The Vehicle Procession for Black Lives was one of the most impactful events we’ve experienced as organizers with PJALS.
This was a rapid response event: planned and executed within the course of days. Spokane’s coalition of experienced and passionate activists took appropriate and meaningful steps in the planning stages of the procession and provided us with some valuable insight into how actions are run. The organizations involved included PJALS,Black Lens News, Spectrum, Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR), Spokane NAACP, Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, Greater Spokane Progress, YWCA Spokane, and Fuse Washington. This mix of people created an energy of eagerness and attention to detail that was unique and quite frankly, life changing. We were afforded the opportunity of organizing with the best of the best, and are so fortunate to have been given the platform to share a youth perspective.
That morning of June 6th, Ivy picked me up and we went to the Albertsons parking lot where we’d meet the other cars, not expecting a big turnout. In our pre-event huddle, with the other organizers about final logistics, we were shocked to hear the final number: 600 sign ups!! Even if we had half as many people come who signed up, we knew it would be a huge success. For me, that goes to show what so many people with different resources can put together in a short amount of time.
Cars kept pulling into the Albertsons parking lot until it was full. Cars had to wait on the roads because there were so many of us! Shar and Jac, two organizers who helped plan the event, were the lead car. Ivy and I were behind them, responsible for calling the radio station with directions and other things we wanted protesters to hear. Calling the radio station while on route, and later hearing the information broadcasted was really a cool experience for me, because it felt like I was actively doing something important (which I was!). KYRS also had a part in this protest. They agreed to give us that time slot in which we chose music to play and any route information protesters needed to know during the event, since they could tune into their car radio.
As we took our route around the South Hill, we were in contact with other organizers towards the back. When the two lead cars were turning onto High Drive from 57th, I got a text saying the last car had left the parking lot, an hour after we started! I was so taken aback, and felt so proud of what we put together in such a short amount of time. I could hardly wrap my head around how many cars and community members rallied around our efforts.
Ivy’s most impactful memory of the morning was driving from West Central. Protests rarely happen on the South Hill. There was little to no police presence. On the way up to Albertsons though, “I saw numerous clusters of police officers awaiting our arrival downtown.” One of the central questions we discussed in the planning stages was whether or not to ‘release our route’ pre-event. “I didn’t understand why there was a need for preventative actions until I had this experience.” Liz was right, once again! Yet another example of how organizing experience is passed down through mentorship!
As we went down by Manito Park, we witnessed our friends and neighbors looking perplexed (and in some cases angered) by the long line of cars passing them. Despite this, there were many individuals who JOINED US on the way. This was a tangible experience showing that when there is a call to action, a community will rally! It was so heartwarming to know that with lots of work and dedication, we can impact real community interest!
Thank you <3
PJALS Youth Organizers,