Smart Justice Campaign: Ban the Box Win!
The Smart Justice Campaign just had a win! On August 4th, Spokane Mayor David Condon publicly asked the Civil Service to remove the box asking about criminal convictions from city employment applications, and that his administration will make changes to the process for conducting criminal background checks. This announcement comes after Council President Ben Stuckart and Spokane City Council Member Jon Snyder led on this issue by sending a letter to the City’s Civil Service Chief Examiner requesting that they ban the box.
Spokesman-Review wrote a great editorial in support making the connection that reducing barriers to employment for people with criminal records part of implementing smart justice.
This announcement is an important first step in creating fairer opportunities for people with criminal convictions to find employment and move forward. Our thanks and appreciation to Council Member Jon Snyder, Council President Ben Stuckart, and Mayor David Condon. Read more »
We need you!
PJALS Inland NW Death Penalty Abolition Group (INDPAG) is busy gearing up for the legislative session and a push for legislative repeal of the death penalty. In addition to civic engagement, we seek to increase member engagement, public awareness, and participation from the local faith communities. We need you to help advance our work! Here are a few ways you can get involved and make a difference:
Attend a house gathering in your legislative district. In Sept. we have wonderful PJALS members in the 3rd, 4th, and 6th legislatives districts who are hosting gatherings in their homes. These gatherings will provide a great opportunity to meet other folks passionate about this work, learn more about our work and ways to make a difference. Will you join us at one of these lovely gatherings?
Invite our faith panel to speak to your congregation. We want to build upon and strengthen our relationship with the progressive faith community in Spokane while building capacity in Eastern Washington for our work to repeal the death penalty. Are you a member or pastor of a church that would like to host our panel for a discussion on the issue?
Be a part of planning our work. INDPAG meets on the 2nd and 4th Wed. of each month at 5:30pm in the Community Bldg. 35 W. Main. Do you have ideas on how to advance our work, an interest in planning, or a desire to get more involved?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, please contact Shar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-838-7870.
US fighter jets have begun airstrikes on Iraq and bombs are falling. Here’s some informative coverage from Democracy Now featuring Phyllis Bennis.
What can you do? Here are 6 things we can do together!
1 Call the White House at 202-456-1111 to say: Don’t Bomb Iraq! There is no military solution. Instead, prevent further humanitarian crisis with aid. No new Iraq war!
2 Call our own representatives to urge them to speak out against military intervention in Iraq! A strong reaction from Congress now could put the brakes on the intervention and prevent an escalating involvement.
- Senator Patty Murray: 624-9515
- Senator Maria Cantwell: 353-2507
- Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers: 353-2374 — thank her for voting to require Congressional authorization!
5 Join our Rapid Response “No War on Iraq!” on Tuesday Aug 12 at the Riverfront Park Fountain!
From 4:45 to 6:15, we’ll hold signs and share fliers along Spokane Falls Blvd and at Stevens and Washington, to make our opposition visible, share information, and encourage others to act.
6 Get your very own No War sign for your lawn or window!
Come pick one up from the Sign Table in our hallway at 35 W. Main, now available 10a-5p Monday through Saturday whether we’re here or not. We’ll also bring signs to take home from our Rapid Response rally. H-frame wire stands are available too. We suggest a $5 donation but the most important thing is to get these signs visible in every neighborhood!
People like you turned the tide against US war on Syria. Let’s put the pressure on, right now, to say no to war on Iraq again as well!
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world!” — Howard Zinn, people’s historian
Volunteer Bookkeeping Assistant Wanted!
We’re seeking new members of our volunteer financial team!
We need volunteers to work with our wonderful current volunteer interim Treasurer and bookkeeper, Mike Nuess. Duties include tasks like tracking donations and expenses in Quickbooks, issuing checks to vendors, reconciling bank statements, filing various reports and information with the state, completing annual IRS reporting, and helping with monthly reports to the PJALS Steering Committee. You only need high school math skills and comfort with computers.
Bookkeeping Assistant, Bookkeeper, Treasurer, or CPA — help power our work for peace and justice!
Please email Liz Moore at lmoore (at) pjals (dot) org or call 838-7870 for more information!
Actions & Resources for Peace in Israel & Palestine, Iraq, and Transparency in US Drone Targetting
Sen. Murray: 624-9515
Sen. Cantwell: 353-2507
Rep. McMorris Rodgers: 353-2374
Tell them: We have to build a better world for all our kids, and it has to start with each of us. Elected leaders must hear our demands that our money be spent to create true peace with justice, not to send more missiles or drones around the world. End drone use. End US war, occupation, and military aid in Iraq & Afghanistan. End military aid to Israel.
Special message for Senator Murray: “Please tell the senator to vote against the additional funding to Israel in TODAY’s Defense Appropriations bill, especially since Israel is massacring people in Gaza right now.”
Jewish Voice for Peace: Join the 64,000 who’ve signed our Open Letter telling Israeli leaders to stop killing civilians.
Just Foreign Policy: Urge President Obama and your representatives in Congress to demand that Israel refrain from bombing Wafa Hospital and other medical facilities in Gaza protected by international humanitarian law by signing our petition at MoveOn.
Avaaz: As a new round of violence kicks off in Israel-Palestine and more children are killed, it’s time to take definitive non-violent action to end this nightmare. Our governments and companies have continued to aid, trade and invest in the status quo, but we can stop this cycle of violence if we call on key banks, pension funds and businesses to pull out their investments — add your voice now.
United for Peace & Justice: Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Barbara Lee (D-CA) have just introduced House Concurrent Resolution # 105, a privileged resolution under the War Powers Resolution that will force a debate and vote on U.S. military intervention in Iraq. It will come up for a debate and vote within fifteen days of the date in which it was filed. Call Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers now at 353-2374 to ask her to co-sponsor.
CREDO: Sign the petition: Demand transparency on U.S. drone strike targets: According to a number of civil and human rights groups, drone warfare has led to hundreds of civilian deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia – and a possible violation of international law. We want the government to name who it has killed with U.S. drones, where, and why, including an explanation of the legal authority and evidence supporting each of those killings.
Information & Resources:
“There’s No Voice Like Your Voice!” Smart Justice PhotoVoice project
PJALS is teaming up with Smart Justice Spokane and I Did The Time to invite you or other folks who’ve experienced the realities of our criminal justice system to tell your own story ! Will you share your experience with law enforcement, courts, and/or jail by joining our Smart Justice PhotoVoice Project? Or, will you invite someone you know?
Smart Justice Spokane is a broad, diverse coalition of more than 30 organizations, community members,and criminal justice professionals who have come together to reform our expensive, ineffective, and unfair criminal justice system. Instead of warehousing members of our community in jail, who pose no danger to our neighborhoods, we are urging our elected officials to spend our tax dollars on proven programs that are fiscally responsible, reduce crime, and create a strong and healthy community. PJALS is a proud member of Smart Justice Spokane.
Our Smart Justice PhotoVoice Project aims to answer the question: “How does your experience with the criminal justice system show that the system is not working, or how does your experience provide a unique example of how it could be done differently?” The Project is open to folks with direct system experience or their family members. Our PhotoVoice Project is a 5-7 month commitment–come learn more!
“There’s No Voice Like Your Voice”
Come join us to learn more about this exciting PhotoVoice project.
Wednesday July 16, 2014, 6:00 pm
Community Building’s mezzanine conference room, 35 W. Main
Please RSVP to Liz Moore: email@example.com or 838-7870
Facilitated by Heather Wallace, Communications Specialist. Project Sponsored by Smart Justice Spokane, PJALS, and I Did the Time. Read more »
Stop the Spiral of Violence: End the Endless Wars!
End these endless wars! End US war, occupation, and military aid in Iraq and in Afghanistan. End military aid to Israel. End the drones in Pakistan, Yemen, and everywhere. Let us say together with Dr. King: The choice today is nonviolence or nonexistence! Violence is the weapon of the weak. Enough! Quit the bomb. Quit the drone. Quit the missile. Be creative and innovative: take concrete actions to build peace with justice. Choose systemic nonviolence. Build the nonviolence complex. Fund nonviolence. Teach nonviolence. Recruit in every school for nonviolence. Develop shocking advances in nonviolence.”
Gather at the Fountain in Riverfront Park at 5:15pm Thursday June 17th. We will have a couple of powerful speakers before we march at 5:45pm to the offices of Sen. Murray and Rep. McMorris Rodgers at the Peyton Bldg on Post, then back down Wall to the Fountain. We will have speakers at the Peyton Bldg. and to conclude our time together at the Fountain.
List of speakers (in progress):
Pastor Deb Conklin on the power of restorative justice as a model for truth and reconciliation to build true peace with justice.
Taylor Weech, member of our PJALS Steering Committee and our Palestine-Israel Human Rights Committee, on the US-funded attack on Gaza and concrete steps we can take to show our solidarity with Gaza and Palestine in general.
Tara Williamson, co-chair of our Peace & Justice Action Committee, on child development and the reality of toddlers with PTSD from US wars
Rev. Todd Ekloff, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane
What’s in your window?
You too can show your values in your window! Peace is deep patriotism in action.
Don’t Bomb Iraq
It’s hard to conceive, but it’s time again to stand up together to say NO to US war on Iraq!
Here and all over the country, everyday people stood together in September against US military intervention in Syria, and though headlines predicted imminent bombing, we changed the story with our calls and our protests. Let’s do it again!
Let’s call, let’s sign, and let’s gather together to tell our elected leaders loud and clear: “American bombs or military force are not the answers to a crisis in need of a diplomatic solution. No US military action in Iraq, including air strikes.”
1. Call President Obama at 202-456-1111
2. Call Senator Patty Murray at (202) 224-2621 or (509) 624-9515
3. Call Senator Maria Cantwell at (202) 224-3441 or (509) 353-2507
4. Call Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers at (202) 225-2006 or (509) 353-2374
Stand with PJALS members this Thursday!
“No Going Back! Don’t Bomb Iraq!”
Bring your friends and come wave signs as we show what we believe in! We must end this perpetual war mentality! We’re standing up to pro-war extremists to make our voices count! Share this facebook event & invite your friends! Bring signs or use ours.
Thursday June 19, 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
at the Ruby/Division Y at North River Drive, by Wendy’s and the old Comp USA building
As the situation in Iraq deteriorates, the “Never Learn” caucus is demanding US military intervention in the form of ground troops, air strikes, Special Operations and weapons deliveries. The unfolding tragedy in Iraq is a direct consequence of the illegal American invasion and occupation of that country. The least helpful idea is for the United States to involve itself militarily in Iraq or Syria. US military intervention, whether directly or by providing arms, will increase the suffering of people in those countries and enhance the risk of a wider regional conflict.
This coming week the House of Representatives is set to pass a $571 billion Defense Appropriations bill. So long as our oversized military eclipses our domestic needs and the United States spends more money on warfare than the next eight countries combined, military action will continue to be the default response to international crisis. Too many members of Congress claim to oppose war and then quietly pass outlandish military budgets.
For more or to share, here are some resources:
- David Cortright: Diplomacy Not More Arms Needed in Iraq and Syria
- Professor Juan Cole on Democracy Now today: Mass Sunni Uprising Forces Iraq to Confront Sectarian Blowback of 2003 U.S. Invasion
PJALS Benefit Auction & Spring Soiree
Enjoy a fun evening with friends, family, and like-minded folks
as we celebrate our work together for
peace, justice and human rights!
Friday, June 6th, Doors open at 5 pm
St. John’s Cathedral, 127 East 12th Avenue, Spokane
- Fabulous food to tempt your taste buds with something for every palate, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options
- Dessert Dash with incredible gourmet desserts to indulge in
- Auction items include cabin getaways for every budget, catered dinners, local artisan wares, neighborhood packages, and fun, unique experiences
Plenty of free parking!
Buy a ticket, bring a friend or buy a whole table and bring lots of friends! You won’t want to miss the fun.
Tickets: Regular Price: $20
Or Host: Table of 10: $200
Our Live Auction features…
A). Downtown Music & Morsels
Enjoy an evening of the Spokane Symphony and Downtown dining. Two tickets to a Spokane Symphony Classics Concert of your choice and a $75 gift certificate to Wild Sage
B). Sandpoint Getaway Package
Gift Certificate for Two tickets to concert of choice at The Festival in Sandpoint (subject to availability for a Thursday or Sunday Show August 7-17) and Gift Certificate for Two at The Floating Restaurant at Pend Oreille Shores.
C). Steering Committee Washington Wine Rack
Greenophile bamboo wine rack with assortment of Washington Wines from PJALS Steering Committee members.
D). Rustic Cle Elum Cabin Getaway
Get away to the Cle Elum River for a weekend in a rustic cabin. Two nights. No electricity. Outhouse. Sleeps 4-6.
E). Dinner and Bird Watching on the Little Spokane River
Dinner for 4 on the banks of the beautiful Little Spokane River at the Haggins’ Farm, with optional bird watching or swimming.
F). Enjoy Dinner and Beer Tasting at Spokane’s Newest Venue!
Mediterrano 5-course dinner for 4 with Black Label Brewery Beer
Never before available in Spokane! Shahrokh Nikfar will lovingly and creatively prepare a 5-course dinner for four in his just-opened restaurant and coffeehouse Mediterrano, accompanied by beer pairings from Black Label Brewery. **Note: both Mediterrano and Black Label Brewery set to open in July at the new Saranac Commons, 19 W. Main**
G). Rustic Diamond Lake Getaway
Enjoy a weekend getaway to Diamond Lake. Trailer (sleeps 3) and tree house (sleeps 2-3) with Diamond Lake Beach access. Canoe and Kayak available for use. Two nights. No running water, port-a-potty toilet, electricity available. Donated by Louise Chadez. **Fourth of July weekend not available**
H). Cabin getaway to Echo Lake, Montana
Enjoy 5 days and 4 nights at a comfortable lakeside home on peaceful Echo Lake in NW Montana. Just north of Bigfork, 45 miles from Glacier Park, close to the magnificent Bob Marshall Wilderness area and the Jewell Basin. Also close to Whitefish, Kalispell and much more. Swimming, hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, napping, reading, shopping, museums, theater, fine dining, and much more. Comfortably sleeps 8 adults. No pets. Donated by Cly Evans.
I). Lunch with Lisa Brown
Enjoy lunch for two with longtime PJALS member, former Washington State Senate Majority Leader, and Chancellor of WSU Spokane, Lisa Brown. Includes two WSU mugs and cappuccino mix.
J). Catered meal and music with the Averys
Dale and Nancy Avery will host an “intimate” musical event at their home for up to 12 guests, food, wine, beer, and delightful acoustic musical experience with one of the most unique and talented musicians in the Northwest, Dan Gore. **Summer or Fall date to be determined**
K). Dinner with the Nelsons
Enjoy a 4-course dinner and conversation with former PJALS Directors, Rusty & Nancy Nelson, in their lovely strawbale-construction Rockford view home (with optional night’s stay).
L). Stained Glass
Tiffany-style stained glass window.
M). Lunch with Rev. Todd Eklof
Feed your body, mind, and spirit! Enjoy lunch and great conversation with Rev. Todd Eklof of the Unitarian Universalist Church, along with a guest of your choice.
N). Browne’s Addition Getaway
Get away right here in town! Leave your workaday cares behind and enjoy a dinner at Gordy’s with a $25 gift certificate and a night at Odell House Bed & Breakfast in Browne’s Addition! **Note: B&B not available Hoopfest weekend.
O). Handmade Baby Quilt
A beautiful quilt for a beautiful baby! Handmade comfy and colorful crib-size quilt by longtime PJALS member, Marianne Torres.
P). Enjoy a season of local theatre at Interplayers
One 2014-2015 Season Subscription to Interplayers.
Q). Enjoy a summer evening of baseball!
Four upper box ticket to a Spokane Indians regular season baseball game.
Year of Youth!
PJALS members like you supported youth as leaders for justice in three ways this year!
Congrats to the graduating YALPistas of 2014! Our Young Activist Leaders Program offers passionate youth leaders ways to strengthen their own youth-led groups. Hear from YALPistas Vitamin J, Amy, and Sevan!
Teaching as the first-ever EWU Activist in Residence, PJALS’ Liz Moore reached over 140 students with nonviolence & social justice. Pics here!
Write, Tinker, Abolish
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
By the time I wrote my first editorial about the death penalty, Nancy had produced several articles, including a commentary in the Spokesman Review, but Washington had not yet killed Dodd and Campbell. Lethal injection was catching on, but Nevada had resumed executions with a firing squad, Florida electrocuted a man whose crime would have been self-defense if he had not been gay, and Washington was dusting off its gallows. If I had been better organized and more careful, I could compile a book from our experiences, observations and opinions on state killings. And I have a lot more to say. More than I’ll try to cram into this space.
To paraphrase Einstein, everything’s changed about executions in the U.S. but the way we think about them. Two recent developments should affect the way Americans think about capital punishment, but thinking doesn’t change easily. Read more »
Dom Felix: “Impossible to Leave”
I have truly enjoyed my time as a PJALS Intern. I cannot imagine having done my practicum anywhere else. When other students in my cohort share their experience at their practicum sites I am surprised by stories where students feel as though their work doesn’t matter. I hear about endless intakes, “Name and date of birth please.” I have never felt like my work at PJALS didn’t matter. Often I felt like I was not the most qualified person for the job, but by working on campaigns that really matter to me I think I was able to be effective.
When I started in the fall the Spokane Police Accountability and Reform Coalition was working feverishly to empower the Office of Police Ombudsman. Sadly a new contract was approved that left Proposition 1 voters wanting more. On a more positive note Spokane has a much better Internal Affairs process in place now. Body cameras that should make excessive force complaints easier to verify have been approved. Some goals were not met, but the system is better now than it was before. I learned that changing policy requires a long attention span. Read more »
Marching for Immigration Reform
Jeremiah Manes and YALP alum Molly Ftizpatrick carry the PJALS banner at the May 1 2014 march for Immigration Reform. PJALS Organizer Shar Lichty and member Mark Hamlin offered a Peacekeeper training for MEChA de EWU members who organized the event.
Jeremiah Manes: “Creating the Culture We Want to See”
As a social work student at Eastern Washington University, I joined PJALS to gain the field experience that supplements classroom learning. With elementary awareness of privilege, oppression and social injustice, but without knowledge of the activist skill-set used to counter this oppression, I came to PJALS to develop these skills.
My time here was spent on our Palestine-Israel Human Rights Committee, Young Activist Leaders Program, and planning and promoting community events such as our annual Action Conference, Soiree fundraiser and Palestine Film Festival. These experiences offered valuable opportunities for my future social work path, wherever that may be. Read more »
Activist in Residence: PJALS reaching EWU students on campus
Over 200 students learned about PJALS, social justice campaigns, being allies to each other, nonviolence, and more through workshops & class presentations by PJALS director Liz Moore.
Participants who completed all 4 Activist in Residence workshops received certificates in Social Justice Leadership.
Truth in Recruitment: a letter from Veterans for Peace member George Taylor
Dear concerned citizens,
Truth in Recruiting is a nationwide educational program sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Society of Friends, the War Resistance League and many other national groups. It is an informational vehicle designed to present a more accurate and truthful presentation about enlistment into all branches of the armed forces: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine. This program seeks to expose the information that most official recruiters for the armed services keep quietly to themselves: Information like the extreme suicide and sexual assault rates in the military; or that 40 percent of recruits who enlist in the military today will not complete their full term of service.
The Veterans for Peace, chapter 35 in Spokane, has also created its own Truth in Recruiting program. It maintains that students in the public school system, as well as their parents and teachers, deserve the right to be presented with all of the accurate and truthful information about armed forces enlistment in order to make the most informed choices regarding their future. Read more »
Smart Justice Campaign Update: New Law & Justice Council for Spokane
On May 6, the Spokane County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to create a Law and Justice Council to coordinate a regional criminal justice system. The Spokesman Review article about the vote is here. Both the Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission’s Blueprint for Reform and our Smart Justice Campaign recommended creating a Law and Justice Council, so this is a step forward.
Now, the County Commissioners need to hear from you! This is an important time to thank them and share your support for Smart Justice Campaign recommendations going forward.
The success of the Law and Justice Council is going to ride on the make up of the Law and Justice Council, AND on the engagement of the public in informing the Council’s work with stories and expertise, and holding our elected officials accountable to make sure that the Council’s top priority is implementing smart justice.
Will you take a minute to contact the Spokane County Board of Commissioners? Please thank them for their leadership in creating the Law and Justice Council, and make the following four recommendations: Read more »
US Militarism and the girls of Nigeria
by Liz Moore
More than two hundred girls kidnapped in Nigeria have caught the sympathy of many in the West, and that attention has helped to prompt US military aid as part of the effort to rescue them.
It started as a simple #BringBackOurGirls call gaining amplification on social media. Then came the names of the girls, which I and others re-posted as a way of making more specific and more powerful our call for their return. And then, wiser people pointed out that listing the girls’ names puts them in greater danger in the future and violates their right to decide whether or not to be public about their experience. I had to pause my urge to help to learn whether my actions were actually helpful or harmful.
The world clamor, led by protests by parents in Nigeria, led to greater attention and some international response. The US government response, of course, was to offer “counter-terrorism assistance.”
Let us pause again to see if our offer of help is actually helpful. Read more »
Wanted: people who care about police accountability!
by Dom Felix
A huge opportunity to improve police accountability in Spokane is available. The City is taking applications for the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission. This commission is responsible for appointing, reappointing or potentially removing the Ombudsman, helping the OPO in communicating with Spokane’s diverse communities, preparing and presenting annual reports, and much more. The deadline to apply is June 6th. We need people that care about police accountability to fill these positions. We need people like you.
Application downloadable (pdf) here.
Mothers’ Day Proclamation: Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870
Mother’s Day was originally started after the Civil War, as a protest to the carnage of that war, by women who had lost their sons. Here is the original Mother’s Day Proclamation from 1870.
ARISE, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!
Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of
Julia Ward Howe
Immigration Reform Now!
Out of the Shadows: Palestine Film Festival
Bringing Palestine out of the shadows! Help us reach beyond “the choir” to bring a new awareness to folks who might never attend an educational event about Palestine. We need to raise $1200 to do this in April.
Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane is partnering with the Arab Culture Club of Spokane Community College to present our Palestine Film Festival, and we’re asking for your help. We’ve chosen films with broad appeal: hip-hop for young folks and music lovers, a beautiful film about an African-American gospel in a Palestinian play about Martin Luther King Jr., and more.
Can you help? Every dollar you contribute will help us get this issue before a broader public, and that, as we all know, is critical to finding a just resolution to the struggle and to ending the suffering there.
You can donate with credit card or Pay Pal by clicking the button on this page, or you can send a check to:
Film Festival – Peace and Justice Action League at 35 W. Main Spokane, WA 99201.
The film festival will be held at Spokane Community College at Mission and Greene. See film descriptions for specific location. Suggested donation of $10 and students are free. All films show at 7pm.
The festival will debut with Slingshot Hip-Hop on Wednesday, April 9th in the Hagan building at Spokane Community College, building number 16. This film braids together the stories of young Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel as they discover Hip Hop and employ it as a tool to surmount divisions imposed by occupation and poverty. From internal checkpoints and Separation Walls to gender norms and generational differences, this is the story of young people crossing the borders that separate them.
For more information on Slingshot Hip-Hop click here.
Meet the Young Activist Leaders!
Monday March 24, 2014, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm
Community Building Lobby, 35 W. Main
Light refreshments, networking, & inspiring program
Come meet the active, passionate young people of PJALS’ Young Activist Leaders Program—working for lgbtq equality, criminal justice reform, economic justice, and much more! Come. Chat! Nosh. And engage with passionate & inspiring young leaders!
WA Governor Inslee Declares Moratorium on Death Penalty
Governor Inslee’s action in issuing a moratorium on the death penalty was a necessary step toward “equal justice under the law” which we agree should be the state’s primary responsibility. We thank the Governor for his leadership and courage with this action which has increased conversation on this important issue. We look forward to working with the Legislature to bring a bill to the Governor’s desk to fully repeal the death penalty in Washington State.
—statement from PJALS and Inland NW Death Penalty Abolition Group
A Time for Celebration!
by Shar Lichty
On Tuesday, Feb. 11th as the news of Governor Inslee’s moratorium on the death penalty reached me, I found my eyes welling up with tears of joy. While I knew there was a possibility this historical moment would come, I was completely unprepared for the announcement and the emotions it would evoke on that morning. Somewhat overwhelmed with joy, relief, and hope I scrambled to spread the good news to the amazing folks I am honored to work with on this issue, the members of the Inland NW Death Penalty Abolition Group (INDPAG). INDPAG is an affinity group of PJALS which was formed 30 years ago by Rusty & Nancy Nelson. Read more »
Commemoration of What?
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
Veterans for Peace is such a tonic for me that it seems almost unthinkable there could be sharp divisions among its members and chapters. I remember the thrill of solidarity at the national convention in Seattle a few years ago and affirmation from Spokane vets who attended subsequent conventions. I loved being with Western Washington members last November in Auburn, and in Tacoma in February, not to mention planning, laughing, and solving global problems with our local members.
What disharmony could exist among veterans who agree that war should be abolished as our default foreign policy and that our leaders should be accountable for the devastating costs of war? Alright. That’s a silly question for anyone who’s spent years working in peace and justice organizations. Peace mongers come in all imaginable types. In fact, it was reassuring to hear VFP leaders talk, at our Tacoma conference, about recent internal squabbles, because they involve disagreements which allow for constructive discourse and encourage independent points of view.
As one who joined VFP about the time I started working for PJALS, I was not drawn to the regional conference to be enlightened by workshops, but to be part of the community-building for our chapter as well as among state-wide chapters. Feeling some success in that, I was caught off guard by one workshop: “Vietnam Commemoration.” Read more »
Young Activist Leaders: Building Our Boldness
by Jeremiah Manes
The Young Activist Leaders Program benefits those of us involved on so many levels. As a member of this program I can say that learning in connection with a small and committed group of young people provides an environment well suited to build our boldness, sense of camaraderie, and desire to create change.
The Young Activist Leaders Program effectively provides skills for activism in workshops and context for necessity of action during retreats. Young people who may feel disenfranchised from the problems they face will gain a more in-depth understanding of oppression and will be able to personalize an effective plan of action on an issue of importance.
Specifically, we have learned successful speaking skills for motivating people to action, facilitating meetings, and building campaigns. We’ve also learned community-specific ways to mobilize allies in Spokane. And always we are provided with written resources that will be valuable in future campaign planning.
I encourage any young person who is feeling immobilized, in a rut or lacking resources, to join next year’s program and be a part of the energizing group process at YALP!
Moving Forward With a New Police Contract in Spokane
by Dom Felix
One year after voters passed amended the City Charter to mandate independent investigation authority by the Office of Police Ombudsman (OPO), City Council approved a contract between the city of Spokane and the Police Guild, along with an accompanying ordinance, that severely limits when or even if the Ombudsman will have that power. Read more »
Time to Act Against Drones
by Bobby Kirl
Remember drones? The President, in his lengthy State of the Union Address last month, gave a mere three sentences to one of the most pressing issues of our age. He mentioned the word drone only once. For many of us this is not only a snub that fell far short of calling for the necessary action to put an end to the immoral use of these terrible machines, it is outright indifference to the suffering of those who his drone policies have affected so terribly.
An international call for Spring Days of Action — 2014 is ringing out across the social airwaves. This coordinated grassroots campaign, supported by a litany of activist groups and individuals of conscience, is being held this April and May. The campaign is simple in its concept, but bold in its purpose. It aims to encourage activists around the world to join in consolidated effort for a common set of goals; winning passage of local laws that prohibit drones and drone surveillance; keeping drones from being used in our communities; and seeking national laws to bar the use of weaponized drones and drone surveillance. This campaign has the potential to be a massive coalition for human rights. Read more »
Solidarity with El Salvador
Hermanas Spokane and Camp Salvador Counselors are raising money for the library of Huisisilapa:
Dinner and Auction: Saturday, March 8, at The Community School 1300 W. Knox. Tickets: $10 (a donation accepted for families). Doors open at 5:00 pm; 6:00 pm Live auction; 6:15 pm Program.
Huisisilapa (we-si-si-la-pa) is a community of former refugees from Mesa Grande in Honduras as a result of the Salvadoran Civil War. The last refugees to repopulate El Salvador from the refugee camp went to an area known as Huisisilapa (Huisi). The area was pastor land without as much as one outbuilding and of course no infrastructure.
The people arrived in Huisi April 1, 1992, to begin rebuilding their lives. They had lost everything during the war. Read more »
Inspiration & Impact in Olympia: Lobby Day!
by Bobby Kirl
On January 20th, I and members from the 6th Legislative District participated, alongside PJALS and Washington CAN members from many Eastern Washington Legislative Districts, in an exciting and highly effective lobby day in Olympia. Our PJALS delegation of 16 people was our largest to date! The atmosphere and mood of the delegation was more than this aspiring activist could have hoped for right from the start.
My first lobby day began with an inspirational rally. Several highly motivated organizers and activists shared heart-felt personal stories of their struggles and triumphs on important legislative issues like the Washington DREAM act–which has since been signed into law!– as well as increasing access to dental care, paid sick days for all workers and health care reform. The rally left the congregation with no doubt of the importance of the agenda. Shortly after that inspiration the entire group, nearly 200 strong, took to the streets for a multi-block march from the Capitol Theater all the way to the steps of the State Capital building. Read more »
Our 5th Annual Peace & Economic Justice ACTION Conference
This has become the largest skill-building, relationship weaving event of its kind in the Inland NW, bringing together 200 progressives from Montana to Seattle and beyond. There are 21 fantastic workshops to chose from! You can still register at pjals.org/2014conference, or you can come and register at the door!
Our Keynote Speaker is Kristin Stoneking, Executive Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). A vocal advocate for the Occupy/Decolonize movement, Kristin achieved national attention in November 2011 for her role in a situation with violent overtones. Police officers pepper-sprayed activists who had joined a large Occupy Davis protest. Kristin successfully mediated between the parties and, when video footage of the dramatic incident “went viral” via social media, promoted the disciplined, principled use of nonviolent action. Check out this interview with Kristin about her upcoming keynote! Read more »
2014 Peace & Economic Justice Action Conference
Rave reviews about our Action Conference:
“Great variety of programs and the opportunity to meet new people!”
“It gave me inspiration and hope.”
“Surrounded by the energy of like minded people, rare in Spokane!”
“Open discussions, amazing positive energy, and equality.”
“I met amazing people and the mingle times were so productive and interesting. The energy at this conference and the reception was amazing. Wow! It is hard to feel hopeless about America’s current state when getting together to make a change like this.”
“Idealistic but practical. Motivating, energizing.”
We want YOU to join in this year!
Enjoy Early Bird Registration Rates - through Feb 22, add $5 after Feb. 22:
- $40 General Public
- $30 members of PJALS and co-sponsoring groups
- $15 Living Lightly (self-identified low-income, students, seniors, etc)
- Limited “workshare volunteer scholarships” are available—please contact Shar at firstname.lastname@example.org for info. Two-hour workshare shifts include set-up, registration table, resource table, clean-up, etc.
Location: Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, 4340 W. Ft. Wright Drive Read more »
PJALS at EWU: Activist in Residence event series kicks off!
The new year is getting going strong! Our EWU Activist in Residence series began with a panel of young changemakers & me to kick off an exciting series of workshops as the Activist in Residence. All events are open to community members–please spread the word and do come!
I’m excited to be on campus and connecting with some wonderful student activists, and I’ll be attending their events–will you join me?
The EWU Black Student Union is holding an Anti-Violence Memorial Candlelighting on Friday Jan 17 at 5pm (details here).
Activist in Residence Workshops:
Students who attend all four workshops will receive a certificate. Read more »
Criminal Justice Commission’s “landmark” recommendations to require political courage, focus, and public involvement
The Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission’s “Blueprint for Reform” was presented in a private meeting to Spokane Mayor Condon, County Commissioner Mielke and Spokane City Council President Stuckart, on January 10, 2014. The reforms envisioned in the Blueprint will require an unprecedented push for structural and cultural change says the Smart Justice Spokane Campaign.
In the press conference that followed the private meeting, both Mayor Condon and Commissioner Mielke praised the Commission for its work. Smart Justice Spokane Campaign spokesperson Mary Lou Johnson, also states, “We have to express our deep gratitude for the Commission’s landmark report. It’s hard to understate just how enlightened ‘A Blueprint for Reform’ is for improving our criminal justice system and getting the most out of public dollars. But as the Commission itself acknowledges, these reforms can’t occur without large doses of political courage, a longsighted approach, and persisting resolve to ensure the changes actually occur.” Read more »
Thanks to our friends at CMTV for donating their time to make this message!
Together: community, power, and possibility!
Because of PJALS members like you, it’s been a great year–and we’re ending it with a great opportunity: our generous friends at the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund have teamed up with member donors to match all gifts made before midnight December 31, up to $3600. I know you already appreciate the work that PJALS does, so I’m hoping you’ll take advantage of this offer to double the value of your gift.
Here is what a long-time member and a new member tell us about what PJALS means to them:
I am grateful that PJALS has been a steadfast voice for peace and justice in our region for over thirty years. While our members are diverse, we have stood together in city hall demanding police accountability, marched in the streets for peace and economic justice, and have held candles at midnight when the state executes one of its own. During these times, I never fail to be moved by my deep feelings of kinship for my PJALS compatriots.
–Maurina Ladich, attorney
Miraculous work comes out of PJALS. PJALS is a beehive of activity, accomplishing changes for the good of community with limited resources, faithful volunteers, and coalition allies across eastern Washington. The work carried out here at PJALS was a breath of fresh air to me as a new resident. I’m grateful it exists and wish to see it thrive to answer to injustices and create possibilities.
– Deb Svoboda, new member of PJALS Steering Committee and EWU Professor of Social Work and Women’s & Gender Studies
This year, because of the support of members like you, we have great successes to celebrate:
- We’re supporting inspiring young social justice organizers in our Young Activist Leaders program!
- We stood strong together for peace and against war on Syria.
- We won a 70% Yes vote for Police Accountability in February–and we won’t settle for less than independent investigations!
We’re excited to work together with you to fuel more change in the year ahead:
- Organizing with the Smart Justice Campaign for alternatives to incarceration!
- Mobilizing with members like you to fully fund education and lifeline programs for struggling families.
- Engaging more and more everyday people for “Money for People, Not for War” –It’s time to turn away from militarism, cut the Pentagon budget, and fully fund human needs!
Gifts from generous people like you make our work together possible. Always, our most unwavering source of support is the community, and that means you.
Will you join hundreds of families across our region in supporting our work together with a year-end donation to PJALS? Thanks to generous member donors and the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, every gift pledged or given before midnight on December 31st will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $3600!
With PJALS’ lean and efficient budget, every gift is important, at every level! Please give at www.pjals.org/contribute.
Thank you for supporting our work together for economic justice, peace, and human rights!
–Liz, Shar, and the PJALS Steering Committee
Festivus! PJALS Holiday Party
Friday Dec 20, 6:30-8:30
Community Building Lobby, 35 W. Main
Action Needed: Sit and Lie Ordinance Vote on December 16
Emails Needed on Sit and Lie Ordinance, Attend City Council Meeting on Monday December 16
Spokane City Councilman Allen, with the support of the Downtown Spokane Partnership, has dropped an expanded “sit and lie” ordinance that will come up for a hearing and vote at the Spokane City Council meeting on Monday, December 16, 6pm.
The Smart Justice Campaign is very concerned that the “sit and lie” ordinance being considered will increase the number of non-violent people in our jail. The proposed ordinance makes it a misdemeanor crime to sit or lie on sidewalks in the downtown core between 6am and 1am, and to sit or lie on any sidewalk fixture (like a planter, bike rack, or drinking fountain) at any time. The ordinance attempts to direct people into homeless shelters instead of jail, but fails to provide resources to shelters for additional space and services, nor does it establish diversion programs to provide treatment and support services for those found to be in violation of the ordinance.
Your help is needed – Please call or email Spokane City Council members (talking points below) and urge them to oppose the Sit and Lie Ordinance, and attend the City Council Hearing on Monday December 16th. Read more »
Tell Mayor Condon: independent investigations & nothing less!
Carl Maxey, attorney and civil rights worker, said in 1975:
“There must be a viable method for getting a full and complete investigation when a death is caused by a policeman.” And 38 years later, our community’s long struggle for real oversight of police is at a pivotal moment–and YOUR voice is needed!
We won a 70% Yes vote for Police Accountability in February this year. Our votes mean our city charter now mandates independent investigations of police misconduct. And we’ll settle for nothing less!
But now, Mayor Condon has not only failed to negotiate for independent investigations in his new “tentative agreement” with the police union. He has also now produced a new ordinance that muddles the Ombudsman’s involvement in Internal Affairs-run investigations even further and clearly violates Prop 1–ALL with NO written assurances that the Police Guild won’t file a challenge against the ordinance. Police accountability advocates are calling this combination “the worst of all possible worlds.”
The 3 Most Important Things You Can Do:
1. NOW: email Councilmembers–vote NO on the contract AGAIN and NO on the ordinance. We won’t accept anything less than what our votes mandated in our city charter! (See below for sample message you can edit, and post your letter in the comments below!)
2. TOMORROW: come to the Mayor’s public forum Thursday Dec 12, 6pm to 8pm, at West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt.
3. MONDAY: come to City Council Monday Dec 16, starting 6pm to show your support for the will of the voters or to testify. Read more »
Notes from the fundraising learning curve
I’ve been an activist and organizer since high school, and I’ve worked with some inspiring folks on a wide variety of issues. But my depth of experience with fundraising is much less, well, deep. This past year has brought a great deal of new information, practice, and some dawning understanding about what it can mean to raise the funds we need in order to organize social justice campaigns, develop new leaders, and involve people like you.
The most important thing I know for sure is that we never need to rely on foundation grants. Organizing for “peace” isn’t very “fundable” right now. But that’s ok, because community members who support PJALS at every level are our most steadfast source of support for our lean & efficient budget and always have been. Read more »
WANTED: Volunteer Coordinator, Office Manager, Bookkeeping Assistant, Bookkeeper, Treasurer, CPA
We’re seeking justice-lovers and peaceniks to join the team of dedicated volunteers that make this organization function from the inside out! Good work environment and lots of appreciation guaranteed! Call 838-7870 or email email@example.com for more information. Read more »
Over the counter
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
May Americans with some degree of accountability or any inclination for peace please agree to stop pretending that counter-terrorism is something other than terrorism?
It seems to me that the land of the free and the home of the brave used to be a little more squeamish about openly discussing our intentions to terrorize populations in other parts of the world. Today, anyone we want to call a terrorist is considered fair game for murder or torture by our counter-terrorists, and if we kill a few too many bystanders who happen to be elderly, pre-adolescent, and/or female, well, they could hardly have been less than potential terrorists. “Collateral damage” is a specious term and so last war. And if we can’t nail them as terrorists, they must be, at least, insurgents. This is all said or thought, not out of freedom or courage, but out of debilitating fear. Read more »
Police Accountability: Council rejects TA
By Dom Felix, Intern
The struggle for independent oversight of police continues. After 21 months of negotiations between the Mayor and the Police Guild, the voters are not any closer to it than they were after passing Proposition 1 way back in February 2013.
On November 1st, City Legal and The Police Guild released a Tentative Agreement (TA) that they and Mayor Condon claimed fulfilled Proposition 1. Read more »
Your Snowflakes created a Blizzard for Accountability
Our snowflakes created a facebook blizzard that could not be ignored! Thank you to the more than 40 individuals who helped spread the message: Mayor Condon failed the voters; Council: Reject the new police contract; Police Accountability for Spokane NOW! Click here for the collage all the “snowflakes”!
We helped to call out Mayor Condon on his complete failure to listen to the voters who overwhelmingly passed Prop. 1 and put pressure on the Council to unanimously reject the police contract.
There is still a lot of work ahead for us to achieve independent oversight for the Office of Police Ombudsman but for now let us bask in our victory!
Super heroes unite!
PJALS members and friends revealed their true superhero identities on Oct 25 at our SuperFriends Party! Big thanks to photographer Aaron Kathman for documenting the fun in our Hall of Justice Photo Booth!
“Move, Cathy–Get Out of the Way!”
PJALS members join OneAmerica for Immigration Reform Action Nov 13
Momentum for commonsense immigration reform is growing. But Speaker John Boehner has yet to schedule a vote. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers continues to stand behind him. And 1,100 people are deported each day. We spoke out to call on GOP leadership to vote on a pathway to citizenship this year!
Members of Washington Community Action Network and PJALS as well as college students from Whitworth, EWU, and Whitman were arrested in a civil disobedience action to convey the urgency of comprehensive immigration reform.
PJALS Members and Smart Justice Supporters Turn Out for CJC Hearing
By Dom Felix, Intern
The Spokane County Commissioners and Mayor Condon appointed a joint City-County Regional Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) in November 2012, charged with recommending reforms to our criminal justice system. The Commission’s final recommendations will provide the “to do list” for City and County elected officials to implement criminal justice reform. Their recommendations were released in a 60 page draft November 1st 2013.
On Nov. 6th the CJC held a hearing to get input from the community. There were nearly 150 community members at the hearing. Read more »