Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Solemn Greenville

I arrive at Congressman Jones’ office about 4:45p.m. to find several CodePINKers waiting and the Office staff disappeared!

Hmmmm – this is the first time across the country that at the very least the staff has not been willing to meet with us.

On my way into Greenville, a couple of gorgeous wimmin in a gorgeous little red sports car with a black top, have pulled along side me to wave and yell ‘right on’ up at me. I ask them for directions and invite them to join us. They do!!!!

We have also been joined by a reporter and a camerawomon as we express our deep disappointment in the staff’s slipping out the door without talking with us. We promise to follow-up in the next few days and have high hopes that Congressman Jones, although Republican, will join the growing numbers of Republicans who are heeding the Mandate for Peace that his constituents have given him in November.

We hold banners on both sides of the busiest, 8 lane highway in Greenville – a GREAT place for a demo! The majority of cars that zoom by are silent, although so many are positive that the native Greenville cp’er holding the banner with me is surprised! She talks about how different times are now –how even a few months ago we would have gotten booed and maybe even driven at!

Rockin' Raleigh!

The day is still gorgeous, bright and sunny, yet cold as I easily find the next stop in Raleigh North Carolina. I still can’t believe I’m in North Carolina!

I am the only one there when I arrive, although I am 30 minutes early. I’m almost immediately joined by a tall, white male well-dressed and sporting camera equipment who tells me he’s the CNN affiliate news station for Raleigh.

We begin speaking about the war in Iraq. I can tell by the comments he makes, that he has a general knowledge that doesn’t give him the tools to sharply counter arguments for occupying Iraq. I spend our 15 minutes together before we are joined by other CodePINKers to rectify his missing information.

Again, about a dozen or so CodePINKers, two different TV stations, and a progressive radio show fellow join us to stand a both corners of the busy street in front of the Congressman’s office. We have put out the WITS and Real Face of War displays, and are able to hold up several banners and signs as well.

We head up to the Congressman’s Office

Next stop Durham - to be continued

I’m a few minutes late driving into Durham and I’m relieved to see several CodePINKers standing in front of the building that is housing the next congressperson. I drive around the block, find the entrance into the building’s driveway and enter.

Folks have moved forward to the sidewalk as I park the truck. A security guard approaches me, smiling friendly young African-American man. He asks me if I need help, as I am opening the back of the truck. He also tells me apologetically that I cannot park there, but he allows me to continue unloading.

“I’m on your side” he says loudly. And then he starts suggesting other places close by that I could park, including an empty lot across the street. He helps me unload and then returns to his post on the steps, giving me space to greet the other protestors.

About a dozen folks have showed up for this mid-morning action in the freezing cold bright Durham daylight, including a newspaper reporter and a tv journalist. Yeah! More press!

Greensboro Congressman Miller - to be continued

Sunny is very eloquent and energetic as she speaks about needing the Congressman’s support to bring home our troops NOW. We are meeting with his staff – the Congressman is in D.C., as is his chief of staff.

The womon is hoping we have petitions to drop off or signatures on something maybe. She talks about the great relationship Raleigh CodePINK has with the office and how they appreciate this relationship.

I try to bring the discussion back to ending war and reiterate the need for the Congressman to ACT against war, not just talk against war. We talk about the money, about how the issue is to allocate funds to bring our troops safely home or to allocate funds to continue the war effort.

This staffer is not familiar with the Congressman’s position on Barbara Lee’s new resolution but will pass on the message. We talk more about the origins and purposes of CodePINK. Sunny is brillian and well-informed as she talks of our need to build peace through social justice. I find out later she is a wimmin’s studies major and again I feel such hope for the future – providing we all step up to the plate and ensure that these young wimmin have a future!

I can easily see this young womon leading the country, let alone the world!

We meet another young womon when we return to the truck. She greets us heartily, loving the message, and declaring we HAVE to stop those fools – just what I had been thinking. Sunny takes down her info – she is interested in joining CodePINK! And I think we’ve a great beginning for a new CodePINK chapter in Greensboro!

Greensboro early morning - to be continued

Driving into Greensboro following the early morning dawn, I am delighted to be stopped by the flashing red lights and long arms of the railroad crossing. I sit patiently, listening to the roar of the train speeding by, and try to remember the last time I had to sit at the tracks waiting and waiting.

I’m further delighted when I drive down the narrow, 2 laned Elm Street – I’ve passed Maple and Oak and Pine I’m sure – and easily find the Congressman’s Office right in the middle of downtown. And right across from the Woolworths!!! I’m tempted to go in and see if they still have the collapsible orange striped baskets with the wooden and metal handles that adults picked up for shopping around the store!

I find as espresso shop just opening a few blocks down Elm, which has several modern buildings scattered between the many, old red brick store fronts where it appears small businesses can still make it in this town. There is no evidence of Wal-Mart or Macy’s!

Returning to my truck, several more African-Americans wave and whistle! I motion folks to join me, but they don’t pause. I search my memory to see if I can remember who is supposed to be joining me this morning. One of the more pessimistic cp’ers living here has warned me about how busy most wimmin in North Carolina are, taking care of children, husbands (or not), and working. This is a very last minute action. I have assured her that I would do it without anyone – the important thing is that the stand for Peace is made, not the number of folks standing – although I appreciate numbers!

No one has shown up by 8:10 so I decide the least I can do is to stand a block down where there seems to be lots of traffic heading east on a larger 4 laned one-way street. I can see the truck and the Congressman’s Office as well as influence lots of drivers.

I take a couple of signs on posts out of the back of the truck and head for the corner. People drive by, read the signs, and at first there’s not much reaction. Then folks warm up and start waving and honking.

Of course, the single, ubiquitous angry white man , undercover cop with shaved head in an unmarked police car who would be so bland if not for his rage, shouted “we have to get them there or they’ll be over here getting us”.

I still don’t have a quick, challenging comment to fling back – and these fellows move fast – so I try to get him to stop for a moment. He has pulled over to the sidewalk to lean over and yell at me.

I ask him how many countries is he willing to attack and kill civilians so they won’t attack us? How many people are you prepared to kill all over the world as you tell yourself you’re doing this to protect you – you are not doing this to take their oil?

He turns out to be the ONLY negative response we get that morning. An amazing, bright, young white womon joins me shortly after the undercover cop speeds off. I return to the truck with banners, as Sunny is willing to stand holding banners.

As I jog up the street, past a modern building sitting on the corner with rows of mirrored windows high up around the 4th thru 6th stories maybe, I notice several beautiful little birds scattered on the sidewalk. They have yellow green bellies and wings that shimmer making the mirrored building look dark compared to their glory.

A young man in a blue uniform with a long stick is picking up garbage – he has already given me a shy, wide smile and peace sign. I sadly point out the birds and we both shake our heads in wonder. Now I notice there must be 8 or 10 of them – they are appearing as if by magic.

When I return from my truck to the corner, Sunny and I mourn briefly for the little lives. The young man has returned with 7 or 8 other young blue uniformed men with long sticks and they all pick up the birds and put them in waiting dark green trash bags.