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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!
PJALS Priorities for Action 2014-2015
As a collective of activists, PJALS staff, steering committee members, and committee chairs addressed the difficult task of prioritizing efforts when there are seemingly endless injustices being carried out through direct acts and perpetuated through acquiescence and silence. Prioritizing our work aids us in focusing our “hands, heart, and head” efforts for a period of time for the best possible outcomes, leaving room for rapid response to an ever changing landscape.
As the Steering Committee Chairperson, I’m excited to share with you the three PJALS Priorities for Action 2014-2015. With your support through membership, volunteering, showing up, and lending your voice, PJALS can continue the movement for peace and justice. 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!
Young Activist Leaders program: “organize, mobilize, and facilitate”
The Young Activist Leadership Program has been instrumental in teaching me how to organize, mobilize, and facilitate for a number of causes, including teaching me how to efficiently manage my own grassroots movement. YALP has brought my activism to a higher level of effectiveness, motivating and giving me the tools necessary to organize the pursuit of issues I’m so passionate about.
–Justin “Vitamin J” Pimsanguan, Don’t Shoot
Young Activist Leaders program: “stretch the limits of our everyday thinking”
It has been very refreshing to connect with other young activists from different back-grounds and experiences with different goals and aspirations. YALP has proven to me to be a very open, comfortable environment to ask the questions we’ve hesitated to ask before, to stretch the limits of our everyday thinking and to appreciate others for our own unique qualities and skills. The commitment to participate in YALP is well-tailored to the demanding life of a young adult, making the resources and tools gained well worth the effort.
Amy Cowin, Chair of Spokane Chapter of Washington Young Emerging Labor Leaders (WA YELL)
Young Activist Leaders program: tools, skills, confidence!
YALP has given me many tools and ability to connect with other social justice advocates.
The tools I’ve learned I have taken back to young people I work with at Odyssey Youth Center. This has included planning successful events, running meetings that don’t suck and addressing racism with young people. All of these have increased my confidence and allowed me to practice new skills in a safe place, and that’s YALP.
–Sevan Bussell, Health and Wellness Coordinator, Odyssey Youth Center
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 »
Marching for Immigration Reform
Jeremiah Manes and YALP alum Molly Ftizpatrick carry the PJALS banner at the May 1 2014 march for Immigration Reform. PJALS Organizer Shar Lichty and member Mark Hamlin offered a Peacekeeper training for MEChA de EWU members who organized the event.
Jeremiah Manes: “Creating the Culture We Want to See”
As a social work student at Eastern Washington University, I joined PJALS to gain the field experience that supplements classroom learning. With elementary awareness of privilege, oppression and social injustice, but without knowledge of the activist skill-set used to counter this oppression, I came to PJALS to develop these skills.
My time here was spent on our Palestine-Israel Human Rights Committee, Young Activist Leaders Program, and planning and promoting community events such as our annual Action Conference, Soiree fundraiser and Palestine Film Festival. These experiences offered valuable opportunities for my future social work path, wherever that may be. Read more »
Meet the Young Activist Leaders!
Monday March 24, 2014, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm
Community Building Lobby, 35 W. Main
Light refreshments, networking, & inspiring program
Come meet the active, passionate young people of PJALS’ Young Activist Leaders Program—working for lgbtq equality, criminal justice reform, economic justice, and much more! Come. Chat! Nosh. And engage with passionate & inspiring young leaders!
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!
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 »
12 hours for everyday suffering
by Lucia Vazquez
To bring attention to the suffering and struggles of undocumented Americans, I participated in a 12-hour fast along with 10 other folks from Spokane and Walla Walla on July 3rd in front of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ office.
At first I was very optimistic of being able to do the full 12 hours with only water to drink yet as the day progressed I doubted being able to make it– my feet were sore, my head pounding, constant thoughts of food raced in my head.
My pain was nothing compared to the number of years families wait to see their loved ones, the deaths of innocent people attempting to seek a better future, the agony undocumented students experience knowing that tuition is due, the fear children face when their parents leave for work, the cruel reality that you’re one traffic stop from deportation–these are all real scenarios and being able to symbolized the suffering undocumented people face every day was my motivation. 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!
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 »
Our generation has all the potential
Young Activist Leader reflection
By Audrey Connor, Youth Sustainability Council, Community-Minded Enterprises
Thus far into the program, YALP has really helped me understand the context of my thinking as both a semi-organizer and a private citizen. I feel so engaged and impassioned in every discussion, and being able to share my thoughts and opinions freely among like-minded individuals (under the guidance of Shar and Liz) has been a huge gift, especially lately as I figure out what it is I want from my life and experiences.
I am also able to listen to different points of view and have my mind changed often. I really respect my fellow program members, and many of the exercises and discussions we have had have reassured me that our generation has all the potential I tell people it does. I am really, really grateful this program exists.
For more information about PJALS Young Activist Leader Program, visit www.pjals.org/yalp
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 »
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.
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 »