CWU News

Day of Action Sparks Community Connections and Social Justice in Ellensburg

Central Washington University will be hosting a full day of activism-focused events on Thursday, May 12. Known as the “Day of Action,” participants from CWU and the Ellensburg community will explore advocacy and social justice, and the roles students can play in it. 

The event culminates in a Unity March to Unity Park (formerly Rotary Pavilion) in downtown Ellensburg, where attendees and community members can enjoy the Ellensburg Block Party. Day of Action is spearheaded by Teresa Divine, a Law and Justice professor and faculty fellow for the CWU Provost, and includes partners from the Diversity and Equity Center, Student Leadership, the Involvement and Community Engagement office, and Museum of Culture and Environment.  

“This project is about community engagement,” Divine said. “It’s about students being engaged with the activities going on in Ellensburg and around the country.”

Starting with opening remarks at 9 a.m. in the SURC Pit, attendees can engage in letter-writing campaigns, sign making, and workshops that discuss details about the savior complex and “voluntourism,” or the act of traveling specifically for volunteering opportunities. A community activist panel will feature guests from the APOYO Food Bank, Helen House and Central Washington Justice for our Neighbors. The panel will center around the question of “how should students engage with activism?”

At 4 p.m., attendees will meet in front of Black Hall to take a group photo and begin the Unity March to Unity Park. The march is an opportunity to engage in direct action with others passionate about social justice advocacy.

Led by CWU Leadership and Management students, the Ellensburg Block Party will feature free food, games and prizes, and many more opportunities to bridge gaps within the community and foster a unified platform for collective activism. The block party is a culmination of efforts for a group of students who planned it as their Management 478 final project. 

The group—consisting of Jaeda Nelson, Jaden Barrie, Ulises Neponoceno, and Kyle Brown—has been working on the event throughout spring quarter. With the day of the event fast approaching, they can reflect on the ways their time at CWU will help them bring about change in the future.

The Day of Action coincides with the Museum of Culture and Environment’s exhibit, “Calls to Action: Protest Signs from Ellensburg.” The exhibit, open until June 11, displays a collection of protest signs from Ellensburg donated by local activist Todd Mildon. They feature calls for an end to racism, support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and immigration reform, among other messages.

A full program of events is available on the Day of Action’s website.

Media contact: Rune Torgersen, Department of Public Affairs,, 509-963-1264