear the voices of Young Activist Leaders honored by Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane. Molly Fitzpatrick talks about her work with Angry Feminists and Eagle Pride. Taylor Malone is an organizer of Spokane’s Slut Walk, pushing back against victim-blaming. Shea Gorman led Gay Straight Alliance work at East Valley High School. And PJALS intern Alyssa Henderson learned more about fighting poverty and opposition to the death penalty, while pursuing her social work degree. June 6 2012.
- Liz Moore On PJALS Young Activist Leaders: Liz Moore from Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane talks about the celebration at the Community Building for PJALS Young Activist Leaders. PJALS is now accepting applications for the coming year. June 5 2012.
And, read what more YALP grads have to say about their experience.
In our Young Activist Leaders program, young people:
- Explore social justice with other Spokane-area young people who value equality, human rights, economic justice, and peace!
- Sharpen your skills to lead and make change!
- Help make your group or club better, faster, stronger!
Our 10-month leadership development program is right for young people already active in or leading student groups, faith communities, and community groups as well as for folks new to activism. It’s a great opportunity to help new leaders grow or to create student projects! Starting in October 2012 and concluding in May 2013, every month participants will
- attend a skill-building educational workshop (see topic list below).
- volunteer with a group of their choice (including PJALS of course!).
- Campaigns for Change: Planning and Coordinating
- How to Recruit and Mobilize
- Effective Meetings
- Event Planning
- Generating Media Coverage
- Public Speaking
- Nonviolence and Militarism
- Identity, Privilege, and Oppression
- LGBT Equality and Liberation
- Moving Racial Justice Campaigns
- Corporate Power: An Economic Reality Check
- Negotiating with People in Power
- …and more!
We provide a gathering place for young people to ask questions, to educate each other, and to explore social justice work together. Our hands-on program helps grow a vibrant network of young people committed to social justice. In addition to our monthly two-hour workshops, a Saturday retreat in the fall and in the spring mean we can cover lots of ground, provide a full toolbox of tools–not to mention a binder of resources–and really accelerate the development so that your group can make the changes you want to see… better, faster, stronger!
Help us connect with young activists!
You can connect us with a group at a high school, college, your faith community, or elsewhere, or send a young leader from your group to participate in the program. Download our flier and info sheet, check out the easy sign-up, and more!
Donate to support youth leadership! Your donation at any level will make a difference! Costs will include dedicated staff time, materials, food, and, if we can, bus passes and stipends for those who complete the commitment. Your donation of $50, $100, or any amount will help fund this exciting program! You can sponsor a youth leader at $1000 or co-sponsor at $500, or sponsor a workshop at $300. It’s easy at www.pjals.org/contribute.
Young Activist Leaders graduate!
By Liz Moore
Our Young Activist Leaders program has graduated its first class! This, as you know, is PJALS’ re-launched youth leadership development program, which introduced me to social justice work when I was a high school student. Because of passionate support from members like you, we re-launched this program last fall to build the skills and support the leadership of wonderful young people. Read more »
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 Regina Steele, BSW
The past nine months at PJALS have been an unforgettable journey with new friendships and skills built. I truly have engaged individuals and local communities in building a just and nonviolent world. I want to thank PJALS for giving me the opportunity to serve as an intern during my practicum. Read more »
Young Activist report: I can make a genuine difference in my community
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
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 »
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 »