Letter to the Editor re: Walla Walla Youth UNITE!

Friday, May 8th was a landmark date for young people in Walla Walla. The first major gathering of young activists in Walla Walla: involving youth from Whitman College, Walla Walla Community College (WWCC), Walla Walla University (WWU) and the community: met at Pioneer Park for food, folks fun and the opportunity to discuss and organize around the most important issues confronting our generation.

“The picnic was a thrilling success, not just because of the high turn-out: almost 60 people!: but because everyone there was clearly passionate about their community and excited to be together talking about ways to move it forward” said Camila Thorndike, the leading organizer of the gathering.

The group circled up and everyone took turns sharing the issues and causes that were most important to each person.   Protecting the environment, extending equal access to healthcare and education, and issues of social and economic justice were flagged as key areas of concern.

But the discussion revealed much more than the issues the group cared about most. Pamala Roe, a student at WWU and lifetime Walla Walla resident, put the gathering in context during small group discussions: “Walla Walla is an old persons community: like half the people here are grandparents. This means that anything good for younger generations but not older ones doesn’t have a political prayer,” she said.   “For example, the bond levvy designed to repaire Wa-High loses every time.”

All in all, the ideas people brought to the group generated a palpable energy over the prospect of combining resources, talent, and spirit to give youth a fighting chance.   Chelsae Moore of WWU best articulated what was on everybody’s mind. “I was really excited to see that the three schools are finally making an effort to do something that we can’t do individually,” she said.   “It was clear after the picnic that together we have the opportunity to really do some good in Walla Walla.”

-Will Canine