Civil Survival is proud to announce the 2018 launch of its newest Game Changer Group in Thurston County Washington.  The Thurston County Evergreen Game Changers creates unique and exciting new pathways for justice involved individuals to participate in social, political and personal engagement in their community.

The Thurston County Group has a unique connection with The Evergreen State College. It is a registered student organization, which means the group is lead by Evergreen State students for the benefit of Evergreen State students as well as local community members. As Thurston County Evergreen Game Changers continues to grow, there will be opportunity for increased on campus and community presence through the use of continuous events, activities, and collaboration with other student groups.

A distinctive quality of this Game Changer group is that all three coordinators are formerly incarcerated/justice involved Evergreen State students. This is a visual and inspirational representation of Civil Survival as a whole, as it shows that social justice activism is done collectively and passionately.  It also serves as a reminder to all Evergreen students, staff and faculty that leaders come from all backgrounds with different identities. One of the main goals of this group is to reach out to other formerly incarcerated/justice involved Evergreen students so that they have community and a way to get involved with politics to break the cycles of incarceration and recidivism piece by piece.

The three student coordinators, James Jackson, Carolina Landa, and Billy Sweetser, have already made their mark at Evergreen by collaborating with other student groups and campus institutional programs. They are starting a partnership with the Sustainability in Prisons Project, whose mission is to “empower sustainable change by bringing nature, science, and environmental education into prisons.”  The coordinators also recently made contact with the student group Familia and the Gateways for Incarcerated Youth program. Gateways links Evergreen students with youth through academic and peer mentorship. The hope is that seeing formerly incarcerated college students share their personal stories and spread the message of experience, strength, and hope will inspire these young people to further their education.  There is an open mic night with Gateways on April 18th that we plan to attend to support the young artists.

The Thurston County Game Changer Group’s close proximity to the Washington State Capitol also provides many opportunities to form networks and relationships with legislators. The Group partnered with Poverty Action Network on 2018 Lobby Day to urge lawmakers to take action on several social justice issues. They plan to continue their efforts by educating the public as well as state lawmakers about removing barriers to success for justice involved individuals.

The Thurston County Game Changer Group holds regular meetings. The first is the monthly Game Changer Group that takes place on the first Tuesday of every month, from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Daniel J Evans library on the Evergreen Olympia campus, room 1005. The Group also meets every Friday from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the Student Activities Television Lounge area. All interested students and community members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Thurston County Evergreen Game Changers will continue to grow and thrive because of its reliable and passionate leadership and its potential to make a long-lasting impact at Evergreen and within the greater Olympia community. While student organizations are mainly geared toward Evergreen students, this group is open to all community members who are justice involved and the allies whose support is needed in the fight for justice.