Since 2018, PJALS members who are active in the Peace and Justice Action Committee have been connected with a national advocacy network with over 130 teams working together on the social ills that PJALS has been working on for years. This network is a program of the “Friends Committee for National Legislation” (FCNL).

When it comes to national issues like unnecessary wars and spending, it helps to have all of the teams working together to form a bigger engine that can move issues like pushing to revoke authorizations for the use of military force (AUMFs), creating peace in Yemen, and, especially now, advocating that money poured into the U.S. defense budget be channeled into peacebuilding projects instead.

The FCNL advocacy team network concentrates on one issue each year, but individual teams (like our committee) may work on additional issues. Within each FCNL chapter, each team member can play an important role, whether it’s team leader, a contact to a specific state or national representative’s office, or a communicator to relay information from national FCNL calls to the rest of the team. The national call happens monthly and is a time for all of the teams to share ideas and successes from across the country, as well as meet contacts from Congress who are working with us.

Please celebrate with us in our successful meeting with Senator Cantwell’s office! FCNL chapters from the state of Washington recently combined to have a lobby visit with the National Senate Office of Senator Maria Cantwell. The Spokane PJAC committee was joined on the Zoom call by participants from Seattle, Tacoma, SW Washington, the Puget Sound, and the San Juan Islands. The goal was to ask Senator Cantwell to support funding for Peacebuilding initiatives around the world, adding a total of $131 million in the national budget to create opportunities to fund programs that bring warring factions together to diffuse war efforts. The end result is that Senator Cantwell is now committed to supporting the funding of these initiatives.

This funding is important as conflicts rage on in Yemen and elsewhere worldwide. We will continue to work to ensure that our representatives understand that we need money to go to peacebuilding, not warmongering. If this interests you, you may find more information on the PJALS website about getting involved and joining our meetings on the second Tuesday of every month.