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Shar Lichty

Shar Lichty is the lead organizer for the Peace and Justice League of Spokane (PJALS). She works for an end to the death penalty and in Anti-war protests, as well as many other important issues.

Interview by Melia Wilbur, May 2014 

            Peace means different things on different levels. Inner peace for me means that I personally am not conflicted by internal conflict and I do not allow outside conflict to influence my inner sense of balance and peace. Overall, peace is a general lack of conflict and chaos. Peace can be obtained by true justice and equality…for all. I stand up against uneven distribution of wealth and poverty, discrimination, and oppression. Without resources being distributed fairly, peace is not possible. My life was filled with violence but that encourages me to follow and practice nonviolence as a philosophy in my life. PJALS uses nonviolence as a lens to see injustice and the power structure and that philosophy is healing for me on a personal level.

            My work is a fight for justice and equality for all. I believe that nonviolence is the pathway to creating true peace. Absolute peace will not be accomplished in my lifetime, however, whatever I can do to promote it further for my kids and grandkids, that’s better than nothing. The work of PJALS locally and abroad is working for the true promotion of peace. I see the interconnectedness of all of the issues, which go locally and internationally.

            To promote peace internationally and locally we need to organize because it is the people that have power. Those who are making policies and systems that are unjust and inequitable, they only have the power that we the people allow them to have. There needs to be more awareness about our differences to see our commonalities so we can come together around shared values. This will get us to a place where we can embrace our differences. These ideals may be too far off and utopian but this understanding and awareness is happening more and more. This country is getting more diverse and that will in turn, lead to more peace and understanding as well. I am very hopeful about the future because the young students are really becoming activists.

            To effectively promote peace, the top one percent need to care and help create equality for those they work with. Also, I would encourage others to promote peace by getting involved in organizations. However the most important thing is to be an educated voter. Civic engagement is the most important thing to promoting peace and stopping the cycle of inequality and injustice. We must become informed voters and critical thinkers. I encourage those studying peace to look at the history of people who have made social change and emulate them.