Activist in Residence

About

The Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies Program and the Women’s and Gender Education Center are the lead organizers of the Activist in Residence (AiR) program on the EWU campus.

For an eighth year, AiR will bring an activist to work virtually with EWU students, staff, faculty, and community members during winter quarter of 2021. Questions? Reach out to Lisa Logan at 509.359.2898 or llogan83@ewu.edu.

2020 Event Schedule

2020 Activist in Residence: Lili Navarrete

Lili Navarrete

Lili Navarrete immigrated to Spokane with her family from Mexico City in 1988. She graduated from Eastern Washington University with a BA in International Affairs and minors in Economics and Business Administration. Advocacy is central to her career. She is the Director of Public Affairs and Raíz at Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho where she fights for reproductive rights, immigrants, and marginalized communities. She is the Vice President of the Hispanic Business/Professional Association and was recently appointed by Governor Inslee as a Commissioner on Hispanic Affairs. As a member of the Spokane Immigrant Rights Coalition and the Washington Immigration Solidarity Network, she helped steer passage of the Reproductive Health Care Access For All Act and fights against racial profiling in Spokane.

Purpose

  • Work with a variety of campus programs and student groups to develop their commitment to social justice and social change by providing opportunities for students to engage in the community and work on issues of relevance to their lives.
  • Offer students new venues for learning effective organizing tools and methods as future activists, leaders, and community organizers.
  • Provide an Activist-in-Residence who will be a role model for student engagement, inspire students to find their passions as campus and community activists on any number of issues, and help students replace reticence and uncertainty with confidence, courage, and conviction.
  • Strengthen the commitment to community engagement for students, faculty, and staff
  • Enhance community partnerships, and expand internship opportunities for EWU students
  • Provide active role models for students, and inspire students to overcome barriers to community engagement
  • Help students develop leadership skills and abilities, enabling them to become effective activists in their communities
A young woman reads a book in the library
A student explains information on a presentation poster

Activist-in-Residence History

Rowena PinedaOur 2019 Activist in Residence was Rowena Pineda, MEd. Rowena is a Program Manager at the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) where she leads Neighborhoods Matter. Neighborhoods Matter implements community level activities aimed at preventing and mitigating family and community violence. In addition, Rowena is part of SRHD’s health equity team that is working to embed equity in the agency’s various programs and projects. She is a member of the 2018-2019 cohort of the Health Equity Awakened Leadership Fellows program sponsored by Human Impact Partners.

Prior to joining SRHD, Rowena was the Executive Director of the Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN) in Boise, ID, a community-based organization working on racial, economic, and social justice issues. She has extensive experience in community organizing including as a community organizer for the Center for Third World Organizing in Oakland, CA; as the Lead Organizer for Parent Voices in San Francisco, CA; and as the Training Coordinator for the Northwest Federation of Community Organizations (now People’s Action) in Seattle, WA. In between her organizing jobs, Rowena had the opportunity to do a one-year fellowship with The San Francisco Foundation and to be a Program Associate in Child Welfare for the Stuart Foundation. She received her BA in History from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA and her MEd from Holy Names University in Oakland, CA.

Jace BylengaOur 2018 Activist in Residence was Jace Bylenga. Jace has been involved in numerous campaigns to protect our region’s water and environment. He is a dedicated leader, educator, and community organizer who focuses on building sustainable communities while maintaining a commitment to social equity and diversity. He has experience in environmental conservation, climate change, water protection, fossil fuels, and renewable energy. Through the Activist in Residence program, Jace aimed to educate and engage the EWU community in methods of community organizing. This project was a learning laboratory, where participants were able to walk away knowing how to build a grassroots issue campaign all the way from an idea to a solid outcome to fix a problem.

Taylor WeechOur 2017 Activist-in Residence was Taylor Weech, a Spokane-born radio host, writer, and organizer. Since 2012, Weech has hosted a weekly talk radio show on KYRS-FM that explores social change theory through interviews with activists, artists, scholars, and leaders called Praxis. She co-founded the Love & Outrage collective which merges the worlds of art and activism in Spokane and publishes a quarterly zine of the same name. Her main activism home is with the Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS), where she serves as vice-chair of the Steering Committee and coordinates anti-racist education and action through PJALS partnership with SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice). She loves to see people put their talents and passions into action for social justice, helping all kinds of people find a niche within the ecosystem of activism!

Sandra Williams
Our 2016 Activist-in-Residence was Sandra Williams, Publisher and Editor of THE BLACK LENS, Spokane’s African American Community newspaper. Williams is an activist, writer, storyteller, and filmmaker, with an extensive background addressing issues of discrimination, oppression, equity, and social justice.

Williams has been involved in social justice and anti-oppression work for the past 30 years. Most recently she was the Coordinator of the Pride Center at Eastern Washington University, acting as an advocate for

EWU’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans* students, faculty and staff from the spring of 2010 until June of 2015. During her service as Activist-in-Residence, she focused on coming to terms with our biases, working across differences, and “right-brain” activism that harnesses creativity to connect seemingly disconnected issues.

AiR launched in fall 2013 with Liz Moore, Director of Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS). Moore brings an emphasis on Young Activist Leadership Training and community organizing skill development to PJALS. In the 2014-2015 academic year, her second year as the Activist in Residence, Moore focused on student activist training, activist projects, and community engagement.

Liz Moore is the director of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, a 40-year-old Inland Northwest organization, engaging everyday people to build a just and nonviolent world through community organizing and grassroots leadership development for peace, economic justice, and human rights. PJALS’ annual Action Conference is the largest progressive skill-building and relationship-weaving gathering in our region, and the Young Activist Leaders program graduates passionate, highly-skilled, cutting-edge community organizers. Current PJALS campaigns include organizing for police accountability and alternatives to incarceration in Spokane, pushing for alternatives to war and to cut the bloated Pentagon budget to protect social investments and lifeline programs, and closing corporate tax loopholes in Washington state.

Liz began her nearly 20 years of social justice organizing in PJALS’ youth group. Her experience as a social justice educator and organizer includes coalition-building, racial justice organizing, leadership development, strategic communications, movement-model community-based electoral organizing on several initiative campaigns, and a depth of community organizing on a broad array of issues including marriage equality and environmental justice. During her two years as Activist-in-Residence, Moore was on campus for presentations, workshops, activist projects, and organizational meetings.

Sponsors

Lead Sponsors: Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies and Women’s and Gender Education Center

Co-Sponsors: American Indian Studies; Africana Studies; Chicana and Chicano Studies; College of Social Sciences; Disability Studies; Pride Center; M.E.Ch.A.; Office of Community Engagement; PJALS; Race and Culture Studies; Social Work; TRiO-McNair Scholars.

Funding has been provided by the Community Building Foundation, the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, Sonja Matison, and Sally Winkle.