Rusty Nelson on Peace and War: Trying to Support the Troops
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War: Trying to Support the Troops
It must have been several years ago because the signs we held said “Free Bradley Manning,” and we Vets for Peace didn’t have to defend Chelsea Manning’s transgender rights while bringing attention to the persecuted, military whistle-blower Americans were trying to ignore. At an event in Riverfront Park, I was approached by two burly young men who said they were active duty military and considered Manning to be a traitor. They thought the army intelligence analyst’s reporting a massacre by U.S. helicopter crews was insignificant compared to the release of other classified information to Wikileaks. At least they knew something about the case. But then, they issued a challenge they might like to have back, now. “If you want to do something for an American soldier, put our government to work to free Beau Bergdahl.”
How things change. Private Manning, known now as Chelsea, is serving a 45-year prison sentence while the soldiers she reported remain uncharged and unpunished. Sgt. Beau Bergdahl is back in the U.S. after a controversial hostage/prisoner exchange, awaiting a decision on whether he will be charged with a crime. The story is different from the one several years ago, and several men from his unit want to see Bergdahl punished for being a deserter and putting them at risk.
I have an affinity for Chelsea Manning and Beau Bergdahl, not because they found themselves in the midst of a stupid, illegal war, as I once did, but because they dared to break away from the herd, assert their individuality, and distance themselves from the senseless killing that is part of every war. I knew the military could not be trusted to spare Manning for her courageous display of integrity, but I’m not ready to accept her harsh sentence, either. Most of Bergdahl’s story remains mysterious, but it seems to me that he could not justify what he was being told to do regarding people he did not hate. I don’t expect him to be treated very well.
Manning’s supporters are struggling to raise legal funds, but the media are tired of the story, which never had much traction with them, anyway. Bergdahl’s case, too, is slipping out of the public eye, as we are quietly told, every week or two, that a decision will be made, soon. The Pentagon spin doctors don’t want you to remember the soldiers whom they can’t squeeze into the hero mold. For instance, they’re not going to email you updates on how Sgt. Bales is getting along in prison for practicing his military craft on randomly selected Afghan civilians. It’s hard enough for them to keep a lid on the most egregious cases of military sexual trauma.
Meanwhile, we are treated to plenty of media coverage of other byproducts of perpetual war, and we’re warned about public comments regarding our military adventures and adventurers. The Brian Williams kerfuffle reminds us that we can even get into trouble for the way we praise our heroes in the armed forces. In fact, I contemplated writing about Williams’ problems, myself, until it became clear that every valid observation and conjecture on the subject has already been
made, at least once, but I would point out that his buddy, the retired sergeant major, credited with his safety when he wasn’t almost shot down, didn’t bother to correct his memory when they had a high-profile reunion at a hockey game
Speaking of the hero mold, Chris Kyle seems to have broken the mold and been elevated, posthumously, to an exclusive pedestal. It wasn’t sufficient that his memoir captivated war fans around the country before he was shot to death while trying to help a marine veteran deal with his PTSD. Self promotion could not achieve what Hollywood has for the former sniper, and his film story is now in the record books for legendary money-making. Kyle will be, if he is not already, the most famous enlisted person in U.S. military history and will probably surpass John McCain as the most recognizable figure to have been in the U.S. Navy and not been subsequently elected president. Have your kids ever heard of John Paul Jones or David Farragut? Not that I think they should.
While American Sniper, the film, continues to bust blocks, the Kyle saga continues in a Texas courtroom. Perhaps there’s a verdict as you read this, but I’m betting there’s no closure. Not for the families of the victims or the 27-year old defendant or the millions to whom the deadliest sniper, ever, is an object of adoration and patriotic pride. Certainly not for the military which relies upon the uncritical loyalty of each pillar of American values.
Eddie Ray Routh is on trial for the murder of Kyle and Chad Littlefield, two years ago. His plea is: not guilty due to insanity, and early testimony makes one wonder why the prosecution would take the case to trial and make it painfully obvious that Routh should have been hospitalized upon discharge from the Marines in 2010. From my perspective, the state risks confirming our fears that the U.S. military routinely recruits mentally ill persons and trains them to kill, or trains fine young people to kill before placing them into a crucible which will ensure moral and/or physical wounds which will limit their capacities for constructive citizenship.
If you miss the irony in the movie or book, I doubt you can avoid it in the courtroom. Littlefield, not a veteran, had tried to help a number of PTSD victims and was something of a Kyle groupie. Although the good Samaritans realized their charity case was seriously delusional, it didn’t occur to them that handing him a loaded gun was a bad idea. And, regardless of the outcome of the trial, it appears Kyle will be remembered as a great patriot and hero who lived and died trying to help his fellow Americans. Many of us who learned too much, too soon, about war, will never be able to think of a prolific sniper in a far-away country as someone who is saving lives, and it’s torturous to contemplate navy recruiters telling teenagers that if they’re good enough for the SEALS, they could be like Chris Kyle.
I don’t recommend that you disparage Kyle publicly, unless you are prepared for ostracism, at best. But if someone wants my opinion about snipers, I’ll recommend they read a significant part of my favorite American novel, The Brothers K, by David James Duncan.
When I went to Vietnam, in 1967, I was a true believer and a good shot. There were times I wished to be enlisted instead of commissioned, but I never wished I’d been a sniper. Today, I wish someone had told me, “Don’t kill for me. I feel safer with no enemies.”
We are Tipping into Repeal
We are Tipping into Repeal
by Shar Lichty
While I was working on the freedom to marry campaign I watched the nation reach a tipping point and a flood of states passing legislation following Washington successfully defending it at the ballot. I have been working on the death penalty for nearly 9 years and am witnessing the same thing occurring at a national level –we are tipping into repeal!
Recent National Victories include increased discussion and bi-partisan support for repeal, the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) considering the constitutionality of lethal injection, Attorney General Eric Holder calling for a national moratorium pending the SCOTUS ruling, Montana passing a bipartisan bill for repeal out of committee, 9 of 15 and 9 of 12 scheduled executions for Jan. and Feb. respectively have been halted, Pennsylvania has issued a moratorium, and Florida has halted all executions pending the SCOTUS ruling.
PJALS played a key role in bringing forth the voices of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation by hosting Jason Ortiz and Pat McCoy for a Spokane event and connecting them with folks in Western Washington who did the same. They spent roughly a week in Washington working with the state campaign as well to develop a Voices booklet highlighting victims’ families from Washington. This booklet was delivered to legislators and is available electronically here. Cly Evans and I went to Olympia a day early and joined with Jason and Pat for meetings with legislators prior to Lobby Day. These meetings for positive and helped advance the voice of victims’ families. Our delegation of 6 arrived later that day and we all gathered for fantastic food and conversation.
Lobby Day was a great success this year and we all left feeling hopeful. “What a difference a year makes.” “I can’t believe how different our meetings were this year.” “Even legislators who aren’t with us are listening and engaging in respectful conversations this year.” These are a few of the statements I heard more than once while I was in Olympia lobbying for legislative repeal of the death penalty.
PJALS had a delegation of 6 folks from the 3rd, 6th, and 4th legislative districts who traveled to Olympia to join with others across the state for Death Penalty Lobby Day last week. There were 61 individuals representing 18 districts participating in 26 meetings with law makers for a busy and upbeat day of lobbying. Postcards were delivered to all legislators in districts that had them. PJALS played a key role in gathering postcards in the 3rd, 6th, 4th, 7th, and 9th–we reached critical mass in some of the more conservative districts and this was the first time any were received from the 7th. Thank you to all of you who helped collect postcards and/or signed one–they really do make a difference!
We have made significant advances on the issue here in Washington with true bi-partisan support, increased conversations, and a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee before the bill cutoff date. I listened to a Republican co-sponsor of the House bill speak on the issue with the same passion I speak with and realized we are almost there. Because this is a budget year it is unlikely we will win this year but our continuation to build support will put us in a very good spot for the possibility of repeal in 2016!
Our 6th Annual Peace and Economic Justice Action Conference
Our 6th Annual Peace and Economic Justice Action Conference
by Teresa Kinder, intern
March is bringing with it this year’s Action Conference that has become the largest gathering of over 200 progressive thinks from across Washington and neighboring states. This year we will be hosting 24 fabulous workshops on a broad range of issues focusing on education, action, and skill building.
Conference goers tell us the Conference provides a “great variety of programs and the opportunity to meet new people!” Another reported, “I met amazing people the mingle times were so productive and interesting. The energy at the 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.”
This year come and learn how you can build creative and effective actions in Eric Ross’s ‘Escalation of Creative Nonviolent Direct Action Tactics’ workshop. Also learn how to effectively talk to your legislators with Gloria Ochoa, Blaine Stum, Lori Kinnear, and Shar Lichty.
The Conference will feature workshops focusing locally and internationally. Join David Brookbank and Jan Treecraft in ‘Nicaragua: Cristiana, Socialista y Solidaria.’ Or, travel with Mary Rupert and Larry Shook in ‘Journey to Afghanistan and Back with a Young Soldier.’
Join us March 20th for the reception before the conference for a great evening of socializing. Then come on Saturday March 21, for the Peace and Economic Justice Action Conference. For full details and to register go to http://pjals.org/2015conference. Let your voice be heard.
Meet Our Action Conference Keynote–Judith LeBlanc
Meet Our Action Conference Keynote
By Shar Lichty
We are thrilled to have Judith LeBlanc, Senor Organizer with Alliance for a Just Society as our Keynote Speaker at this year’s Peace & Economic Justice Action Conference. Check out our fantastic list of workshops and register now to enjoy early bird rates at pjals.org/2015conference.
Judith is currently organizing a project to create a national Native leadership network to provide support for strategic planning and capacity building trainings in Indian Country.
She was the Field Director for Peace Action, a national grassroots organization representing 90,000 members committed to a fundamental change in U.S. foreign policy. She coordinated the Move the Money Campaign, an effort to organize grassroots coalitions of community, labor and peace groups to change national spending priorities from wars and weapons to fund jobs and public services as one of the steps towards a “new economy” that works for all.
She has worked on a national level for over 30 years on campaigns ranging from labor rights, racial justice to peace, and disarmament campaigns. She served two terms as a national co-chair of United for Peace and Justice, the national coalition that organized the movement to oppose the 2nd war in Iraq. In 2014 she received the National Priorities Project’s Democracy Champions Award.
Judith is a member of the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma. She lives in Harlem, New York.
Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation member calls for end to death penalty
Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation member calls for end to death penalty
by Jamie McDaniel
The night when PJALS hosted Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation member Pat McCoy proved to be an evening of powerful words which instilled the will to fight for the abolition of the death penalty in the community.
Pat McCoy invited us into his past to be able to see how he, as the loved one of someone who has been murdered, really feels about use of capital punishment on their perpetrators. His story having come out of Spokane made his message even more powerful because it hit literally so close to home. Pat’s sister was murdered in Spokane in 1974, a time when the death penalty was not legal in Washington.
Pat expresses that there is not a single member of his family that wishes the revenge, which the law thinks we all desire, was sought. He said, “We were satisfied that he was convicted and confined.” He expressed to us the importance of closure for the family, which is not done when a murder is put to death, but when the case itself is over so that the family can behind the healing process. With the help of Jason Ortiz, anot
her member of Murder Victim’s Families’ for Reconciliation, the audience was taught about the importance of what the death penalty really means in our society; both fiscally and personally.
Young Activist Leaders Program report: “Justice needs to be done in society!”
Young Activist Leaders Program report: “Justice needs to be done in society!”
by Jamie McDaniel, intern
Greetings from your YALPistas! We have had an exciting and educational last few months in the Young Activist Leaders Program, and we are very grateful for our workshops! We are always looking forward to the third Tuesday of every month!
I know first hand that our young activist leaders are the coolest, most interesting and enlightening individuals out there. YALP member Kacy Kräcke says, “I think YALP is very useful when it comes to being a successful organizer. Everyone in this program knows the importance of what justice needs to be done in society.”
Another YALPista, Trung Nguyen, says, “YALP gives the younger generation the chance to truly make a difference in the community. YALP proves that young people want to do more than sit around. We want to make a lasting, positive effect.”
I could not agree more with you guys!
Welcome Social Work Practicum Student Teresa!
Welcome Social Work Practicum Student Teresa!
by Liz Moore
Teresa Kinder is a senior at EWU, completing her social work practicum with a Community Organizing Internship at PJALS. “I was tired of seeing people around me thinking they couldn’t make a difference,” she says.
“I’m passionate about lots of social justice issues. Everything is so important, and for me it depends on what has momentum at the moment. I do love LGBT issues, anything around that is my passion.”
Teresa is a graduate of the Mead school district. Her first step to put her values into action was to attend a meeting with Washington CAN. She volunteered with them on paid sick days. “I had worked at Walmart and I saw what it was like to not have paid sick days. It was ridiculous. I saw people who were sick working, and I worked in meats, so sick people are touching your food all the time. I saw people who were taking care of their families, and if they missed a day of work, they wouldn’t be able to afford something for their kids, so no matter how sick they were, they were at work. It was a huge issue.”
“My favorite thing about being at PJALS,” says Teresa, “is hearing from so many people and learning about so many things I didn’t know were issues before. Anytime I see something where people are actually doing something and actually making a difference — I haven’t been around people before who are even trying. I’ve learned about things like race inequalities — I had always heard they were there but had never seen them, now I have learned and now I notice and see things that were always there. Another big issue I’ve learned about has been with people who were incarcerated, that had never occurred to me ever.”
Teresa says she’ll be different after this internship. “I feel like I’m not afraid to talk about issues anymore. I’ll have more skills and knowledge about how to run groups and organize anything in general.”
Welcome Social Work Practicum Student Jamie!
Welcome Social Work Practicum Student Jamie!
By Victoria Huckabee
Jamie McDaniel is a senior in the Social Work program at Eastern Washington University. She is from the Spokane area and enjoys spending time with her family and her new dog, Momota.
She is passionate about human rights and loves protesting for anything she feels is a worthy cause. At PJALS she works mostly on abolishing the death penalty.
In addition to being a full time student and intern, she also works as shelter staff at Crosswalk Teen Shelter and is a visitation specialist at Empowring Inc Services. Jamie loves to travel and spent the summer exploring Ghana, the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands, France, Manaco, Italy Switzerland, and Denmark.
Jamie is still undecided about her plans after graduation, but she is considering graduate school and joining the Peace Corps.
PJALS at EWU—An Activist in Residence update
PJALS at EWU—An Activist in Residence update
By Liz Moore
Young people are curious, interested, have developed their own opinions already, draw on their own meaningful experience, and ask great questions. This is what I’ve observed speaking in classes and holding workshops at EWU last year and this year as the first ever EWU Activist in Residence. In January I spoke in 19 classes over two days, ranging from Philosophy to Chicano History to Feminist Methodology to Criminal Justice to African American Family. I jogged from building to building and spoke to over 300 students about PJALS, about whether the elite hold power or whether it’s in the hands of the people, and the what & why of Smart Justice Spokane’s campaign for criminal justice reform.
In every class and at every Activist in Residence workshop, I share the Power Elite Model and the People Power Model from Bill Moyer’s book Doing Democracy. Heads nod as I described the power-holders at the top acting upon us through laws, myths, norms, and institutions. When I asserted that we individually and collectively have the autonomy and authority to decide to withdraw our consent and to challenge those in power, students smile and nod again. EWU students experience and assert these two realities on a daily basis as young people, people of color, low-income folks, and other facets of identity.
You’re invited to the final Activist in Residence workshop on Thursday March 5, 3:30 to 5:30 in Monroe 205: “Approaches to Activism: Making the Road by Walking,” a panel discussion with Jude McNeil, Sandy Williams, Blaine Stum, Reb. Deb Conklin, and me. Come join the conversation!
Welcome Social Work Practicum Student Victoria!
Welcome Social Work Practicum Student Victoria!
by Jamie McDaniel
Victoria Huckabee is a full time social work student and single mother of two boys, Luke and Logan.
Her academic journey began pursuing a certification in American Sign Language which led her to the Bachelors of Social Work program at Eastern Washington University. She will graduate this spring. After graduation, Victoria plans to enter the advanced standing program to pursue her Masters degree.
Victoria is committed to working for social justice on a large scale and push for reforms and improvements in the system. She is especially passionate about criminal justice reform and peace.
A fun fact about Victoria is that she has a pet sheep named Scout who thinks he is a dog!
Handful of Salt March-April-May 2015
Click here for our calendar.
Powerful award-winning play “My Name is Rachel Corrie” to be shown in Spokane
By Justin Mauger
On Monday March 2nd, 7:00 pm, the award-winning play “My Name is Rachel Corrie” will be shown at the Magnuson Theater on the campus of Gonzaga University. This play is brought to the Gonzaga Campus by PJALS’ Palestine-Israel Human Rights Committee in collaboration with Gonzaga student Forrest Potter and featuring actress Erin Fitzgerald. This play is presented free of charge and open to the public. We hope that PJALS members will join us in attendance at this important event.
Rachel Corrie was a gifted writer and peace activist from Olympia, Washington. As a student at The Evergreen State College, she proposed an independent-study program and went to the Gaza Strip, Palestine, to create a Rafah-Olympia Sister City relationship, where, in her work as a peace and human rights activist she helped protect Palestinian homes from illegal demolition. While practicing Gandhian nonviolence, clad in fluorescent orange and shouting over a bullhorn, she was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer as she attempted to stop the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home in the city of Rafah. Read more »
Supporting Spokane’s Trans* Community
I was shocked and saddened to learn of the physical attack on a trans* woman on West Main on Friday night, sending her to the hospital. An attack anywhere is unacceptable but I find myself especially troubled by an attack taking place across the street from our offices and in a business whose owners have gone out of their way to support equality, the freedom to marry, and the recognition of everyone’s full humanity.
Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane joins our community’s good wishes for the victim’s quick recovery and full well-being. We also join the call for a full investigation and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice quickly. Read more »
2015 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!
Early Bird Registration Open!
Enjoy Early Bird Registration Rates – through March 9th, add $5 after March 9th:
• $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 Teresa at firstname.lastname@example.org for info. Two-hour workshare shifts include set-up, registration table, resource table, clean-up, etc. Read more »
PJALS brings Chris Hedges to Spokane: Tues March 10, 2015, 7:00 pm at the Bing
The Moral Imperative of Revolt
Peace and Justice Action League is excited to host Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and writer Chris Hedges in Spokane!
“Champion of the 99% – Mortal Enemy of the 1%”
–Los Angeles Press Club
Tuesday March 10, 2015, at 7:00 pm at the Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague
$18 in advance — will be held at Will Call / $20 at the door
$10 student with valid ID — will be held at Will Call
Special Reception & Dinner
with Chris Hedges
Join us for a limited-seat reception & dinner with Chris Hedges, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Tuesday March 10. Tickets to the Special Reception and Dinner include admission to the Evening Appearance.
Cost: $65. Limited tickets are available now!
For information on Event Sponsorship or how to help promote this event, contact Liz Moore at email@example.com.
We demand: Prosecute Torturers!
This week as a nation we learned more about our own country’s use of torture, authorized by extremists such as Vice President Cheney, President Bush, Secretary of State Condi Rice, and others throughout the Bush administration. The hundreds of pages released make several things horrifyingly clear:
- The torture program was worse than what most Americans know. As the report notes, it was “brutal.”
- The torture program was ineffective and provided no real intelligence information.
- The torture program harmed and damaged our reputation all over the world.
It was wrong from the start, but this report just provides more evidence of that.
The report also speaks to the importance of work led by PJALS co-director Nancy and Rusty Nelson, with so many long time PJALS members, to expose the role of Spokane psychologists Mitchell and Jesson in creating and promulgating these torture techniques in exchange for more than $80 million in contracts. (See Shawn Vestal’s latest coverage here)
Torture or complicity in torture has been a felony under U.S. law, and the United States has been party to treaties requiring that it prosecute whenever there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction. Top officials involved in the torture reported on, including Bush and Cheney, have repeatedly and shamelessly admitted to authorizing acts of torture and asserted that they would do so again. They’ve made these confessions on national television.
Talk of “turning a corner” and “never again” is worse than useless rhetoric if accompanying the act of openly embracing lawlessness. Accountability for torture today is critical for stopping it tomorrow!
We demand: Prosecute Torturers!
On Monday at 5:00, join PJALS members as we gather at the Main Street entrance to RiverPark Square to hold signs and share leaflets to encourage other community members to make their voices heard too. RSVP or invite your friends here.
Please sign and share these 4 important petitions! Be part of the groundswell:
- DOJ: Prosecute Those Responsible for the Abhorrent CIA Torture Program! – already at 30,000+ — Center for Constitutional Rights
- Click here to call on President Obama to allow the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce our laws, and to immediately appoint a special prosecutor. — RootsAction
- Tell President Obama: It’s time to Fire John Brennan, head of the CIA and torture apologist! – Code Pink
- Accountability for torture today is critical for stopping it tomorrow: Investigate and Prosecute Torturers – ACLU
“The Role of Religious Reconciliation for Stability in Iraq.”
“The Role of Religious Reconciliation for Stability in Iraq.”
Thursday, January 29th, 2015, 7:00 pm. at Gonzaga University, Jepson Bldg. Auditorium
Free and Open to the Public
Pax Christi Spokane, the local chapter of the national and international Catholic Peace and Justice organization Pax Christi (http://www.paxchristi.net/ & http://paxchristiusa.org/) has invited Dr. Sarah AK Ahmed, of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME) and Mustafa Mahmood, a Gonzaga student from Iraq who volunteered with FRRME last summer, to speak on “The Role of Religious Reconciliation for Stability in Iraq.” The event will take place Thursday, January 29th, 2015, 7:00 pm. at Gonzaga in the Wolff Auditorium, and it will be free and open to the public, although the main target audience is Gonzaga students. The objective of the event is to raise awareness of the complex situation in Iraq, which affects us not only globally but also locally.
The intended outcome addresses ways in which our community can build a more compassionate, inclusive climate around the cultural and religious diversity.
The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation not only provides medical care and humanitarian relief in the heart of Baghdad’s Red Zone, it works to promote peace through inter-religious dialog. According to FRRME’s mission statement, “Without genuine reconciliation, there can never be lasting peace.” The foundation works for reconciliation by engaging religious leaders in dialogue, and helping them use their influence to promote peace. The founder of FRRME, Reverend Canon Dr Andrew White, chairs Iraq’s High Council of Religious Leaders (HCRLI). “We understand that religion and politics are intimately linked in the Middle East, so a religious track is essential to a balanced peace process. When religion goes wrong, it goes very wrong. But if religion is part of the problem, it must form part of the solution – a wholly secular approach will not suffice.” FRRME also runs a health clinic which works to reconcile Iraqis at a grassroots level through its model of employing Sunni, Shia, Christian and Jewish staff. http://frrme.org/what-we-do/reconciliation/
Sarah Ahmed is the Director of Operations for the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME) as well as the personal assistant to Rev. White. She is a peace, human rights, and women’s right activist. Of her experience in Iraq, Sarah writes, “what is happening to people in Iraq, from persecution to starvation to killing, is affecting the population in more ways than the rest of the world can even imagine.” Besides her current relief effort aiding Iraqis displaced by ISIS, she also currently serves as a volunteer dentist in a medical center in Baghdad, providing quality health care free of charge to anyone who needs it, and she created the non-profit organization, Because, I Love Peace, which promotes peace through letters of love, hope and support to those struggling in Iraq (https://www.facebook.com/Becauseilovepeace/info?ref=page_internal.
Mustafa Mahmood is an engineering student at Gonzaga, who returned to Iraq in the summer of 2014 to work with Dr. Ahmed providing food and supplies to thousands of displaced minority Christian families. Not only is Mustafa highly engaged in Gonzaga’s student body, he is also very active in peace and justice efforts within the Spokane community. Mustafa is also a gifted poet whose writings eloquently communicate what it is like to be a refugee from a war-torn country (http://news.gonzaga.edu/2012/iraqi-student-poet). Both Sarah and Mastafa are Iraqi citizens and belong to the Muslim faith.
The presentation on Thursday night will focus on the situation in Iraq, not only regarding the humanitarian crisis, but also most especially the religious conflict that permeates the life of the citizens, particularly regarding Christians and Muslims. She will talk about FRRME’s work on religious reconciliation. Mustafa will speak from a personal experience on being an Iraqi citizen, and his work with Sarah. We hope to get Mustafa to share some poetry as well. The presentation will conclude with suggestions on how folks can concretely support and nurture reconciliation among international students from the Middle East and those in the Spokane community. They will end with an open question and discussion period.
The Exonerated: America has a legal system. It needs a justice system
America has a legal system.
It needs a justice system.
A dramatic reading of the actual words of six wrongfully condemned persons who emerged from death row to reclaim their lives.
Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen
Directed by Bryan Harnetiaux and Jack Delehanty
Hosted by Gonzaga University Dept. of Theatre and Arts at the
Magnuson Theatre-Gonzaga University
Fri. Nov. 21 (limited number remaining available at the ticket booth at 7pm)
& Sat Nov. 22nd (online sales end at 7:30pm 11/21-tickets will be available at the booth at 7pm 11/22)
$10 general admission/$5 student
With local veteran actors: Jeff Mooring, Denise Hairston, Michael Reid, Wes Deitrick, Andrew Biviano, Steven Blount, A’dell Whitehead, Mary Alberts, Jim Sheehan, and Rusty Nelson
To volunteer please sign-up here. Volunteers attend at no charge.
Produced by PJALS Inland NW Death Penalty Abolition Group with support from: Community Building Foundation, Mary Alberts, Janet Fowler & Tom Schmidt, Myrta & Maurina Ladich, Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, ACLU-WA, Center for Justice, Mary Pat Treuthart, Dennis Medina, Yak Research, Pax Christi, KYRS, Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Criminal Law Society-GU Law School, Spokane NAACP, Veterans for Peace-Spokane Chapter, Student Awareness League of SCC, and EWU School of Social Work.
For more information, contact Shar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-838-7870
Two reasons to feel hopeful in Spokane
Hope is precious, and when I find it I try to pay attention to it and share it. So I want to tell you about 2 experiences I had just last week that lifted my spirits, buoyed my energy, and gave me concrete reason for hope.
Last Tuesday, Shar and I met this year’s Young Activist Leaders–and they are wonderful! They talked about their shared values: equality, education for all, civil rights and liberties, an attainable American dream, world peace, equitable distribution of wealth! And they discussed what they want to make happen to advance those values: prioritize, begin huge things with strategy and confidence, get other people on board and engaged to participate, and map power, resources, allies, and decision-makers. These dedicated, passionate leaders of our own community are not kidding around about their values or their plans, and knowing them makes me feel hopeful about what’s happening in Spokane and what will happen in the future! Even better, I really love knowing we can support them to sharpen their skills and hone their leadership for social justice!.
Then on Wednesday last week, I got to facilitate a powerful community gathering on Race, Militarization, Body Cameras, and Police Accountability with speakers Blaine Stum from the Spokane Human Rights Commission, Julie Schaffer from the Center for Justice, and Justin Pimsanguan from Don’t Shoot. The room was packed with members of our groups and others, including three members of our new Police Ombudsman Commission. Excellent points and questions were raised by this engaged, smart bunch of our neighbors and friends. The fact that so many people came together in our community to learn and to share their own questions and ideas left me energized and hopeful.
Neither of these experiences would have happened without people like you supporting PJALS and our sister organizations. There are plenty of reasons we can feel down or angry, and justifiably so. But when there are concrete reasons to feel a sense of hope, community, and possibility — let’s share those examples and move forward with greater energy!
Thank you very much for everything you do in our community and in our world!
Condoleezza Rice speaking in Spokane
Whitworth University is bringing Condoleezza Rice as part of their President’s Leadership Forum on Thursday, October 9th at the Convention Center. PJALS is working with Vets for Peace, IWW and Occupy Spokane to organize a nonviolent protest outside of her event. Gather at 11:00 am at the Community Building, 35 W. Main, to march together to the Convention Center. Our plans include giant heads, street theater, leafletting, and more.
Invite your friends on fb to join PJALS, Veterans for Peace, Occupy Spokane, and IWW to protest and tell the truth about Condi’s record here. Invite your friends to our Peacekeeper Training on Wed 10/1, 5:30 – 8p, here. Invite your friends to our sign-making party on Thurs 10/2, 5:30 – 7p, here.
Download a pdf turnout flier here!
There are so many reasons to oppose Rice’s visit to Spokane and with military escalations in Iraq it has become very timely. While current military decisions are Obama’s, we must not forget the lies from the Bush administration used to justify the illegal Iraq war. Among the 935 false statements from the Bush administration following 9/11, 56 came directly from Rice. Read more »
People’s Climate March: Stop the Wars, Stop the Warming
Sunday Sept 21, 1:30 pm
Cowley Park, 6th & Division
Invite your friends on Fb here:
The Costs Are Simply Too High to Get It Wrong Again!
In the past six weeks, America has flown nearly 3,000 missions, deployed more than 1,500 troops, and launched more than 150 airstrikes in Iraq.
Last week, the President announced that our latest war in the Middle East will be ramping up, with increased airstrikes in Iraq and soon also in Syria.
And–as early as today, Congress is going to vote on a controversial plan to send arms to Syrian rebels, pouring fuel on the fire of the Syrian civil war.
The pro-war extremists are working hard. Now is the time for peace-minded people to speak out and make OUR voices heard! Here are 4 ways:
1. Our representatives in Congress need to hear from you before they support another endless war in the Middle East! Today is a National Call-In Day, so your calls will add up with others!
Senator Patty Murray: 624-9515 (thank her for her past record on war on Iraq)
Senator Maria Cantwell: 353-2507
Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers: 353-2374 (thank hler for her vote to require Congressional approval of war on Iraq)
Message: “I’m calling to ask my legislator to vote against authorizing the use of military force against ISIS. Instead of rushing back to war, the U.S. should pursue alternative options, such as cutting off ISIS’s oil sales and stopping the flow of weapons to the region. Thank you!”
* Report your call below in a comment!
2. Be visible:
Get a NO WAR sign at PJALS, 35 W. Main and put it in your window or yard!
3. Connect and share:
like our page: facebook.com/peacejusticeactionleague and SHARE our images & articles to spread the word!
4. March with PJALS on Sunday Sept 21:
Sunday Sept 21, 1:30 pm
Cowley Park, 6th & Division
Invite your friends on Fb here:
PJALS Priorities for Action 2014-2015
As a collective of activists, PJALS staff, steering committee members, and committee chairs addressed the difficult task of prioritizing efforts when there are seemingly endless injustices being carried out through direct acts and perpetuated through acquiescence and silence. Prioritizing our work aids us in focusing our “hands, heart, and head” efforts for a period of time for the best possible outcomes, leaving room for rapid response to an ever changing landscape.
As the Steering Committee Chairperson, I’m excited to share with you the three PJALS Priorities for Action 2014-2015. With your support through membership, volunteering, showing up, and lending your voice, PJALS can continue the movement for peace and justice. Read more »
Another Look at the Cycle of Violence
I believe you know that support for capital punishment in this country: is diminishing; was only a foot deep when it was a mile wide; is based upon fear and ignorance rather than common sense or justice, and; is always weakened when executions are honestly examined as factors in the cycle of violence in our communities and institutions.
You should also know that Gov. Inslee’s moratorium on executions is little comfort to the men on our death row in Walla Walla, who believe they are likely to be killed when a new governor takes office. Believing this is a splendid time to ban the death penalty and that public enlightenment is the best way forward, the Inland Northwest Death Penalty Abolition Group wants Spokane to see its new production of The Exonerated on November 21 or 22, at Gonzaga University. The Center for Justice produced two performances of The Exonerated, five years ago at the Civic Theatre, and is co-sponsoring this show, which will, again, be directed by Bryan Harniteaux, Spokane’s attorney/playwright. Read more »
MAIA PROJECT – Gaza Water Purification Unit update
This is a different update from what we originally planned to give, as since July 8, Gaza has been under almost constant attack from Israeli bombing and shelling, and Khan Younis, where “our” unit is located at Atfal Al-Ghad (Children of Tomorrow) pre-school and Kindergarten, has been particularly devastated.
Deborah Agre from our partner Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) told us in mid-August that they don’t yet have a report on the water units there, as the primary concern right now is keeping people safe, recovering the dead and treating the injured. What they do know is that the UNWRA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) schools in which the units are installed have been used as shelter for families fleeing bombs and needing shelter when their homes were destroyed, many of which were themselves bombed. Units that were built to serve hundreds of children during school hours have had to put out clean water for tens of thousands of people, 24 hours/day if they are working at all. MECA does not know yet how the units are performing at so far above capacity. Read more »
Nonviolence in Action: Peacekeeping for Successful Protests
We are offering a great workshop for protesters, organizers, and folks thinking of volunteering as peacekeepers for any social justice cause! Our Oct 1 workshop will focus on preparing for our Oct 9 protest when Condoleezza Rice speaks at the Convention Center, but the skills are completely transferable. Come learn how trained peacekeepers can help create a successful demonstration or action for social justice and peace. We’ll cover nonviolence principles and guidelines, techniques to defuse and de-escalate potentially volatile situations, and how to organize a team of peacekeepers. And, we’ll practice so we are more likely to use these new skills in real life!
No cost. Donations gladly accepted!
Community Building, 35 W. Main, Wednesday, Oct 1
Food at 5:30 (light refreshments)
Training begins at 6:00 pm and will finish at 8:00 pm.
Successfully completing this training makes you eligible to join PJALS’ Peacekeeper Team, but there is NO obligation and it’s open to all interested. We offered this same workshop on August 6 with wonderful participation from a great group of new and experienced peaceniks.
We are building up our pool of trained peacekeepers and our team of trainers. If you’re interested in becoming a trainer for this workshop, please contact me at email@example.com. We’re planning on offering more workshops in April and June 2015, so we need your skills!
Role playing at August Training:
Director’s reflection: How to build peace
This spring, as we sat down with our 2013-2014 community organizing interns to talk about their experience with us, we realized that somehow none of them had led chants into a bullhorn, none of them had held banners while we marched, none of them had managed sign-in at a rally. We were shocked when we realized we hadn’t held a major march or rally since our rapid response in September which was part of the successful national push-back against US war on Syria.
This summer has looked far different! Starting with a Global Day Against Military Spending action, we’ve mobilized in April rain, May sun, June heat, July 4th weekend traffic, and late July wildfire smoke for actions calling to “End the Spiral of Violence: End these Endless Wars” with a focus on opposing increased US military presence in Iraq, extending our occupation of Afghanistan into 2016, and US-funded military attacks on Gaza.
Repeatedly as we get ready to mobilize, I look for the writings of thought-leaders and opinion-makers on what to call for instead of the latest proposal to bomb. This is especially necessary because the pro-war extremists have been pretty consistent about adding a humanitarian talking point to their list of reasons war is the answer, and that talking point is effective. Read more »
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.