Last January marked the 12-year anniversary of the Montrose Peace Vigil. It continues every Friday from 5:30 to 7 at Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard.
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The Montrose Peace Vigil began on the third Friday in January 2006 as a response to a call by Progressive Democrats of America to oppose wars neighborhood by neighborhood. The first two people to show up are still involved. In all these years, not a single Friday has been missed regardless of weather or holidays.
Weekly turnout often hovers at around 10, sometimes there are less, other times substantially more. In late 2015, the vigil was joined by Glendale for Bernie, increasing attendance for three months to 19-20+ (averages).
Since the advent of weekly peace vigils in the early 2000s, some branched out into additional activist activities such as regular film showings and fundraisers (e.g., early on, the Alhambra Vigil raised funds to get a KPFK bus stop sign). This has been true of the Montrose Vigil, too. For eight years they have walked in the Montrose Christmas Parade along with their float, the Peace Train, and have participated in the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the Vietnam War Memorial.
There have also been several special events at the vigil itself. On the 40th anniversary of the two Bed-Ins held by John and Yoko*, the peace vigil held ones of their own on their corner. For the War is Over Mending Circles, people brought items that needed fixing and repaired them at the vigil. The fifth anniversary of the ‘03 Iraq invasion brought out 120 people (as part of a MoveOn campaign). Whenever Halloween falls on Friday, the vigilers come in costume and give out candy while still displaying signs. (Trick-or-treat foot traffic in Montrose is massive.) One year many dressed as Women for Peace, with costumes including Lydia Maria Child, Julia Ward Howe, Jeannette Rankin, Dorothy Day, and Sister Mary Corita. Nearby was a display with biographical/historical information.
Besides the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, another major focus of the vigil has been Chelsea/Brad Manning. This has come in numerous forms: participation in campaigns via special vigils, presence at marches and rallies, write-in and call-in campaigns, fundraisers...
Ten years ago counter demonstrators filled up a corner across the street and maintained a presence for a few years. The instigator, Bill Dodson, supported the right to protest wars but objected to it happening at the Vietnam War Memorial, which is on the same corner as the vigil. (More here: http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-outthere02-2008may02-story.html.) The Montrose Peace Vigil has always been supportive of veterans, as reflected in their signs and weekly updates of military casualties posted at the vigils.
Although many of the earliest vigilers remain involved, new people have been joining including, most recently, Korean-Americans for a united Korean peninsula (affiliated with Good Friends USA) and Foothill Progressives (working with Moms Demand Action) advocating reasonable gun control.
Despite the Montrose vigil’s impressive 12-year milestone, and having never missed a week, the participants went about business as usual last January 20, the date designated as the anniversary. As usual, they stood at Ocean View and Honolulu holding signs and engaged in conversation. Some discussed the second Women’s March the next morning in downtown L.A., to which several were going...
*More about this anniversary here: http://imaginepeace.com/archives/5782
Original: The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years