CODEPINK WOMEN'S PEACE VIGIL
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 7, 2003
BUSH SAYS WAR. WOMEN SAY CODE PINK FOR PEACE!
THOUSANDS OF WOMEN STREAM INTO WASHINGTON, DC FOR ANTI-WAR MARCH AND RALLY ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, MARCH 8
Washington, DC—Women from Kansas, Vermont, Oregon, Texas and dozens of other states have begun arriving in Washington, DC--dressed in pink--to participate in the women-led rally and march that will be held on Saturday, March 8, International Women's Day. They will join authors Alice Walker and Maxine Hong Kingston, Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey and thousands of other women to express their vigorous opposition to a war on Iraq. The rally will begin at 11 AM at Malcolm X Park (16th Street, NW between W and Euclid) and be followed by a march through the streets of the nation's capitol at 1 PM to encircle the White House for peace. It will end with a closing ceremony at the Ellipse.
“The majority of women oppose a war on Iraq,” said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink for Peace, the women's anti-war group that has held a daily vigil in front of the White House since November 2002. “We're determined to stop the Bush Administration from putting our families at risk and inflaming anti-Americanism all over the world by attacking a country that hasn't attacked us.”
Women have played a key role in the burgeoning U.S. anti-war movement, and recent polls on Iraq reveal a gender gap in terms of support for a war. A February 2003 New York Times/CBS poll revealed that 12 percent more women than men support a diplomatic solution with Iraq. A recent Zogby International poll showed that while 45 percent of men said they would strongly support a war against Iraq, only 21 percent of women did. In addition to the Washington, DC event, dozens of other women-led anti-war events are planned in the United States on March 8, in cities from Los Angeles, California to Phoenix, Arizona to Laramie, Wyoming to Nashville, Tennessee, and around the world. Recent polls on Iraq reveal a gender gap in terms of support for a war.
The Washington, DC rally will feature authors Alice Walker and Maxine Hong Kingston, Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, musician Michelle Shocked, activist author Dr. Helen Caldicott, feminist theologian Hyun Kyung, Pacifica Radio host Amy Goodman, and peace activists Starhawk, and Granny D, among others. It is the culmination of a week of women's anti-war events called “Celebrating Women as Global Peacemakers” being sponsored by peace groups and women's groups, including Global Exchange, CodePink for Peace, National Organization for Women, Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, United for Peace & Justice, Unreasonable Women, Peace Action, Women Against War, National Women's Health Network, and the Sisterhood Is Global Institute.
As part of the week of action, the CodePink women delivered “pink slips” (actually women's pink half slips and full slips) on clothesline to President George Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney to express deep dissatisfaction with the job they are doing to protect the country as well as to Senators Hillary Clinton and Diane Feinstein, who have ignored their anti-war constituents. They also delivered flowers to the embassies of France, Russia, Germany, and Turkey to thank those countries for holding the position that peaceful alternatives to war in Iraq are possible.
“George Bush has been making the same case for war for six months now—he has no new arguments, he’s losing support from our allies and the public, and he's willing to risk the lives of U.S. service members and innocent Iraqis,” said Jodie Evans, also a founder of CodePink. “Women all over the world are going to raise our voices on Saturday and make it clear how determined we are to stop this war.”
Code Pink Alert
by Ruth Rosen San Francisco Chronicle
March 6, 2003
IN A PLAYFUL but passionate piece of political theater, San Francisco activist Medea Benjamin spent last Tuesday trying to hand pink slips to President Bush and members of his war team for inflicting a senseless war and a sinking economy on ordinary American families.
When rebuffed, she and other activists strung the pink slips (the kind worn under women's dresses) on a public clothesline in Lafayette Park across from the White House.
Bay Area women like Benjamin, the founder and director of San-Francisco based Global Exchange, a human rights organization, have played a key role in mobilizing women nationwide against an invasion of Iraq. Last November, Benjamin launched Code Pink -- a play on the administration's Code Red terror alert system. For four months, Code Pink activists have staged a peace vigil across the street from the White House. According to Benjamin, who is married and has two children, the goal of Code Pink "is to make the world safer and better for our kids -- and the men who lead this country certainly haven't done it."
The pink slip caper is just one of the events leading up to Saturday's rally and march in honor of International Women's Day, a protest that is expected to draw thousands of women to the nation's capital.
Among the speakers who will address the crowd are Bay Area writers Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston and Susan Griffin; elected leaders Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, and Oakland City Council Member Nancy Nadel; and peace activists Starhawk and Benjamin.
Today, Code Pink activists are lobbying members of Congress to pass legislation that would repeal authorization of the use of military force against Iraq. To Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Robert Byrd, D-W.V., and Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Woolsey, they have given pink badges of courage. For their failure to oppose the war, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have received the same pink slips as the Bush war team.
In addition to the D.C. demonstration, dozens of American cities and towns are hosting rallies and marches to protest an invasion in Iraq. For many women, the day is an opportunity to demand that Congress stand up for health care, education and quality of life, rather than squander the nation's wealth on a senseless war.
The range of women's organizations supporting these rallies and marches is broad and includes, among others, Oakland's Women of Color Resource Center, Berkeley's Unreasonable Women of the Earth, the National Organization for Women, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Military Families Speak Out and Sept. 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.
International Women's Day, by the way, is a holiday whose meaning keeps evolving. It began on March 8, 1909, when American working women -- fighting for a 10-hour-workday and the right to vote -- first noted the day. What started as an American holiday, however, soon became associated with communism after the Russian Revolution. As a result, Americans stopped commemorating the day.
Decades later, with the resurgence of the women's movement in the 1960s, a group of Berkeley feminists resurrected the tradition of honoring working women. On March 8, 1969, about 50 women -- dressed in early 20th century costumes -- marched through the streets of Berkeley. By the end of the 1970s, International Women's Day had once again became an American holiday.
Ever since, women around the world have honored the day. Last year, people in more than 70 countries celebrated the end of gender apartheid in Afghanistan. This year, however, there is but one message that will be heard around the globe: No war in Iraq.
E-mail Ruth Rosen at email@example.com
For more information on local and national International Women's Day rallies and marches, go to www.unitedforpeace.org or www.codepink4peace.