Have you marked your calendar for our Peace and Economic Justice Action Conference on March 18-19? Come welcome our keynote speaker, Derrick Crowe from Rethink Afghanistan to speak on our theme: Bring Our Billions Home: The Cost of War and Our Communities’ Needs. (Check out this video of Derrick connecting the dots between war spending and the cuts we are facing in our communities.)

Derrick is a five-year veteran of Capitol Hill and a trained “Creating a Culture Of peace” nonviolence facilitator. This training originated with the Fellowship of Reconciliation of which PJALS is an affiliate. His writings have been featured on the Huffington Post, Michaelmoore.com, and AlterNet. Derrick is an active member of the peace movement, motivated by his Christian beliefs barring the use of violence in conflict. He has organized vigils and participated in civil disobedience actions to call for an end of the war in Iraq.

We’re very excited that our conference will include a Student and Young Activist Panel which will speak to ways groups can be better allies and partners to youth activists and a panel to “Honor Vets by Listening to Vets,” organized by the Spokane Veterans for Peace.

Over 20 “Education for Action” workshop sessions will build the skills and deepen the analysis of participants, will be interactive rather than lecture based, and will help activists like you advance our movement for peace and justice.

In the week before leading up to the conference, we’ll be showing the documentary Rethink Afghanistan on Friday March 11 and premiering the documentary There But For the Fortune, on the life of Phil Ochs, on Sunday March 13. We’ll kick off the conference on March 18 with an evening opening reception with spoken word and musical performances at the Unitarian Universalist Church.

We are proud to co-sponsor this event with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, Spokane Vets for Peace, Spokane Progressive Democrats of America, Boundary County Peace Group, Yakima Valley Peace Advocates Network, NextUp Spokane, Eastern Washington Voters, The LGBT Center, Palouse Peace Coalition, Student Awareness League of SCC and Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation. Update: We’re delighted that UFCW 1439, Sharon Smith & Don Barbieri, Sustainable Structures, Sun People Dry Goods, Community Building Foundation, ACLU of Washington, VOICES, Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, and KYRS are also co-sponsoring our conference!

Our conference is generously hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane.