PJALS Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane

Quick Updates

Join us Tuesday, March 19

Ceasefire & Beyond: A Critical Analysis of What’s Happening in Palestine/Israel and Its Impact Q&A

Join us for an educational dialogue! In this moment, it is imperative to recognize our shared humanity and tied liberation. This facilitated Q&A session aims to create dialogue around the ongoing violence in Palestine/Israel.

Register Now

Ceasefire Petition

Dear Sen. Murray, Sen. Cantwell, & Rep. McMorris Rodgers:

 We have collected 329 signatures for ceasefire so far – let’s keep going! We ask you to keep circulating this petition and encouraging your friends, networks, and community to keep pushing for a ceasefire in Palestine / Israel.

Sign Now

BOLD is Back!

Written by Union Carter

Our academy, Building, Organizing, Leadership Development (BOLD), is designed for those interested in constructing a race-class analysis and taking meaningful action. At PJALS, all our education aims to empower individuals to actively address the issues they are passionate about. The BOLD Academy equips participants with the ability to develop a collective analysis and the skills to effectively apply that analysis, fostering leaders in workplaces, homes, and communities.

This past winter, our BOLD curriculum review team meticulously went through each session to ensure that the content we share this spring is as impactful and informative as possible. While maintaining the essence of the academy, we’ve restructured how we utilize caucus space, lead conversations, and teach organizing skills. This team, comprised of PJALS staff, BOLD facilitators, and BOLD graduates, brought new perspectives and ideas to enhance the upcoming BOLD Academy.


In preparation for voting with our values and communities in mind during this election year, BOLD Academy is increasing our community’s capacity to engage in organizing conversations throughout the summer and fall. Engaging in discussions about race and class—two topics we are conditioned to be silent about—enables us to delve into the core impact of the decisions we make every day, especially at the voting booth.

BOLD Academy sessions are set to commence in April, and we will actively engage voters throughout the year!

Ready to apply?

Take Readiness Self-Assessment

PJALS work around Palestine/Israel

Written by Union Carter

In nearly 50 years of countering American militarism and imperialism, the Peace and Justice Action League has actively addressed numerous issues. One consistent focus has been tracking and opposing the violence and displacement in Palestine/Israel. This commitment from both staff and member committees has persisted.

Since the Hamas attack in October 2023 and the subsequent military operations including incessant bombing by Israeli government, PJALS has expanded its efforts to involve the Spokane community in advocating for a comprehensive ceasefire. Our initial statement, released in mid-October and denouncing the violence, can be found at pjals.org/ceasefire.

Honoring the Palestinian and Israeli lives taken, we hosted a vigil and rally for a ceasefire on Division Street Bridge. Recognizing the need for further education on the historical and current realities of Palestine/Israel, we hosted a webinar on October 7th featuring Sabrene Odeh and Diana Falchuck titled “Ceasefire & Beyond: A Critical Analysis of What’s Happening in Palestine/Israel and Its Impact.” The webinar covered topics such as the distinction between people and their governments, the rise of Islamophobia and antisemitism, the role of the United States, and actions to call for a ceasefire. Following the webinar, over 50 people sent multiple emails and made calls advocating for a ceasefire.

We have initiated a petition calling for a comprehensive ceasefire and peaceful next steps directed at Senator Murray, Senator Cantwell, and Representative McMorris Rodgers. This petition was spread at our Hands Off Rafah rally near Northtown Mall where we caught the attention of the drivers in the Wellesley and Division intersection. The first 275 signatures have already been delivered to their respective congressional offices.

As long as bombs continue to be dropped on civilians, humanitarian aid is obstructed, and U.S taxpayer dollars fund genocidal military operations, our work continues. We are committed to ongoing education and action in support of a ceasefire—stay tuned for another webinar and additional actions!


Sign Ceasefire Petition     Register for Tuesday March 19 Webinar

Welcome to the World of Digital Organizing!

Written by Bex Matthews

Greetings PJALS community! My name is Bex – I use they/them pronouns and many of you have likely seen me at PJALS events as the tall person with short, bright hair (once neon pink and now a vibrant blue), usually sporting some bright eye makeup, a button-up shirt, and a camera around my neck. I joined the PJALS staff team in January 2023 as an interim digital strategist, and, because of the continued energy and support from members like you, I was able to move into the first full-time permanent Digital Organizer position at PJALS in May 2023.

As the Digital Organizer, I create posts and monitor interactions on our Facebook and Instagram pages. I also keep our website up-to-date, take pictures out in the community to share back with you all, support and amplify the work of our Community Organizer Union Carter, and play a key role in getting the word out about our events and those of our partners. I work closely with the rest of the PJALS staff team to increase the transparency of our work, create clarity and consistency in our messaging across platforms, and keep you informed about what is going on in our community as it pertains to our core priorities: ending mass incarceration, countering white nationalism, promoting anti-imperialism and peace, and leadership development.

Since I am the first person to be in this role at PJALS, this past year has involved a lot of foundation building, envisioning (and revisioning), and trying new things. We contracted with Joseph Peterson, a local activist and entrepreneur, at the end of 2023 through the beginning of 2024 to help us define our online communication strategy and create a plan for implementation. From our work with Joseph, we were able to create new internal processes for our team, consistent practices and templates for our social media, a clear process for planning digital content, and define more specifically the goals for organizing in an online environment.

Ultimately, my goal as the Digital Organizer is to coordinate our digital presence with our in-person organizing so we can reach more people, mobilize more people, build more community power, and, together, make sustainable positive change. I am thrilled to continue learning and growing in this role, finding new and exciting ways to engage more people in our movement for peace and justice!

Building Youth Leadership in Spokane

Written by Ellis Benson

After a successful action orientated YALP fall session, this YALP spring has been focused on the fundamentals of activist education. With over twenty participants, this spring session has been lively and strong! Many of the participants previously participated in the fall session, but a sizable number of participants are new to both the program and PJALS.

So far, YALP has covered the topics of identity, oppression, and privilege, as well as the fundamentals of organizing, approaches to making change, and basics of campaigns. This session’s curriculum has a focus on being as interactive as possible, to best build community with the participants and to foster deep engagement with the curriculum.

This is the second YALP session facilitated by Youth Organizers Ellis and Pascal, which has been a fulfilling leadership development opportunity for the both of them. The YALP graduation celebration, held on March 29th, will be a community event with those outside of YALP highly encouraged to join!

Join us for YALP Graduation!

Reflecting on 15 years

Written by Liz Moore

On April 1, 2009, I entered the role of Executive Director of PJALS. That means I’m celebrating 15 years this spring!

In 1990, I looked up “peace” in the phonebook. There it was: Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane. I was a high school student in Deer Park. The US was threatening war against Iraq. I didn’t have an analysis of nonviolence or US imperialism; I just thought the question of war deserved critical thinking. Instead, in my high school I was witnessing fist-pumping in the halls and anti-Arab racism in my homeroom. When I dialed PJALS, Rusty Nelson answered my call and invited me to Youth for World Awareness, which I experienced as an oasis. There, I was encouraged to ask questions, make plans, and take action. I’m so grateful for the experience and for Mary Pat Treuthart for being our youth group advisor!

And, I’m so grateful for Rusty and Nancy Nelson helping me put my feet on the path of social justice work through several internships and stints on staff.

I broadened my activism as a student at Oberlin College in Ohio and learned the craft of organizing at the Labor-Community Strategy Center in California. While PJALS is my political birthplace, I came of age politically in the labor movement in California, using popular education models to power worker-led democratic union-building. In 2009, after organizing on a range of issues from LGBTQ rights to environmental justice and 9 years away from Spokane, I came home.

It hasn’t always been easy; in fact it’s usually been hard. As a small-budget, multi-issue organization, there’s always a huge resource differential between the systems we seek to transform and the resources we bring to bear on the struggle. As my organizing mentors said, “there are two kinds of power: organized money and organized people.” When we go up against organized money, the only way to win is through people-power. I’m so grateful for the hundreds of people who make PJALS a community of hope, action, and determination.

I am reflecting on some key victories and accomplishments we’ve made happen together. I’m proud we moved the city council to pass Fair Chance Hiring in 2014, thanks to the courage and persistence of formerly incarcerated people, which led the state legislature to pass it as well! In 2017, our PJALS community was ready to fight the anti-immigrant profiling initiative! That summer, 27 people went out to knock on doors in 97-degree heat to talk with voters.

Then we saw the initiative thrown off the ballot by a coalition-based legal challenge, stopping the opposition in their tracks and preventing them from advancing to a statewide initiative as they had planned. I’m proud of how we mobilized to defeat the police contract in 2020 and the many times our PJALS community has shown up for police accountability. And of course I’m very proud of defeating last fall’s jail sales tax, preventing $1.7 billion from being sucked into the systemically racist and harmful criminal legal incarceration system! I have so much gratitude and appreciation for the partners and volunteers who made this happen.

PJALS has changed and grown in important ways in my time as Executive Director. Chief among those changes is re-starting the youth program in 2011 in the form of the Young Activist Leaders Program, which continues to be a leadership path today. We grew our communications infrastructure from a comma-separated list of email addresses to a database of over 4000 and social media reaching 8000 more. This is due to diligent years of work inviting people to sign up on clipboards, re-doing the website, and creating consistent and useful social media accounts.

In 2009 I was a sole staff person, I wasn’t full time, and our pay was very low with unpredictable and insufficient funding. Now, I’m one of 4 full time employees with two part-time youth organizers, a contract bookkeeper, and 17 Organizing Interns last fall. PJALS offers healthcare, dental, vision, and retirement benefits as well as ample paid time off and wages that help staff thrive. We’ve more than quadrupled our budget and we have a reserve fund that means we know we can sustain our organizing. Then as now, contributions from members are the most important and most consistent source of funding.

How have you seen Spokane change as a result of the work you have contributed to in the last 15 years?

Spokane has changed significantly and I like to think I’ve been able to contribute to those changes positively. Our community has increased and broadened our capacity to mobilize. There has been a response to the call of BIPOC leaders for supporting the racial justice development of white activists including me. This includes being part of amplifying messages and directions from Black leaders and other BIPOC leaders to mobilize a multi-racial majority.

I see an increasingly normalized culture of leaning into relationship building and trust-building to sustain long-term movement-building rather than just trying to go it alone.

What have been your “ah ha” moments over the years?

Racial justice is a strategic imperative, not only a moral call! In a workshop with guest speaker Jess Campbell from the Rural Organizing Project, she asked us to discuss the mutual interest of white people with people of color to dismantle racism. I realized I didn’t have the words I wanted to access easily to explain: what’s in it for me as a white person? Now I feel much more able to explain — when white people are manipulated by racism and bought off with white privilege, we’re less likely to mobilize with Black, Indigenous, people of color leaders and communities for our shared goals of ending police violence and abuse, organizing for economic justice, and moving together for our shared vision of peace and equity. It’s in my interest not to be manipulated and lied to for the profit and benefit of the 1%.

What are your hopes for the future of Spokane and PJALS?

I hope we continue to grow and build our movement, and I hope we continue to grow in relationship, skill, and creativity. I hope we shift power county-wide so that as a region we can isolate and counter white nationalist organizing, nurture an economy full of living wage jobs and worker power, end the crisis of homelessness and skyrocketing rent by curbing the power of greedy landlords and callous business interests.  We know from Erica Chenoweth’s research that 3% population participation can fuel a movement with the power to win its vision, and that is within our reach in Spokane County. I hope we get up to scale, work up to our potential.

Save the Date!

2024 PJALS Annual Benefit Luncheon

Wednesday, September 25
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Spokane Valley Event Center
10514 E. Sprague Ave. | Spokane Valley, WA


­We are moving our annual benefit luncheon to the fall! Please mark your calendars to save the date and watch for more information in the next few months including how to support as a table host, sponsor, or guest. If you have any questions, please reach out to Shar at [email protected]

Save the Date!

Talk About it Tuesdays

3rd Tuesday of the Month
Mini-speaker series
May – November


Talk About It Tuesdays is a mini speaker series that will run from May – November of this year in lieu of the annual Action Conference. On the third Tuesday of each month, registrants will engage with speakers around our four organizational priorities and be offered additional educational resources and ways to take action. Education for action is a pillar of  the work we do at PJALS, and we are so excited to offer another consistent opportunity for members to be a part of!