Why I feel hopeful in Spokane

By Liz Moore, PJALS Director

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 several recent experiences that lifted my spirits, buoyed my energy, and gave me concrete reason for hope.

In October, 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, 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.

Smart Justice Spokane’s Community Symposium on Nov 15 culminated an effort that began in May. I was a member of a wonderful planning team that included Greater Spokane Progress’ Anne Martin, I Did the Time’s founder Layne Pavey, Spokane Tribal College director Shelly Wynecoop, GU Law School professor Inga Laurent and student Tim Schermetzler, Bob West from city probation, and others including PJALS members and interns. The synergy we built together was palpable on the day of the event, when 300 people crowded into GU Law School in an energetic commitment to reforming the criminal justice system to address racial disparities, addiction, mental illness, and mass incarceration. I left grateful, invigorated, appreciative, brain-cultivated and hopeful!

There are plenty of reasons we can feel down or angry, and justifiably so. So, 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!