Click here for Opportunities to organize, protest, make your voice heard
Protester’s sign read stand up! speak up! and these protesters did it this cold Spokane winter day. Some who were lucky made it to inside halls standing and sitting in the warmth and could hear the messages from the Ballroom. Others filled sidewalks for blocks east and west and entertained each other with songs, music, chatter. The Davenport Hotel Coffee and Bar was a hit place to keep warm.
After the March People Rose Up!
Marchers continued on to the Community Building where they shared chili, soup, music, poetry, speakers, a movie, action tables, creative activities for kids and adults, and began networking to take action.
MLK Week Kicks Off
On January 14 in a small inland northwest town MLK Week kicked off with the Netflix documentary 13th:
Sandy Williams, publisher of the Black Lens News and Rev. Walter Kendricks president of the Spokane Ministers Fellowship started the week of Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations with the screening of the Netflix documentary film 13th at Bethel AME Church in Spokane hosted by the Rev. Lonnie Mitchell.
Spokane Washington 2015 Census DataAfter the screening the audience – predominantly white residents of the inland northwest – broke up into small groups for discussion. How did they feel? What did they need to do about it?
- I wish all the kids in our school district could see this.
- I never heard of the organization ALEC.
- I have 4 family members with a total of over 100 years in prison plus one with 3 strikes you’re out.
- I think we need political action.
- I take Netflix and I have never seen this before.
- I worked on both sides of this issue – as a corrections officer on the inside and as a youth counselor on the outside.
- The corrections industry is a cesspool.
- We need to talk about self responsibility.
- Black people need to have serious discussions about race also.
- White people need to check out SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice). PJALS is starting a SURJ Spokane branch.
- Look into Hope Cafe : Washington State Department of Corrections initiative.
- We can send out information to follow up on this meeting.
- Subscribe to Black Lens News.
- We can join forces with a group started on the west side of the state called Black Prisoners Caucus.
- There is a small group that meets the First Thursday of every month at the Rocket Market at 43rd & Scott at 10 am and discusses actions that may be taken to build the community we would like to live in.
As the meeting at Bethel AME was ending a workshop called
was being held by PJALS across town at the Spokane Public Library. This workshop gave hands on experience in how to challenge oppressive statements.
Spokane PJALS joins SURJ Show Up for Racial Justice
SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals organizing White people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves White people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change.
Our Vision for PJALS
The Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane engages everyday people to build a just and nonviolent world
Everyday people are together advancing peace, economic justice, and human rights, through campaigns grounded in the intersections of these values. We are:
- Engaging youth, cultivating youth leadership and long-term involvement.
- Nurturing strong relationships & active partnerships with communities of color, LGBT+ communities, faith communities, and other progressive bases.
- Sharing our messages, setting the frame of debates, and engaging everyday people.
- Delivering high-quality work through robust volunteer involvement and leadership, appropriate staffing, strong organizational systems, and a funding base that’s expanding, stable, and sufficient.
There is a failure to communicate in African American institutions, churches, community and family. This has led to ineffectiveness in our social justice concerns as illustrated in the article Under One Roof, Divergent Views on ‘Black Lives Matter’.
Here is one solution to bridging the generations.
Level I: Icons: The 60 Plus Generation
The people in this generation are the ones who have shown community service and activism. They represent tremendous amounts of wisdom, knowledge, experience and history that could be passed on to younger generations. There could be an annual forum where they can provide wisdom and moral support but not make policy. A small group of 5 or so would mine the resources of their age group and recommend individuals to bring their wisdom, history and experience to the late career generation.
Level II: Late Career Generation
There is a late career generation (40 – 65) that has skills, resources, contacts and finances to contribute. They can consult with the Level I Icons and bring resources and raise funds for Levels III and IV but do not need to provide a lot of time nor make policy.
Level III: Early Career Generation
The early career folks (25 – 40) have challenges such as moving ahead in their jobs, raising children and navigating them through institutions such as school. They also have fairly recent education, housing, job hunting experiences and more. Having just gone through or presently going through these challenges should give them insights for developing policies. They can become advocates for children. They would train and check in on the young adults and respond to questions and concerns.
Level IV: The Dreamers
Young adults (18 – 30) are the dreamers. When Martin Luther King Jr spoke about having a dream this is who he was. They have ambition, time, energy, security, not as many responsibilities. They will survey the needs of adolescents and their communities. They can develop programs and then carry out policies and programs. They can take risks, experiment with new challenges. They can relate to the struggles of young adolescents, mentor them, do peer counseling and provide role models for them. They can work with younger children to meet their needs, develop services for themselves and younger folk, at the same time gaining experience. This is CORE. This is SNCC. They are the SCLC field staff, the NAACP youth organization, the equivalent of the protesters of the 60’s. They are Black Lives Matter.
Level V: Our Future
Adolescents (12 – 18) are the target for programs carried out by The Dreamers. They need to be educated, made aware of future challenges and how they can be prepared for them. They can be guided toward broader opportunities, public service and the fun and satisfaction of working with others toward a common goal. Make up and size of target groups of adolescents need to be managed and controlled. Each group should be culturally, ethnically and economically mixed. Each group of 12 – 18 year olds should be small enough to comfortably meet in a home (10 – 12 people) so an institution is not needed to provide a meeting place. Perhaps meetings could rotate among the homes of the participants, thus maintaining communication with parents.
On December 23 the Spokane chapter of the NAACP held a strategy meeting where the president-elect Rachel Dolezal presented a PowerPoint of her suggested organizational structure and suggested officers for the new year. It was obvious looking at the room that there is new interest in the organization. See links to older 4comculture posts and pages regarding NAACP activity and compare them to posts of activity since Ferguson. I think this is the beginning of a new movement with a much younger and energetic group. Only time will tell. I would encourage those under 40 to join the civic engagement and that we older folks stay home and send a check to support the youth.
Historical Note: When Dr. King joined the Montgomery Bus Boycott he was 26 years old. When he died he was 39 years old. Below are photographs of the SCLC field staff who were all in their late teens and early 20’s.
Post Ferguson MO
Pre Ferguson MO
The Black Student Union at Gonzaga University sponsored a demonstration on December 11, 2014, to stand in solidarity with communities across America against police misconduct.
The Black Star Project
- Founded by Phillip Jackson in 1996, The Black Star Project is an educational reform organization in the United States. Its focus is on eliminating the racial academic achievement gap by involving parents and communities in the education of children. (Wikipedia)
Will Globalization Destroy Black America?
Phillip Jackson, Executive Director
The lack of response to globalization by Black America is frightening and troubling. While much of the world has adapted to the new-world economy and new-world standards of existence, most of Black America is still operating much the same way it did in the 1950s and 1960s. But now, throughout Black communities in America, there is a whisper campaign by Black people who don’t know each other and Black people who live in different parts of the country, saying to each other, “We are in trouble!” We know it and the rest of the world knows it! Black America, as we know it, is in danger of not surviving globalization.
In the 21st century, there are only two kinds of people. Not Black or White, or rich or poor, or foreign or national. The two kinds of people in the world today are those who are educated and those who are not. Although education has become the new currency of exchange in the 21st century, the old American educational paradigm stopped working decades ago for Black Americans. Simply sending Black children to American schools without a clear purpose or goal has contributed to the demise of the Black community. Black America watched formerly third-world countries catapult over America to become educational super powers while America rested on its old, stale educational laurels and fell way behind much of the world in educational performance. And because Black America unthinkingly depended on the American education system to educate its children, we have fallen way behind.
The solution to the issue of Black America’s poor response to globalization is to 1) Deconstruct value systems that have caused Black people to arrive at the precipice of non-existence; 2) Construct value systems that will rebuild the Black family as a purveyor of positive values, cultures, mores and education, and re-establish the Black family as the primary and most important social unit of our culture and society; 3) Embrace education as the highest value in the Black community; 4) Effectively manage the negative cultural influences that hugely impact the thinking and actions of Black boys; and 5) Understand that for the rest of existence, change is a required part of the living process. The faster Black America is able to put this plan into action, adopt these new principles and manage change, the more likely we will survive.
Today, many Black people seem to be having “cosmic flashbacks” to our time in slavery, which was the first crude effort at globalization that helped to set the stage for today’s globalization. For years, Black America was buffered from modern globalization by political boundaries and economic barriers. Now globalization has come to our country, our cities, our communities, onto our blocks and into our homes, schools and workplaces. Globalization has happened, whether Black America is ready for it or not. We still have time to make the necessary changes that will guarantee that Black people will survive into the 21st century and that we will thrive in this global economy. But there is not much time. With globalization, Black America has entered into the “Educate or Die” era. In this era, there are only two questions worth answering: “Will we change? Can we survive?” How we emerge from this era is up to us.