rae's CODEPINK road journal

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

CODEPINK to Hillary and Nancy: Lead Us Out of Iraq Now!

This morning at the Take Back America conference when Senator Hillary Clinton took the stage CODEPINKers held up pink signs reading "Lead Us Out of Iraq Now!" and pleaded with the senator to bring our troops home now, to be a leader in ending the occupation of Iraq. While Hillary made some great promises about offering universal healthcare and ensuring a preschool education for every American child, and reiterated that she voted no on the last Supplemental spending bill to appropriate funds to the war, without her leadership on actually bringing our troops home with a full and immediate troop withdrawal, it remains unclear where funds would come from for these excellent domestic programs, and how we can move forward as a nation. Hillary's commentary about the Iraq war included a commentary about how the US has liberated Iraq from Saddam, helped hold democratic elections, and installed the Iraqi government. Her commentary seemed to blame Iraq for the ongoing violence, which in turn was met with loud boos from the audience. Hillary walked a careful talk today, but it was not convincing to many in the audience, who feel the only way that trust in Hillary could be restored is through her actions to end the war, not her rhetoric. As an aside, Hillary asserted that the US is the oldest democracy. I seem to remember something about Athens appearing in a school textbook. Hillary also stated that the US has the hardest working population in the world. To me, that kind of hubris does not inspire the kind of patriotism I feel for this country and the global community.

CODEPINK protested at Hillary's talk at the Take Back America conference last year as well. This year our message was a proactive one: Hillary, be a leader and bring our troops home! Take action NOW to end the war!

Nancy Pelosi made some excellent comments about listening to young people in this country, who are agitated, don't believe elected officials will take action, and are fed up with the government. She spoke about meeting with people and having dialogues. I asked her to meet with us in San Francisco, as she has yet to meet with the anti-war movement in district. Because we have not be able to meet with her, we've been camping outside her doorstep! Nancy made some excellent points about green jobs and about the need to bring our troops home, and we would like to believe that she will stick to her word--we know that she, as Speaker of the House, can do more to end the US occupation of Iraq, and that's why we were in the audience today with our pink signs and loud voices for peace, demanding that these elected officials lead us out of Iraq!

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day 2007

On Mother's Day in DC we gathered in Lafayette Park across from the White House for a Peace Festival for kids and families. Hundreds of children, parents, grandparents, and others flocked to the park for games, face painting, singing, music, dancing, and fun that culminated in a kids' march on Pennsylvania Avenue, and a ceremony during which we tied pink ribbons with names of Iraqis and US soldiers killed in the war and the Mother's Day Proclamation onto the White House fence. The day was an outrageously joyous celebration of motherhood ~ all the ways that we mother each other and the peace movement ~ with a very somber and moving undertone about the severity of the need to end the US occupation of Iraq, and to speak out as mothers and daughters against war. I'm grateful that I got to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom in California preemptively last weekend, and that I was able to be here celebrating motherhood in its myriad of forms in DC. One of my favorite parts about today was clowning around with Patch Adams--we were clad in pink, but I must say that his underpants were by far the biggest around!

Click here to check out a slideshow of photos I took.
Tons of people were taking photos and video, many more photos coming soon!

Kid's activities included arts and crafts, crown making, music (banging on pots and pans), dance, face painting, a wishing well, and a bean bag toss to "put words into George W's mouth."

Bean bag toss on the park lawn.

Dana, Sonia, and Rae take a moment to pose for a photo between coordinating the action.
The CODEPINK Choir in action!

Mothers and daughters read the Mother's Day Proclamation together on stage.

This Is Leah rocks the stage.

Janine helps lead the kids' peace march in front of the White House.

Patch Adams got everyone farting the tunes of peace songs, even Cindy Sheehan! It was a joy to see him bringing out the kid in everyone.

I Miss America passes out pink carnations to the kids.

CODEPINK Gathers the Women outside the White House!

Desiree ties a ribbon to the White House fence.
The completed painted mural displayed on Penn Ave. The mural will go with the Global Exchange and CODEPINK peace delegation to Iran later this summer.

Back at the CODEPINK Activist House, women celebrate with an imPEACHment pie eating ceremony honoring all the women whose hard work made today such a vibrant success. Here, Medea gives Sonia, the DC Coordinator, a bite of the pie, and a huge appreciation for everything she's done to make this week of actions so inspiring and smooth.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mother's Day Week of Actions!

Whew! The CODEPINK DC house has been a whirlwind of action this week! Women from all over the country--Wyoming, California, Arizona, Texas, New York, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, and more!--are here for actions with CODEPINK in Congress and around our nation's capital! So far we've had incredibly powerful actions, time to bond and connect, great singing all the time, and we've made quite an impact! Here are some photos and highlights from the past several days in DC. There are so many stories to tell, and I've been mostly behind the scenes this week supporting local actions around the country, so stay tuned for the full backstories from the women who have been going to these actions!

Click here to see a slideshow of photos from the past several days!

Thursday, May 10

Thursday morning CODEPINK activists attended hearings in Congress--see Midge's posts below this one to read more and see youtubes about that. Lori and Gael were arrested after the hearing ended and had to spend the night in jail. Thursday afternoon we held a Congressional Tea at the Mott House. Robert Greenwald spoke with us, we heard action stories from all the myriad of different things CODEPINKers have been doing over the week, we screened Greenwald's new film, and we saw a live performance of A Single Woman, a play and forthcoming documentary about Janette Rankin, the first US Congresswoman, who voted against WWI and WWII. The room was gorgeously decorated in pink and we even had pink lemonade and refreshments. At night we held a fundraiser at Bus Boys and Poets, our favorite progressive spot in DC. The fundraiser included an outstanding performance by Emma's Revolution and an auction led by Iraq Veteran Against the War Geoff Millard, featuring hot items such as a pair of pink heels signed by Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda, a Stop the Next War Now book autographed by Alice Walker, and a pink sequined dress worn to Bush's inaugural ball and glamorously modeled by Dana. The dance party continued late into the night!

Dana, Sonia, and Geoff present the CODEPINK Auction at Bus Boys and Poets.

Friday, May 11

Today CODEPINK activists visited the offices of the 59 democrats who voted against McGovern's bill to bring the troops home and gave these reps the "what for." These reps need to be held accountable to their constituents, who voted them in last November so they could end the war! We were especially surprised to see that Re. McNerney from California, who beat incumbent Richard Pombo (R) last November, largely on an anti-war platform, did not support McGovern's bill.

We held a luncheon with women reporters and media activists. In the afternoon we held a media training at the CODEPINK house, facilitated by CODEPINK's communications coordinator, Dana, and cofounder Medea.

In the evening we had the DC House premier screening of CODEPINK's newest film, Iraqi and American Women Speak Out in the Peace Room. It was amazing how our banner making and meeting room was transformed into a comfortable and pink movie theater, projector, couches, pink screen, and all!

Saturday, May 12

Today we had a house potluck and held a Women's Congress in the great tradition of Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation. We had a big group discussion and then broke into smaller groups focusing on these topics: Supporting our troops and working with veterans and military families; Direct Action and Civil Disobedience; Troops Home by the Holidays: Putting Pressure on our Congresspeople to end the war; Saying Yes to Peace; and creating visuals for the actions tomorrow. In the afternoon we were visited by the Topsy Turvy bus, check it out below! We also had a CODEPINK Choir rehearsal in the front yard! At night we screened films in the Peace Room.

Caroling outside the CODEPINK House!

The Topsy Turvy Bus visits the CODEPINK House. It says that the US budget is "topsy turvy"--too much $$ going towards the Pentagon, and too little going to all the social services.

Sunday, May 13
Today CODEPINKers are at a "Public Service" fair that is happening on the Mall. There is tons of military junk there--humvees, tanks, big army trucks, and even a simulation tent where you can pretend to be in combat. Women are outside holding a banner that says "Remembering Women in Wartime" with photos of the female soldiers who have been killed in combat, and women are inside too!

This afternoon we'll have our Peace Festival in Lafayette Park in front of the White House. I'm sure we'll have tons of photos to post from this exciting family event!

Photos on this post by Zach and Rae.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

IMPEACH: Spell it out and make it happen!

April 28 was an incredible day in San Francisco. Activists met in the morning at Ocean Beach for the Beach Impeach. We spelled out “IMPEACH NOW!” and then it transformed into “PEACE NOW!” CODEPINK made the "C" pink with a great turn out of pink-clad activists, boas, slips, and all! Then we marched, took the mexican bus, or caravanned over to Camp Pelosi outside Speaker Pelosi's house for a rally that included an inspiring talk by Ret. Col. Ann Wright, and singing and dancing in the street.

Check out the phenomenal aerial pics and get a glimpse of our pink “C” at http://www.beachimpeach.org/sfa28_photos.html

See a slideshow of photos I took today at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/63946635@N00/sets/72157600151704499/show/

More photos, including one of the march from the beach to Pelosi’s house, on IndyBay at: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/04/28/18406315.php

A HUGE thanks to all the organizers that made A28 such a moving and memorable occasion! CODEPINK Bay Area was also represented at the Petaluma Butter and Eggs Parade on A28. Aerial photos credit David B.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Doonesbury gets it...

So why can't Congress get it together to change the messaging around supporting the troops and cutting war funds?

Friday, March 23, 2007

House Votes for War Funding

Today the House passed the supplemental spending bill. Below is CODEPINK’s immediate response. We were in the basement of the Rayburn building (where many reps go to get to the underground tram to the Capitol en route to voting) with bloody hands and shirts saying “If you buy it, you own it” this morning. We had many interesting interactions with reps regarding the funding.

Peace Movement Disappointed With Democrat Funding for War;
Determined to Stop Future Funding and Bring Our Troops Home

Today, the House of Representatives passed the "Iraq Accountability Act" giving the President an additional $100 billion to continue the US occupation and associated military operations in Iraq. While this binding measure establishes a deadline for the removal of most combat troops by August 31, 2008, the conditions set forth in the bill fall far short of where Congress should be on their path to bringing the troops home. CODEPINK believes that not one more dollar should be appropriated for continued war and occupation, and will continue to push the position that Congress should only fund the safe, orderly and rapid withdrawal of all troops by the end of this year.

CODEPINK will continue to demand that Congress be accountable to the American people’s clarion call last November 7 to end to the war. Despite many expert opinions that say that the US priority in Iraq must be to support political and diplomatic solutions rather than military operations, and yet we are still burdened with an exclusively military strategy and additional funding for war and occupation.

Members of Congress who voted for the supplemental bill see it as the first small step toward the major policy shift we seek. The work of the peace movement, and particularly that of CODEPINK, has been instrumental in moving us closer to our goal to end the war. Speaker Pelosi, talking to the Democratic Caucus on the eve of the vote, mentioned the pressure she herself was getting from CODEPINK camping out on her doorstep! Congress has moved this far only because of public pressure, and to reach further, public pressure must and will continue. CODEPINK will now push for the best supplemental bill possible out of the Senate, the best bill possible out of Conference, and the best bill possible from the Defense Authorization that will be coming up in April. CODEPINK continues to fight for better funding legislation that will finally and completely end the US military presence in Iraq.

Meet with your Congresspeople during the Congressional Recess April 2-16!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Four Activists Arrested at Pelosi's

Activists say “if Pelosi buys the war, she owns the war”

As the house began to debate the $100 billion Supplemental Bill on the floor of the Capitol this afternoon, four CODEPINKers were arrested taking over Speaker Pelosi’s office. As they held up images of the American soldiers killed this month in Iraq and chanted “stop funding the war,” police moved in and arrested four CODEPINK representatives: Eve Tetaz from DC, Desiree Fairooz from Arlington, Texas, Janine Bonaparte from Marin, CA, and David Barrows also from DC.

In her statement Medea Benjamin said: “If Pelosi—who was given a mandate for peace in the November election—buys this war, she owns this war. And what she owns is 3228 American soldiers killed, and those soldiers, those sons who will be killed as the war rages on.”

During the action at Pelosi's office, we held up banners that read "Pelosi, be a leader for peace" and "Pelosi, Don't Buy Bush's War". We also had a large banner with a donkey that said "Pin the War on the Donkey" and tails reading "War" "Torture" "War Profiteering" and more.

At one point, while we were speaking with the abundant crowd of reporters, we held up photos of soldiers who have been killed in the war, attached with a string. A police officer immediately snatched the photos and said they were a banner and not allowed in. We said that these were not a banner, these were the faces of the dead. Even the press looked horrified and snapped some photos of the ordeal. After putting away the pictures, we took out a newspaper with the faces of the dead printed in color and held it up. And we started crying. Not fake wailing. Not shouting. Just crying. Tears and tears and we couldn't help it, and I couldn't help it. And instead of reporters asking "Why are you here protesting?" or "What are you doing here today?" they asked me "Why are you crying?" And this is what I said:

I am crying because the Democrats' support of another $100 billion for the war means that thousands more kids my age will be killed--kid soldiers and Iraqi kids. Pelosi's support of Bush's request for money for war is a death sentence for thousands of kids. After weeks of cute, colorful, passionate actions in the halls of Congress, from caroling with the choir to valentine delivery to dog bones for Blue Dogs to pink aprons and brooms cleaning House, today was an action of a different tenor. I felt like the floodgates had come down and the halls of Congress were gushing with a bloody river. Maybe it sounds dramatic. But it felt like we were drowning in tears, in pain, in the realization of something very, very wrong. And the tragic part was that the two secretaries in Pelosi's office sat there chuckling and picking up phones, and the press liaison came out and answered reporter's questions with a blank face. My heart was pounding so loudly that I wondered why it didn't just crack the walls of the marble building. Those walls felt more sturdy and guarded than usual. How have our Democratic leaders become so enchanted by the Republican language? Pelosi has helped them back into a corner where Bush will emerge victorious. And the tragic thing is that they will tout this as a victory if it passes tomorrow.

I visited Anna Eshoo's office after the action, and her press secretary tried to explain to me why Anna is going to vote for this supplemental. He gave me the analogy of a football game, where one must work strategically one play at a time to get the ball up the field to the goal. Here's why I think that's a bogus comparison: The compromise that Pelosi and the Dems are voting for is not one step towards peace; it is one step towards prolonging violence and destruction, and killing innocent lives for nothing. The press liaison listened patiently to my opinion, and then told me that we have the same goal, just different tactics. But I am quite certain now that we don't have the same goal. The Democrats want to win. I want to see the killing stop. I want to welcome our soldiers home with open arms and fully equipped medical services. I want to see justice done to the administration. The Democrats, well, they want to win--this vote, the election in '08, the power. If Pelosi would have just come out and said, "Look, I know that this bill (or ammendment like Lee's) may fail, but I am going to take this stand because I believe in the courage of my convictions, because I am more committed to the will of my constituents and the integrity of justice." But we'll never get to find out what Dems would have done if the supplemental had been straight with Bush's desires. And now it's a mess.

Today there is a deep sorrow. Tomorrow there is a vote. Then, we will keep on working for peace...