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"

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Report Back on Hold our Ground for Peace trip thus far! to be continued

July 29th, 2007

Dearest CodePINKers Holding our Ground for Peace!

First I want to say that it has been such an honor, privilege and inspiration to meet and work with some of the MOST active, MOST courageous, MOST determined Amazon CP’ers, WILPF’ers, Women Against War, and allies from Atlanta to Boston to Saratoga Springs to Detroit to Hammond to Dubuque and every place in between.

THANK YOU. Together we are truly INVINCIBLE and we WILL end war NOW!

The Number ONE passionate issue and complaint that is coming up over and over again as I travel, meet and work with womyn from diverse areas of the north east and mid-west is NOT ENOUGH WOMYN ARE WILLING TO GET INVOLVED!

Please see my blog July 22nd that addresses this in depth but for here, I see US as those fierce, active womyn willing to be involved, DETERMINED to be involved, and committed to being involved!

The Number TWO most urgent view is the recognition that this September we the people HAVE to do everything in our power to make Congress represent us – especially those masses that are not speaking loudly.

I see us as forming a web thru out the nation – there maybe less than the desired number of protestors standing on the corner at one time, but all across the nation, in every little or huge town, whether there’s a sidewalk or a dirt path, womyn, children and men are standing.

This is a connecting-us-all-together report back from my trip focusing on womyn’s commitments to Hold Our Ground action in September, bringing us all up to date and on the same page – hopefully!~! (For a more detailed report about the actions, check out my blog at www.codepinkjournals.blogspot.com) I will organize this report by the 8 states I have actually Peace-In’d thus far – PLEASE let me know if I’ve inadvertently and certainly unintentionally left anyone out. I will report back later about those states that I have not yet visited but have been in contact with cp’ers there.

Massachusetts:

BOSTON

CP Meeting:
I attended the delightful monthly meeting of the Boston-area CP’ers, who were busy planning a Phone-In, representing CP at an anti-war coalition meeting, and going off to the WILPF conference.

I spread the Hold Our Ground word, which they might consider as a chapter for their next action after the above has been accomplished! Individual womyn have joined the list serve & we welcome them!

Womyn drummers:
Laura, an awesome drummer connected to the Boston area womyn’s drumming community and who has a teacher from western Mass, is putting out the call for womyn to come to D.C. and drum during the 5 days of empowerment!

WESTERN MASS

CodePINK Local Coordinators Meeting:
I met with the awesome local coordinators for Western Mass, Priscilla and Tish! They are focusing presently on the huge anti-war action planned for the weekend of the 25th of August in Kennebunkport when Bush is expected in town.

They are willing to spread the word, especially to the womyn drumming and activist community and commit to coming to D.C. at some point, to be decided!

They want us all to come to Maine for the weekend of the 25th & I have promised to help spread that word as well!

New York:

SARATOGA SPRINGS & GLENS FALLS

Peace-In:
Around 20 activists (and one newspaper reporter) came to vigil in front of and later to Peace-In in Gillibrand’s office, who is the ONLY democrat in NY who voted to fund the continued occupation and escalation against Iraq. Womyn spoke ardently of Kirsten’s betrayal and our determination to hold her to ending the funding for war.

There is no official CP chapter in Saratoga, although Nancy did step forward to organize; Mabel (?) recently returned from the CP house in D.C. and might take on local coordinator, we hope!

Also there is an awesome active Women Against War group in the area who is willing to spread the word re:Hold our Ground!

After our action, several young womyn approached me & the CP truck, asking about getting involved. Many of these individual womyn have joined the list serve & we welcome them!
HUDSON VALLEY

I spoke with the awesome local coordinator Annie who is organizing furiously in the beautiful Hudson Valley area, that was too far south for me to go this trip! I have passed on this call and signed her up on the list!

ALBANY

Maud & Women Against War:
The Albany area has a wonderful, active Women Against War organization that was able to put out the word and come to the Gillibrand Peace-In.

One of the Women Against War activists, Mary?, gave me one of the best flyers about Iran I have seen, and I have been passing out all over. Please email me if you want a copy!

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK

Rochester CodePINK:
Cynthia, the awesome local coordinator in Rochester, was out of the state – in California actually – when I was in New York! Tears! I was so looking forward to meeting and connecting with her, as I have admired her writings for some time now. We have not yet connected but have left voice mails indicating our interest!

Anti-War Crisis Center
I passed through Rochester during the wee hours (at least to those activists – they didn’t open until 1:00pm) of the morning and was so pleased to visit the outside of this awesome Anti-War Crisis Center.

From what I could see on the outside, there was an extensive calendar with tons of meetings & event announcements; flyers on the windows informing me of support groups and organizing committees; and newspaper & information articles posted as well. I left flyers about our Summer of Protest: Hold Our Ground for Peace, and the Iran flyers. Hopefully they will spread the word!

Ohio

CLEVELAND

Peace-Ins:
Both Senators, one republican & one democrat, have offices within 3 blocks of each other so we have actions at each office!

Several womyn came from over an hour away to participate, take flyers, and will consider coming to D.C. for Hold our Ground.

One womon is a performer; several are speaking out and standing up for the first time! Everyone expressed interest in working on coming to D.C. and getting more Ohio womyn involved!

Womyn were well informed and spoke passionately on the megaphone and in person to staff, determined to hold both senators accountable.

Carla, the awesome local coordinator for Cleveland, was in Detroit during this action. She is already a seasoned CodePINK D.C. house activist, and expressed her interest in working with other Ohio womyn to end war and to come to D.C. in September.


TOLEDO

Peace-In:
I met Anna, a dynamic MFSO member and mother of children in the military stationed in Iraq presently or have been there, at the Peace-In here. We went upstairs to speak with Voinovich’s regional director. Anne was eloquent, fierce, and spoke with the authority of a mother whose children experienced Iraq.

Anna, recently unemployed, wants to work hard with other Ohio cp’ers, will devote lots of her time organizing in Ohio and will come to D.C. December 10th.

COLUMBUS

Womyn healers & drummers:
Linda & Laurel, activists, healer, and drummer, have promised to put the word out to the womyn’s healing and drumming communities in the Columbus area. I did not have time to do an action in Columbus but did also meet two former soldiers who took flyers, will spread the word, and have promised to join us in D.C.

Michigan

DETROIT

NOW
I attended the NOW conference, handed out tons of flyers, and signed a few womyn up on the list and extracted promises from others they will go home, seriously consider coming, and will attempt to get others interested. The leadership of NOW really wants a womon president, as do we all. They do not appreciate the holding Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton, accountable for their votes promoting war. They see us holding Hillary to higher standards than we would a male. Hmmmm. I asked them to think about that.

Peace-In
The wonderful Grannies, a NOW womon and a Vet for Peace joined us to speak with Debbie Stabenow’s Regional Director for almost an hour. The Grannies feel unable to travel to D.C. yet once again but will spread the word & work with other womyn in helping them get to D.C.

One womon, Doris, committed to be in D.C. from September 1st!

Vigils: Wyandotte & Farmington
I met Pam, the amazing organizer of this great weekly Wyandotte vigil that has 30 to 40 supporters, and her wonderful Mom, who longs to go to D.C. but is concerned about her health. She is willing to work with another to organize buses from the Detroit area for those womyn who are able to go. Several other womyn signed up on the list serve.

At the other vigil at Farmington, that also has around 40 participants, several womyn are seriously considering going, especially Dylan, a young awesome activist womon with pink streaks in her hair!

MEG
After attending two vigils and two Peace-Ins in the Detroit area, as well as the NOW conference, we had a MEG - Meet, Eat & Greet – in Dearborn. We were a small group, 7 with 2 joining later, yet dynamic, brilliant and innovative. Several more ideas came from this group:

Diane proposed a National Strike, should congress vote so diametrically opposed to the will of the people, including our soldiers, continuing the occupation of Iraq. Donna suggested a Lady Godiva action! Carla, suggesting we have 50 womyn goal from each state, is ready to commit, organize, and work harder than ever to make sure Congress stops funding in September. Mary Lou is so informed, brilliant, and committed to taking the word to Ann Arbor and working to spread the word & get 50 womyn from that end of the state together. Jan intends to have an organizing brunch in the beginning of August before the huge Saturday vigil to organize womyn around her. Celeste and Trina are taking the word to churches and work to get womyn involved.

Indiana

FT WAYNE

Peace-in
Reconnecting in the farmlands of Indiana with the AWESOME Nancy Hill, who will be returning to Tucson shortly, was beautiful, as well as spiritually & politically restorative. In her calm, competent way, she got the word out, notified the right folks, and handled divisiveness with kind firmness.

Betty Jean, Jacqui, and Amy are three awesome womyn who, together with the rest of us, form an invincible team. Betty Jean brings so many talents as well as experience from writing briefs to filing suits to fighting for womyn’s rights. Jacqui, whom we met in the library, is an awesome journalist and activist; and Amy, whom we met at the organic coop, is a dynamic mom of young children, is determined to end war now as well.

Kathy and Boo also came to the Vigil and Peace-In, signed up, and are considering how they want to be involved.

Instead of (or besides) trying to find 50 CodePINKers in Indiana, these womyn suggest identifying 10 organizations, groups, like-minded entities in their communities and then finding 5 womyn within each to commit to coming to D.C.

UU & Brethren
There are at least two churches in Ft Wayne that consider themselves Peace churches; one has a very active videographer and activist, Dave, who will help spread the word as well – he posts to U-Tube, organizes actively, offers support generously.

SOUTH BEND
My truck broke down in South Bend so I was distracted but I did meet Darlene, Cathy and several other awesome womyn at our Peace-In & Vigil in front of Senator Bayh’s office. They also have a weekly vigil a block away where I met more awesome activists. Kathy is a military mom as well as a great spokesperson. Everyone is spreading the word and considering going.

HAMMOND
Again, I was so fortunate to reconnect with another awesome cp’er Nina, who I’d met at the CP House in D.C. in January. Nina, who now lives south of Hammond, picked me up many miles east of Hammond where my truck broke down & was finally fixed correctly, schlepped me around her state and far into Illinois so we could go to the next Peace-In and Vigil in Springfield.

A couple dozen dedicated protestors came to the vigil & peace-in here, took flyers, and a three-generation team, mother, daughter & grand-daughter, all are determined to come to D.C. to hold Congress accountable. Anita, Sam, and Myrna are willing to bottom-line housing in D.C., should we need housing – if we have enough womyn to stay in the streets, we will. If not, this awesome family will work to find some housing alternatives.

Illinois

SPRINGFIELD

Peace-In
Five of us, including two powerful womyn whose sons are/were soldiers in Iraq, attempted to speak with Durbin’s staff without an appointment. Staff refused to invite us in, citing Homeland Security suggestion to bar protestors from entry to Durbin’s offices.

Dariana and Cindy are both eloquent and talented spokeswomyn and awesome cp activists. Both have been and are willing to organize Springfield/Peoria Illinois Areas womyn and to come to D.C.

Missouri:

ST LOUIS
I totally missed the action in both St. Louis and Columbia – but it did not miss meeting
with two wonderful, fierce, old-time union organizers, movers, and shakers Hedy & Myrna. They both love the action, and insist we need to get the unions on board if we are to have a successful national strike. They are both taking our action to the unions, peace groups, womyn of St. Louis.

Cindi, from Portland, suggested we plan a “Walk-Out” on September 21st, no matter what – especially if Congress has not yet voted on additional funding.

SPRINGFIELD

More than a dozen protestors joined the Peace-In & Vigil in front of Senator McCaskill’s Office, which happened to be closed for the day even though we were told they’d be open by 9:00a.m.

Several womyn are seriously considering coming to D.C. although it seems a hard stretch for them – but they might!!!

KANSAS CITY

Peace-In
We were warmly welcomed into Senator Clair McCaskill’s office in Kansas City by staff who listened carefully and took copious notes promising to let the Senator know. She also suggested we go to the Kitchen Talks that staff does around the state.

The two womyn who went upstairs to McCaskill’s office felt they were not physically able to make the trip to D.C. but took flyers to hand out and promised to spread the word.

Iowa:

IOWA CITY

March for Peace
I met up with Ashley and the March for Peace team – the awesome young folks that are marching from San Francisco to D.C. for peace! About 2 dozen protestors met them in a shady park about 5 miles from downtown Iowa City and we marched (in 100+ degree weather) into the city, where dozens more protestors met the March for Peace team and vigiled for about a half hour.

I gave Ashley the info about coming to D.C. and she will spread it around on the rest of her trip. She’ll be heading thru southern Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia into D.C.

One of the protestors and a military mom, Lois is considering becoming a local coordinator for Iowa City CP!

Des Moines
Even though I have only been in Iowa since Friday, I’ve connected with several awesome womyn. Kerry and Jamie are excited about being local coordinators for Des Moines, although they want a third womyn to join them; and Linda & Denise from Ritual Café are connected with the womyn’s drumming community & will spread the word about D.C. and 5 days of drumming.

That’s all she wrote! More of Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado coming up!

CodePINK: Providing a strong voice for womyn!

Speaking of providing a strong voice for womyn, I want to address the issue of men being invited into CodePINK meetings.

I recently attended such a cp meeting where the decision has been made to invite men to participate in their meetings. “George” reported, at this meeting, in great length on the details of that decision.

I was dismayed, not so much to see George at the meeting, for there are men who on occasion have come to many cp meetings I’ve attended.

I was dismayed to hear him, when introducing himself, to go on and on in great detail (although he was not there) about the process the womyn of this chapter went through to make that decision. He could not help but condescend at best when putting into his words the intent of the womyn whose voices expressed a commitment to have meetings womyn-only.

Not one womyn, including myself, stepped forward to correct or stop him yet everyone seemed uncomfortable if not singled out & attacked. I missed the opportunity to stop his recital, and just check in with everyone to see if this was really okay with the womyn present.

It felt like George was staking out his territory, gloating to establish his legitimacy – especially when I found out the decision to invite men was made almost a year ago, and not yesterday, yet he still felt the need to revisit and rehash it.

Later in the meeting, when George began to narrate in detail the torture of a womon from a movie, I was again horrified. I thought his recital was in the very least inappropriate, if not abusive. I don’t know how long these womyn would have allowed him to batter us with these details had I not stopped him but I felt one such detail was one too many.

It is not that I think George is a bad man or that George does not have good ideas. That is NOT the issue. We have listened carefully and wholly supported men’s ideas for centuries.

The point is, it is our turn now. And the CodePINK that I experience is about giving voice to womyn; about providing the space and support for womyn to express ourselves, to be heard, to have our ideas & strategies highly valued.

And even more importantly, CodePINK provides the opportunity for womyn to LEAD.

Men who are able to follow womyn’s lead should certainly be welcome to those actions that are appropriate. I believe it is extremely difficult for most of us – because of all our training & men’s training, and not because men are somehow bad – to amplify womyn’s voices and leadership when men are included in the planning and strategizing sessions.

Again, it is not at all because men are bad or wrong or have terrible ideas. It is about womyn and how we tend to allow men to speak first, the extreme value we put on their words, their ideas, often to the minimizing or exclusion of our own.

And it is about our own self-esteem and confidence and the value we put on ours and each others ideas and words.

Most men feel so comfortable jumping in and talking. And often taking over. And most womyn need practice valuing our ideas, speaking up or lack confidence to ask men to be silent and ‘allow’ the space for womyn to speak.

But why spend meeting time having to deal with this anyway, especially when we have so much vital work to do?

We are also trained to give men’s words & ideas more weight, more seriousness than our own. And men are trained to give their own words & ideas much more weight than womyn’s.

This chapter that I attended the other nite, may decide to continue to invite men into their strategizing and organizing meetings. If they do, I hope they will seriously consider asking men to be silent until every womyn has had a chance to speak, process & decide upon what we’ve said; and asking men to listen carefully, to provide what we deem support, and to be willing to follow the lead of womyn.

I think the best CodePINK policy is to neither exclude nor invite men to our meetings: instead we should simply make it clear that CP is about giving voice to womyn and at those actions where it is appropriate, we welcome men who are willing and able to follow the leadership of CP womyn.

And we will not have to spend another minute on this subject within CodePINK, but will have all our energy & time freed up to focus on ending war.

One more disturbing about George: his email is “my g spot”.