By Fitz

Hello Peace and Justice advocates,

My name is Fitz and I have been a member of PJALS since I was a teenager and involved in the reincarnation of Young Activist Leaders Program a few years back. I’m also a performance poet locally who writes a lot about social justice and my personal connection to oppression. The annual membership meeting turnout was certainly impressive. The generational demographics that showed up are certainly a testament to PJALS’ accessibility. What especially stood out to me from the night however was the conversation around “Calling in vs. Calling out.” I had vaguely heard this term before and what Adrian and Taylor described put a name to a discomfort I had started to have in activist circles. This was the first categorically “activist” event I had attended in quite some time and lately being very much engrossed in a world outside of my typical “woke” crowd I had started to think about how to make Art that doesn’t just preach to the choir and even before that how to have tough conversations with people who had not had them before. I had started to become a lot more honest with myself in terms of when I was trying to engage someone in compassionate dialogue and when I really just wanted to yell at someone and call them names (which you know is how violence starts, which is the thing that I oppose at a fundamental level). Thanks to the discussion portion of the night I was able to start some fantastic dialogue with, in this case, other young folks about how to deal with folks that make mistakes in a way that helps create actual change and doesn’t compromise our own self care. How do we live out compassionate and nonviolent values in the way we advocate for peace and justice? I hope those of you who attended may take a few minutes out of your day to internally explore your own ideas and emotions and I hope you come to Taylor Weech’s workshop series and potentially explore your thoughts and feelings in public with other humans (including myself!).

Peace and Justice and Love and Poetry to all of you,