Olympia lost beloved community member Hali Panneton on March 12, 2020. Hali was 63 and passed unexpectedly at home from a cardiac event. Due to limitations on gatherings during the pandemic, her memorial celebration was held this summer on June 22, which is Hali’s date of birth.
Hali was a much relied on WIP proofreader, photographer, distribution volunteer and writer for over a decade beginning in the early 1990s.
She did long-term outreach in the Olympia area to grow awareness of the political imprisonment of Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Hali is perhaps best known and honored for holding a four week hunger fast and vigil in 1994 on the Washington State Capitol steps supporting clemency for Leonard Peltier. Hali ended her fast after then Governor Mike Lowry sent a letter to the President supporting clemency for Leonard.
Since her arrival in Olympia in 1988, Hali participated in a myriad of actions towards social and environmental justice. In her 40s, she did frontline forest protection, participating in human blockades to stop the killing of trees above the Dosewallips River in the Olympics. Hali organized to save a low-income trailer park in East Olympia from being demolished and developed into a Walmart. That effort led to creating a land trust of Candlewood Manor, securing it as low-income affordable housing.
In addition to Works in Progress, Hali volunteered her time with many organizations including Safeplace, the Olympia Food Co-op, the Capitol Theater, Media Island, Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace and United 4 Peace of Thurston County (to name just a few!) She was an advocate for animals and land. Hali was a gifted community activist and organizer. She made natural connections between different groups of people, always striving towards movement building.