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Everyday people have the power to accomplish extraordinary things together.
Our mission is to engage everyday people to build a just and nonviolent world through community organizing and leadership development.
Our vision for PJALS: Everyday people are together advancing peace, racial equity, economic justice, and human rights through campaigns grounded in the intersections of these values.
Our Peace and Justice Action League community is intergenerational, cross-class, multiracial, urban and rural, and disproportionately LGBTQ.
- Driven by members through robust volunteer involvement and leadership.
- Organizing campaigns to win policy change and transform systems.
- Providing education for action on racial justice and grassroots organizing skills.
- Engaging young people as leaders.
- Delivering high-quality support.
- Nurturing strong and active partnerships.
- Ending mass incarceration and systemic racism in our city-county carceral system
- Countering White Nationalism
- Racial Justice Education for Action
- Young Activist Leaders Program (YALP) and Grassroots Organizing Education for Action
Who We Are
PJALS works on issues of peace, economic justice, racial equity, and human rights. We have been active since 1975, promoting social, political, and economic change through grassroots community organizing, nonviolence training, volunteer involvement, education, and advocacy. We network with local, regional, and national peace and human rights groups to initiate change locally and globally.
We welcome anyone who favors the free exchange of ideas and nonviolent action over war or inaction and ignorance. PJALS members come from all economic backgrounds, and range from young to old, fresh to seasoned, urban to rural. Members determine their own level of support and participation. Members also determine which issues and projects receive the most attention and effort.
PJALS depends on individual membership donations, gifts, and grants for its operational costs. Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS) is a 501(c)(3) organization. By law, none of its staff time or resources can be used to support or oppose any candidate running for public office or for any partisan political purpose.
Our Values & Commitment
Adopted by the PJALS Steering Committee, July 26, 2016
In our PJALS community, we believe everyday people can accomplish extraordinary things together. We strive to draw from our differences to increase and enhance effective action to build a just and nonviolent world. Our values ask us to honor and respect our web of different life experience to work collaboratively, sharing power and decision-making. Our work is led by people directly impacted by the problems we seek to address, both among our PJALS community and in our broader community and world. We recognize our shared humanity and commit in the following ways neither to harm a member nor to see a member harmed:
- Use an intersectional racial equity lens in all our work.
- Call each other in, not out, when we make mistakes.
- Use decision-making processes that engage our diverse community.
PJALS Community Agreements
Our shared expectations of how we communicate and work together within the PJALS community: :
- Respect: We strive to make brave & welcoming space for all, so that we can take action together on our shared goals.
- Anti-Oppression: No oppressive statements. If oppressive behaviors or statements are made, we name, address, own, and learn.
- Support: We support each other by ‘sharing the air’ during discussions, speaking from our own experiences and perspectives, and learning from differences.
- Curiosity: We aim to be curious, challenge assumptions, and work from “sound and current data.”
- Awareness: We try to be aware of our choices and make them consciously, not reactively.
- Learning & Improving: We evaluate together so we can learn from our experiences.
- Focus: We limit distractions and sidebars in meetings or workshops to create a unified conversation.
- Clear Agreements: We make clear agreements about roles, time-frame, actions, tasks, and relationship behaviors. We also make new agreements as needed.
Land Acknowledgment, Call to Solidarity with Indigenous People
We want to begin by respectfully acknowledging that our offices and other gathering places are on unceded Indigenous land. When we gather virtually, wherever we are, we are all on Indigenous land. At our office, near the shores of the Spokane River, we are on the occupied traditional lands of the Spokane People and other Interior Salish peoples, who have stewarded this beautiful land and precious river since time immemorial. We offer our respect to elders both past and present. Upon whose land are you reading this?
We commit to intentionally addressing the outcomes of the “doctrine of discovery” with the truth about the human beings who were already here and who continue to resist the impacts of ongoing colonization and to fight to sustain their culture, language, and people. We know it is insufficient to simply acknowledge the land we occupy.
We commit to centering the voices, leadership, and solutions of Indigenous people in our communities and around the world. We stand in solidarity with Indigenous people who are leading the fight to protect our planet’s biodiversity across the globe.
We encourage you to give financial support to indigenous-led organizations here in the land of the Interior Salish peoples, to buy native and to integrate the essential voices of Indigenous people in our lives all year long.
Our words are only as meaningful as our actions.
Racial Equity Statement
PJALS strives to be a home where Spokane’s diverse communities find belonging as members and as staff to build power together. Our work is informed and fueled by our broad network of relationships, and shaped by a race-class analysis of the problems facing our greater community and world. We work to build a movement based in a moral consciousness for justice by opposing the interlocking systems of oppression and privilege. We are committed to dismantling White Supremacy in the community and in our organization. We enact our commitment to address race in pursuit of an anti-racist society, regardless of discomfort.
PJALS is emerging as a place where leaders of color and white anti-racist leaders build skills and power together – fueling racial justice and transformations both within PJALS and in the broader Spokane community.
We understand that racism has been used to divide our communities in the interest of power elites in our country and region. And so, we pursue an intersectional analysis of the challenges we face, by looking at the intertwining nature of race, class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ability, as well as how we can act together for justice.
PJALS Policy on Standing with Victims and Survivors of Sexual Harassment and Violence
PJALS stands with victims and survivors of sexual harassment, sexual violence, and intimate partner violence. Our mission and values of engaging everyday people to build a just and nonviolent world make this position non-negotiable. We know that our PJALS community includes many people whose life experiences include sexual harassment, sexual violence, and intimate partner violence. We honor the reality that for many victims and survivors, social justice activism is part of the healing and growth process.
Since our beginning in the mid-1970s, we have made it our mission to educate the local public on nonviolence, peace, justice, and action. In our early years, from 1975 through the late 1980s, we supported Native American political prisoners and conscientious objectors, and successfully protested military funding, nuclear waste, racism, and human rights violations in Central America and elsewhere funded and supported by the US government.
The 1990s found us establishing Spokane’s first fair trade store as part of our ongoing advocating and education work around ‘free trade’ and globalization. We supported successful union organizing campaigns, including an educational forum on farm worker rights keynoting Dolores Huerta. We sponsored an annual “Compose Peace” youth essay contest for over a decade and organized statewide vigils against state executions, as well as events with regional Native Americans. In 1999, we helped win passage of and successfully defended Spokane’s Human Rights Ordinance, leading to the state-level Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
After the new millenium, we worked on establishing dialogue between Muslim and Jewish clergy in our area, and also led our region’s opposition to US military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Toward the end of the decade, we co-founded the Spokane Police Accountability and Reform Coalition working to secure true independent oversight of the police and to reform use of force protocols, practices, and attitudes – an initiative that we have continued to pursue and develop until today.
In the 2010s, we conducted campaigns like “Money for People, Not for War: Bring Our Billion$ Home,” mobilized to win freedom to marry in WA for LGBTQ+ residents, reduced employment barriers for people with conviction records, and worked toward Governor Inslee’s moratorium on the death penalty. Continuing our legacy of education, director Liz Moore became EWU’s first Activist in Residence and shared principles of nonviolence, social change organizing, and the imperative for ending mass incarceration with students.
After the 2016 elections, PJALS mobilized to host post-election discussions; support immigrants, Muslims, and refugees being targeted locally and nationally; ban warrantless ICE searches in Spokane’s public transit stations; gathered signatures opposing Trump administration military actions; and organized protests against tax grabs for the US-Mexico border wall and war on Iran.
We also launched our Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) committee and participated in launching the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, a multi-year campaign exposing the immorality of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and war economy. During the 2019 election season, our SURJ committee did community outreach and door-to-door canvassing to talk to voters about systemic racism and mass incarceration in Spokane County while gathering postcards to send to electeds. We finished off the decade with our 2019 10th annual Peace and Justice Action Conference for more than 200 members.
We started off the 2020s on an equally strong note, responding to the challenges of the pandemic by moving our program and leadership development work to virtual space through new tactics and tools including our Webinar Wednesdays and a vehicle procession for Black lives in response to the murder of George Floyd and other African Americans. We coordinated a collaborative effort involving more than 50 organizations to anticipate and prevent white nationalist escalation in the volatile period prior to the 2020 election and through inauguration. In 2021, we launched our Grassroots Organizing Workshop series to help create an intergenerational virtual space for learning and reflection on roles in social justice movements, campaigns, recruitment, approaches to change, self-care for activists, nonviolence, and other topics. We hold Nonviolent De-escalation Techniques Workshops to train peacekeepers for human rights mobilizations, including techniques and scenarios appropriate for our environment of increased white nationalist presence.
For nearly half a century of building our movement through grassroots leadership development, our Peace and Economic Justice Action Conference has become the largest leadership development and relationship-weaving gathering in the Inland Northwest. We energize & inspire grass roots activists to work together for justice.