As a social work student at Eastern Washington University, I joined PJALS to gain the field experience that supplements classroom learning. With elementary awareness of privilege, oppression and social injustice, but without knowledge of the activist skill-set used to counter this oppression, I came to PJALS to develop these skills.
My time here was spent on our Palestine-Israel Human Rights Committee, Young Activist Leaders Program, and planning and promoting community events such as our annual Action Conference, Soiree fundraiser and Palestine Film Festival. These experiences offered valuable opportunities for my future social work path, wherever that may be.
I found that PJALS is unique among social work practicum settings in that it inspires the development of both skills and knowledge. I learned skills in community organizing by promoting events; I learned knowledge of current issues by attending these events. PJALS programs and events are experiences that one can equally contribute to and benefit from. Doing this “good work” as I heard it coined, the mundane tasks such as planning events, writing PSA’s, or phone banking, became exciting (or at least satisfying) when seen as beneficial to a population you care about.
Involvement with PJALS and it’s members can inspire young people to create the culture they want to see, rather than being consumers of the culture they critique. Thanks to all the PJALS folks who added to the richness of these experiences by taking time to share their knowledge and passions with me! I will be spending this next year teaching English abroad but I hope that, in typical PJALS intern fashion, I will stay connected in your lives and your work for some time to come.