I have truly enjoyed my time as a PJALS Intern. I cannot imagine having done my practicum anywhere else. When other students in my cohort share their experience at their practicum sites I am surprised by stories where students feel as though their work doesn’t matter. I hear about endless intakes, “Name and date of birth please.” I have never felt like my work at PJALS didn’t matter. Often I felt like I was not the most qualified person for the job, but by working on campaigns that really matter to me I think I was able to be effective.
When I started in the fall the Spokane Police Accountability and Reform Coalition was working feverishly to empower the Office of Police Ombudsman. Sadly a new contract was approved that left Proposition 1 voters wanting more. On a more positive note Spokane has a much better Internal Affairs process in place now. Body cameras that should make excessive force complaints easier to verify have been approved. Some goals were not met, but the system is better now than it was before. I learned that changing policy requires a long attention span.
The Criminal Justice Commission released its sixty page report with recommendations many of which the Smart Justice campaign helped to write. Now the work of getting recommendations moved into actual practice has begun. It is a daunting task.
I have enjoyed every minute of the Young Activist Leaders Program (YALP). I learned a skill set that I was unaware even existed. PJALS helps the community by teaching young leaders the skills to be effective organizers.
Trying to figure out how to disengage will be the hardest part of my internship. How do I pick and choose what to still be a part of? In reality how much time will I have after I work my 40 hours a week this summer? I now know why past interns are still a apart of PJALS. It is impossible to leave.