RANCHO CUCAMONGA - Beginning at about five o'clock on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 15, protesters gathered at all four corners of Foothill Boulevard and Haven Avenue to express their opinions about the fifth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.
Many had come from the nearby gathering of upwards of 300 (and by some estimates, 400) protestors who had convened at the corner of Arrow Highway and Indian Hill Boulevard in nearby Claremont.
Veterans, Democrats, community members, youth, teachers, and activists of many stripes expressed sentiments of outrage, dismay, grief, and shame concerning the actions of their government.
Passersby expressed their approval by honking, flashing peace signs, giving the thumbs-up, and shouting out "Peace!" and other positive slogans. Not all responses were positive, however. A few motorists shook their heads disapprovingly, and one or two even gave the one-fingered salute.
One woman who disapproved of our message had the misfortune of having to wait for crossing pedestrians in the turn lane just beside the largest and loudest contingent, a group numbering about thirty who were stationed at the northeast corner. I smiled at her and gave the peace sign, hoping to evoke some response. All she could do was shake her head in disgust. Our efforts were not for naught, however. The young woman's daughter stared out the passenger window with that look of curiosity of which only children are able. Just before the SUV sped away, and momentary safe from the wathful gaze of her mother, the hopeful eight-year-old put up two fingers in silent resistance.
Once the sun had set and darkness obscured our signs, many of us met up at the Red Brick Pizza parlor on the southwest corner of the same intersection. There, we were warmly greeted by many who supported our efforts and our cause. We chatted, networked, and discussed ongoing efforts to support the residents of the Bushville in nearby Ontario, an encampment the press has been calling "Tent City." Many of us were concerned about the inhabitants, who are being run out of town even as we speak.
"We're here every Friday at three," one of the regulars informed me, "So come on back any time!" I stuck my sign, which read "5 years too many," in my back passenger window, and headed home, delighted that a community of activists was coming together in my own neighborhood to create peace and solidarize with other parallel struggles.