Jamie McDanielAs my year as an intern here at PJALS comes to a close, I have truly begun to notice the impact my time here has made on me as a person and how much of this practice I have soaked up like a little social-justice sponge.

An example of this is in my final policy class at school, now my fellow students seek me out and want to work with me on projects or ask my advice on assignments and perspectives. It is extremely empowering to know that people can turn to me for help and assistance on issues that are not taught enough in our Bachelor’s of Social Work program. I have enjoyed being able to share what I have learned here with everyone around me and it has truly been a unique and enlightening experience.

My fondest memories at PJALS are mostly made up of our rallies and protests. It’s the time where we put all the taxing office work into action, taking to the streets with a purpose. I can remember my first protest for Condoleezza Rice’s visit Spokane and how nervous and excited I was to finally get to be part of something great and bigger than myself. There are not any words to describe how it felt to shout chants into the bullhorn for the very first time.

Another one of my favorite experiences that PJALS has given me was the ability to attend lobby with Northwest Death Penalty Abolition Group, Safe and Just Alternatives, and Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation. I had the opportunity to experience state politics and policy change first-hand by speaking with my legislators and offering valid arguments and insights to the use of the death penalty in Washington state. This opportunity also gave me the chance to rebound ideas and perspectives with some very educated and experienced individuals, and if you know how much of a political nerd I am then you’ll know how much that time and conversation meant to me.

Although I struggled with my internship at times, there is really no word to express how much having the opportunity to work and study at PJALS has impacted my life, it’s something you’ll to watch and see as I continue my journey as a warrior of social justice.