Internship Reflection by Gian Mitchell

One of the greatest things I learned during this internship is what a wonderful organization PJALS is to work for. Honestly, I’m worried this experience may have set the bar too high for my expectations regarding future workplaces. Besides the amazing culture and people at PJALS though, I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities I had to see what professional, grassroots, organizing looks like behind the scenes. From my experience livestreaming Spokane Community Against Racism’s Platform for Change, to being able to draft a PJALS statement in support of Spokane Public School’s recent racial justice resolution, to being a part of the planning process for the Vehicle Procession for Black Lives, I’m incredibly happy I was given the opportunity to intern with PJALS.

With regards to livestreaming Spokane Community Against Racism’s Platform for Change, I first need to give a huge shoutout to all the people who commented in the Facebook livestream that I needed to rotate the camera as the feed was showing up sideways on their screens. Thank you all for your patience and for speaking up! I would’ve been extremely disappointed with myself if I had screwed up the entire livestream that badly. Besides that initial mistake on my end though, the event was extraordinarily powerful. Watching the Spokane community come together like that to demand change really struck a chord within me. I was honored that I got to play a small role in helping with the event.

Spokane Public School Board’s recent racial justice resolution has been a long time coming. It’s a first step towards a brighter future for every child who attends Spokane Public Schools. And I had the opportunity to create the first draft of the statement of support for the resolution that Liz read at the school board meeting! It was a great opportunity for me to use all the writing skills I’ve learned in school. I was also able to attempt to integrate the Race Class Narratives research PJALS has recently begun to implement into its communications, which was an extremely valuable experience for me. Once again, it felt amazing to be able to contribute to a cause I’m passionate about.

Being a part of the planning process for the Vehicle Procession for Black Lives was a moment in which I got to see all the work that goes into planning a successful event from behind the scenes. I learned about the strategic importance of situating the event within a larger campaign framework. It isn’t enough to simply protest, as the protest must have goals and purpose behind it if it is to be truly effective. I was also reminded of the critical importance of accountability to the communities negatively impacted by the issue in question. In addition, I was able to volunteer at the protest and gain valuable experience reacting in the moment to the problems that inevitably pop up at any event that includes hundreds of people.

Overall, my experience interning with PJALS is one I’ll remember the rest of my life. PJALS gave me a chance to learn, grow, and challenge myself in a supportive environment with amazing people. I’m extremely grateful to the organization and the people who made that possible. Whether it was volunteering at SCAR’s Platform for Change, drafting a statement of support for Spokane Public School’s recent racial justice resolution, or being a part of the Vehicle Procession for Black Lives I’m happy I was able to contribute to this wonderful organization and the urgent struggles for justice it supports.

Thank you for being a supporter of PJALS and for taking the time to read this,