This page presents a publicly available data set consisting of 546 individual calendars starting in Oct 1996 and going through October 2009, when the data was collected. While not wholly inclusive, this data set represents the most conclusive single source for activist events in the Seattle area, covering a 13 year period. The files are available by request.
About the calendar
The listing of activist events is typically an ad-hoc process, distributed among a wide range of calendars and venues. This is certainly the case in Seattle, with events related to particular issue areas distributed through a range of “old” and “new” media outlets. However, many of these calendar listings get their information from a single source that acts as the go-between for activists interested in getting their events listed, and editors in need of events to list. This calendar is the Seattle Peace and Justice Events Calendar, edited by Jean Buskin. The calendar is currently distributed via email to around 4-500 individuals, some of who draw on the calendar in producing their own events listings and via an online listing. The calendar is a weekly publication, consisting of about 40-50 single spaced pages listing both recurring and one-time events. While Jean Buskin has received some help over the years, the effort is largely a result of her consistent volunteer effort in collecting, compiling and distributing activist events.
Jean Buskin described the calendar as follows in an email written in October of 2009:
In the late 1980s, I started compiling lists of events in the Seattle area relating to the US role in Central America. Many local groups were opposing US intervention and working in solidarity with oppressed people. I was involved with Pledge of Resistance; other groups included CISPES and GUASO. I expanded my list to include events relating any kind of US military intervention or US support of oppressive regimes around the world. Later I added other justice events, including those relating to racial justice, environment, gay rights, and other topics. On this expansion, I started calling the calendar “peace & justice events Seattle area”.
The calendar changed in its method of distribution: paper to email and web. And as it became better known, it expanded. My method of receiving information also changed from mailed newsletters and phone calls, to now almost exclusively via email.
Over the years, there have been 2 volunteers, each of whom worked for a period to verify recurring events. Another volunteer took over for 3 weeks when I was in jail for nonviolent civil disobedience. Another person wrote some guidelines about making events accessible for people with disabilities. Calendar users have made many suggestions about how to make the calendar more useful. A volunteer at Seattle Community Network wrote the program to convert one text file into separate monthly calendars with hyperlinks. I am grateful to all these people.
Inclusion of events is subjective, based on my perception of what is a p&j event, and also based on how much time I have. Some events are strictly cultural, giving preference to underrepresented cultures. Of course, the organizations I’m personally involved with, such as Fellowship of Reconciliation, are overrepresented. (Not that these are not necessarily more important, but I know about them!) The p&j calendar is never inclusive – there are always lots of events I don’t hear about. I often struggle over the decision of whether to include an event, and I often have strong disagreements with part of the policies of event organizers. I occasionally add a comment of support or disagreement in [square brackets], but I try to use the words of the event organizers in the calendar item description.
The main thing I think would improve the calendar is some kind of indexing of events to help people search for particular topics. Right now, I don’t have the time or skills to make that improvement.
If you would like to list an event or offer your services in improving the calendar you can contact Jean Buskin at bb369(AT)scn.org.
Description of the data set
This data set consists of 546 individual calendars written and distributed over a 13 year period, starting in Oct 1996 and ending in October 2009, when the data set was collected. The calendars list both recurring and one-time events and average about 40-50 single spaced pages each. The files are stored in a .zip file containing two sets of files. The main folder is all files after Jean went to a .rtf format (1999-2009). The sub-folder contains older files (starting in March 1999, and going back to October 1996) that are in .doc format and have a different naming convention. The older files are often versions for the same month that were written over (i.e., there were multiple calendars for the month, but only the last version for the month was archived), so there may not be as many files per month in this section, and if there is only one file for the month it represents the last week of that month.
If you use this dataset for research, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. We would like to list your work here when it is published or publicly available.
You can cite the data set as follows:
The Peace and Justice Events Calendar for Seattle Archive, 1996-2009. Center for Communication and Civic Engagement. http://ccce.com.washington.edu/wordpress/projects/political-participation/peace-and-justice-events-archive/
The Peace and Justice Events Calendar is produced by Jean Buskin, with technical support from the Seattle Community Network.
The person responsible for collecting the calendar archive and coordinating its presentation here is Amoshaun Toft, atoft(AT)u.washington.edu, PhD Candidate in the Department of Communication, University of Washington.
Inspiration for collecting the calendar can be credited to Jennifer Hadden, PhD Candidate in the Department of Government, Cornell University.
Thanks to W. Lance Bennett, Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication and director of the CCCE for agreeing to host the archive and Kristina Bowman, Program Operations Specialist for writing the code you are now reading.