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Jac Archer (they/them/theirs) took the position of Organizer for the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane in November 2021. Jac moved to the Spokane area in 2013 where they work as an activist, community organizer, and educator in the fields of diversity, equity, civic engagement, and sexuality. Jac has delivered lectures and training workshops throughout the community, including Whitworth University and Eastern Washington University.
Jac serves on the Steering Committee of Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR), as a Spokane Human Rights Commissioner, a Washington State LGBTQ Commissioner, and on the Spectrum Spokane Board.
Jac has a passion for community organizing, institutional policy and making difficult concepts easily accessible. They also enjoy writing, singing, performance, and podcasts.
Sarah (she/her) is a Junior at Lewis and Clark High School. She got involved with the Young Activists Leaders Program (YALP) in January of 2019 and then went on to graduate from the program in June of that year. In October of 2019, she was brought on staff and has been running the program since as one of the youth organizers.
Through navigating the field of digital organizing during the pandemic, Sarah has built connections through YALP and school, focused on youth advocacy in an interracial, intergenerational setting. She continues to learn about community organizing and antiracism through the PJALS members and staff, as well as the broader Spokane community.
Sarah enjoys playing volleyball, being in the LC band, spending time with her family, and being an organizer.
Shar (they/she) received their BASW with a minor in Africana Education from EWU in June 2010. Following an internship and a year as an AmeriCorps/VISTA volunteer with PJALS, Shar joined the PJALS staff as Organizer in 2011. Shar was first introduced to PJALS in 2006 when the human rights club at SCC that she was involved with co-sponsored a death penalty awareness event with PJALS. That event directly led to Shar’s commitment to work on social justice issues. Shar moved into the Development Director position in 2020.
Bex (they/them/theirs) recently earned their Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from George Washington University with a focus on global health, social determinants of health, social behavioral theory, and health communication strategies. They design, implement, and manage social media campaigns for PJALS to engage our community in the work we are doing. Bex also works within the Spokane community in other capacities, including serving on the Board of Directors of Greater Spokane Progress (GSP) and Greater Spokane Action (GSA). With their MPH, Bex looks to develop community health programming for impacted and historically marginalized groups using community-based participatory research techniques and racial equity and intersectional lenses.
Liz (she/her) began her activism in PJALS’ youth group as a Deer Park high school student after looking up “peace” in the phone book. She worked as an organizer and educator in unions and community groups on issues including marriage equality, racial justice, and worker rights before returning to the organization that helped shape and define her work as a young activist. She is passionate about grassroots leadership development and supporting youth as leaders. In all that she does, Liz holds fast to the belief that everyday people have the power to build a just and nonviolent world. Liz has acted as PJALS director since 2009.
Bill (he/him) is deeply involved in social and environmental justice work with a particular focus on agricultural sustainability and social healing. With Tools for Change, he has been providing consulting, facilitation, mediation, and training services for over 25 years. Versed in opening the imagination, awakening people’s best thinking and inspiring group transformation, Bill works with group reflection to unleash collective genius in organizational settings. A former manager in the non-profit and information technology worlds, he co-founded Riseup.net to build computer-based communications networks for activists. Bill has developed accessible networking tools and trainings in social analysis and use of the web for community organizing, empowering individuals who traditionally have not had access to these tools. Currently he works with his wife, Elle McSharry, in a project called Dream Transformation. Bill is a member of PJALS’ Fundraising and Sustainability Committee.
Naghmana (she/her) moved to Spokane in 2012 with her son. Coming from a bustling metropolis like Houston with its varied and diverse micro-cultural communities, she finds it interesting to see people’s reactions when they met her or her son in Spokane. She welcomes any questions about her faith, culture, ethnicity, race, language, and education. She has so far loved living in Spokane with its four seasons and unique landscape. Originally from Karachi, Pakistan, she has had the good fortune of travelling since an early, and has been educated on four different continents, and considers herself a global citizen. Naghmana is an active member of the Spokane Islamic Center, Spokane Women Together, Muslims for Community Action and Support, Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Spokane, and other organizations. Naghmana was the co-chair of No Discrimination Spokane, the coalition that defeated the anti-immigrant profiling initiative in 2017.
Michaela (she/her) is a deeply curious, over-thinking, heart-in-hand lover of people and history. Her background in collective impact organizing and commitment to advancing a world where everyone belongs has led her to serve in many community capacities focused on advancing individual and collective learning around diversity, equity, and inclusion (which includes her role as the Director of Community Learning for Excelerate Success, an education equity partnership, and in her roles as a race equity facilitator). Her formal education in history and leadership studies combined with her passion for multi-cultural education, identity development, and community healing has brought her to the JustLead Team ready to grow with and cheer on change makers across Washington state.
As a multi-racial woman, Michaela finds power in the ability to hold the complexities of our interconnected lives and leans on the mantra by adrienne maree brown: “Where we are born into privilege we are charged to unlearn any myth of supremacy, where we are born into struggle, we are charged with claiming or dignity, joy and liberation.” Emboldened by the brilliance of our ancestors as well as modern revolutionaries, Michaela in her wholeness seeks to cultivate learning spaces that are relational and transformative.
Ayaka (she/her) graduated from Gonzaga University in 2013 and from PJALS’ Young Activist Leaders Program in 2016. She is the Director for Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Whitworth University. Ayaka is a member of PJALS’ Fundraising and Sustainability Committee.
Gian (he/him) became a part of the PJALS community in 2017 through YALP. Since then, he’s been a part of the SURJ committee, Fundraising & Sustainability Committee, and had the privilege of peacekeeping at multiple community events. Gian interned with PJALS in the summer of 2020 while earning his BA in Peace Studies at Whitworth University. While at Whitworth, he served as the Treasurer of Whitworth’s Planned Parenthood Generation Action club for two years and was a student athlete on Whitworth’s Cheer Team. Graduating in 2021, Gian is currently working for a local law firm that helps people with disabilities apply for social security disability benefits. In his free time, he loves to listen to audiobooks, (slowly) walk his adorable elderly dog, and catch up with friends.
Yasi (she/her) is a graduate of the University of Washington, having received her PhD in 2018. Her scholarship focuses on ethics and totalitarian regimes, making her eager to talk at length about fascism and anti-fascist movements. She moved to Spokane two years ago to teach at Gonzaga.
Heather (she/her) is a Senior Program Manager of Equity and Engagement at Better Health Together. As an unabashed feminist and social justice warrior, Heather is especially interested in social and economic policies that recognize the unpaid labor of women in society and eliminating the ways in which power and violence are used against women. Heather has previously worked in the fields of child advocacy and a restorative justice juvenile corrections program. Heather has degrees in Sociology from Whitman College and a Master’s in Communication and Leadership studies with research in community dialogue from Gonzaga. has lived in all the Pacific Northwest states and moved back to Spokane in 2002 with her three daughters. In 2020 she welcomed a granddaughter to the family—the newest feminist to take on the world! In her free time, Heather loves to travel around the world learning about other cultures and food, reading and writing. Heather is a member of the Fundraising and Sustainability Committee.
Sally (she/her) is a professor emerita from Eastern Washington University. She has lived in Spokane since 1983 and has been involved in social justice activities for many years, through the Central America Solidarity Association in the 1980s and later through PJALS. Sally was the director of Women’s and Gender Studies at EWU until her retirement in 2018. With other faculty and staff, she co-founded the Activist in Residence Program at EWU, which is designed to help students get involved in activism and community organizing. Sally is a member of the Fundraising and Sustainability Committee.
Jasper Zillmer (he/him, they/them) is a local artist and activist focused on change. A graduate of PJALS’ Young Activist Leaders Program in 2014, and a participant in Odyssey Youth Center’s youth leadership board, 2012-2014, he loves discussing different ideas, viewpoints, and courses of action. He was also a member of the GSA network of the greater Spokane area, in 2014, helping to establish safe spaces in schools for lgbtq youth. Born and raised in Spokane, he is focused on giving back, creating sustainable change, and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. He enjoys spending his time reading, writing at home, or taking pictures, with or without his many animal friends.