Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! For now, I’ve returned from my Joiyssey to participate in the "revolution":I’ve been at many Occupy sites across the country:1st in D.C. Freedom Plaza I faced & challenged racism/white supremacy, sexism/patriarchy, classism, heterosexism & eventually was kicked off the island; then I offered workshops as I drove to CA:“Anti-Racism Geared for White Occupiers”; “NO DRONES” "Successes and Pitfalls of OWS"

Monday, May 29, 2006

"No more Memorials" Memorial Day

May 29, 2006
This weekend has been the most intense, most challenging of our entire time here in D.C. As we conclude our 2nd week of Mother's Day MONTH protests, we find ourselves suddenly submerged in pro-war, testosterone-laden energy that now envelops D.C. This incredibly hostile energy is attempting to silence our voices for peace - yet we are womanaging to have our voices heard & our protests witnessed this entire weekend.

Last night at the PBS Memorial Day Concert, we stood outside the gates of the West Lawn of the Capitol and handed out hot pink paper protest slips & pins, with the number of dead U.S. soldiers starkly printed on one side, & 3 different facts of protest printed on the back. Once we were inside, scanning the crowd, we saw many, many people wearing these slips over their hearts. (See 5/28 for details).

Today at the most war-glorifying, soldier-heroing ceremony ever - the ceremony that repeatedly bellowed the lies of this war of spreading freedom & democracy while protecting our freedom & democracy - we stand in the middle of the parade route and represent the voice of peace. We (including our 77 yr. old elder) are spit on, screamed at, threatened, materials snatched from our hands & ripped up, as we stand on the grounds of peace.

Up until this weekend, D.C. has been a fertile ground for growing peace, ending war. We have been reaching 10's of 1000's of people: sometimes 30 to 50 folk at a time, getting off buses or gathering with a tour guide; sometimes one or two individuals sightseeing. Sometimes elementary school children or entire junior high graduating classes. Sometimes tourists from the Benefit Funds Union or from Gadston, Missouri. Sometimes handfuls of visitors from Egypt, from Thailand, from Bolivia. Sometimes 'impeccable' white men dressed in million dollar suits that could be lobbyists, could be legislative aids, could even be congress people - definitely the 'powerful'. Sometimes regular D.C. folks surviving in this city where predominantly white affluence & racism lords so completely over predominantly black poverty & the ravages of racism. Sometimes soldiers in full uniform or in casual everyday clothes; sometimes top brass or enlisted grunts. Sometimes soldiers recently returned from Iraq; sometimes soldiers on their way to Iraq.

Some of our deepest rewards include: the two women from Iran who silently approached us as we stood with our signs, threw their arms around us & wept with us; the first hostile Latina mother of a soldier destined to go to Iraq in a few weeks who broke down & wept with us her sorrow & fear & her truth that neither her nor her son wants (him) to go to Iraq; the young girl, standing silently listening to us reading the names of dead soldiers, who returned to her home state determined to share her experience and speak out against war; the numbers of current military enlisted women & men we handed out GI rights hotline infor to; the accolades & the complaints of legislative-types as we testify 'illegally' at congressional hearings, in hallowed halls, fortressed offices of the 'leaders' of our nation; the police taking us aside & telling us they personally support our efforts for peace; the haunted eyes of the soldier who has orders to return to Iraq who begs us to end this war, saying he's too much of a coward to speak out; the shocked youth who hear us challenge adult authority as we say 'don't trust your recruiter: recruiters lie"; the proud youth who slam their fists to their chests over their hearts and then throw a side-ways peace symbol with a pompous beat in our direction.

The many, many, many people - sometimes 2 out of three - who flash the peace symbol, honk their horns, smile broadly, tear-up quickly, throw their fists in the air, thank us profusely for being here for working for standing against war, against bush, against aggression and for peace for truth for end of war.

We invite you again, come to D.C. Let us not be the silent Germans of the 30's and 40's' let us not be the ones who trade our security of our not-at-risk affluence, lifestyles, daily lives, luxuries of homes, food, jobs for turning a mostly blind eye on rape, murder, depleted uranium, torture, bombing, killing, destruction.

Come to D.C. Donate so others can come and/or stay in D.C. Right now, our CodePINK East Bay Office is in jeopardy - Sam cannot cover the rent for last month nor this month. We are in danger of loosing this fabulous, visible CodePINK space on Solano Ave in Albany unless someone(s) steps forward now, before the first.

We know many of you have contributed so much & we are all so grateful. And we are asking for more if at all possible. The times are demanding more, from all of us. We need to double, to triple, to 10 times 10 increase our activism & our commitment to ending this war - or yet another year, another 100's of thousands of human lives will be taken in our name and the blood on our hands will be the blood on our elbows, our feet, our hearts.

We have room in D.C. - mostly futon & pad space - in Hillary's House at $10 per night. Get on the plane, the bus, the bike - just come.

the parade

It seems to be twice as hot & muggy as yesterday. We are up early, making more flyers, updated numbers – 2465 – and posters. We decide to carry the “Troops Home NOW” banner. We are all determined to spread peace today.

Jan has picked us up & will give us a ride to the beginning of the parade. Normally we walk but it must be 300 degrees & we’re carrying a hundred extra pounds in moisture. And we’re late.

I can’t allow my attention to focus on the parade – young, young boys in uniforms, children, a little older boys in ‘play’ military uniforms, every sort of ugly weapon casually slung over another males’ shoulder not to mention the ones on a zillion wheels.

We have marched up 5th St & met the parade as it veered down Constitution. The crowd is palpably hostile; several begin ranting when they realize we’re standing for peace.

A newsperson wants to take our picture – he’s talking on his phone & tells his editor he wants to take a picture of the anti-american protestors. I tell him we are anti-war, we want no more memorials ever, we want our troops home now. He assures me he knows what we want. He takes our picture but doesn’t do an interview…

Toby is holding her preferred ‘real face of war’, the U.S. soldier with the bloody baby. She gets into an intense conversation with several by-standers. The rest of us head on down the parade route. I hand out numbers to the by-standers who will take them.

Not many folks are taking numbers today. I ask every single person standing or sitting on the south side of the parade route. The few who do take the number smile deeply into my eyes & I feel fortified.

I see a group of young, mostly people of color sitting lined up on the curb. I approach them with the number, thinking surely they’ll take it. To a T, they smile politely and decline. I’m disappointed but determined.

At the end of the row, an old, paunchy white male with some veterans cap slipping down one side of his head, starts screaming at me, calling me a traitorous bitch & I don’t belong at this parade, let alone in this country.

I tell him he does not have to speak to me that way. His spittle has blended with the waves of heat & humidity permeating the space. He continues to scream at me to ‘just go, just get out of here’.

As I shake my head at his obnoxious belligerence, one of the young men who politely declined taking a number, reaches out his hand & asks me for the number. Everyone sitting on the curb follows suit.

I ask the old white man if he wants to accompany me thru the crowd – I tell him he’s a great voice for peace & democracy.

He mutters ‘it’s the wrong day to do this’. I do not let him have the last word: “no, it is always the right day to do what is right” (paraphrasing MLK)

THE parade

It seems to be twice as hot & muggy as yesterday. We are up early, making more flyers, updated numbers – 2465 – and posters. We decide to carry the “Troops Home NOW” banner. We are all determined to spread peace today.

Jan has picked us up & will give us a ride to the beginning of the parade. Normally we walk but it must be 300 degrees & we’re carrying a hundred extra pounds in moisture. And we’re late.

I can’t allow my attention to focus on the parade – young, young boys in uniforms, children, a little older boys in ‘play’ military uniforms, every sort of ugly weapon casually slung over another males’ shoulder not to mention the ones on a zillion wheels.

We have marched up 5th St & met the parade as it veered down Constitution. The crowd is palpably hostile; several begin ranting when they realize we’re standing for peace.

A newsperson wants to take our picture – he’s talking on his phone & tells his editor he wants to take a picture of the anti-american protestors. I tell him we are anti-war, we want no more memorials ever, we want our troops home now. He assures me he knows what we want. He takes our picture but doesn’t do an interview…

Toby is holding her preferred ‘real face of war’, the U.S. soldier with the bloody baby. She gets into an intense conversation with several by-standers. The rest of us head on down the parade route. I hand out numbers to the by-standers who will take them.

Not many folks are taking numbers today. I ask every single person standing or sitting on the south side of the parade route. The few who do take the number smile deeply into my eyes & I feel fortified.

I see a group of young, mostly people of color sitting lined up on the curb. I approach them with the number, thinking surely they’ll take it. To a T, they smile politely and decline. I’m disappointed but determined.

At the end of the row, an old, paunchy white male with some veterans cap slipping down one side of his head, starts screaming at me, calling me a traitorous bitch & I don’t belong at this parade, let alone in this country.

I tell him he does not have to speak to me that way. His spittle has blended with the waves of heat & humidity permeating the space. He continues to scream at me to ‘just go, just get out of here’.

As I shake my head at his obnoxious belligerence, one of the young men who politely declined taking a number, reaches out his hand & asks me for the number. Everyone sitting on the curb follows suit.

I ask the old white man if he wants to accompany me thru the crowd – I tell him he’s a great voice for peace & democracy.

He mutters ‘it’s the wrong day to do this’. I do not let him have the last word: “no, it is always the right day to do what is right” (paraphrasing MLK)