May 5, 2011
Six CODEPINK locals, starting with Boston and including Dallas, upstate New York, LA, NYC and San Francisco, participated with, in the “Join Me on the Bridge” events organized globally by our ally, Women for Women International Before the IWD walk on the Golden Gate Bridge, honored speaker and mayor of Oakland Jean Quan photographed codepinkers holding Bring Our War $$ Home and “Make Art Not War” banners, then posed for a photo with some of us. There were 464 events in 70 countries, including Afghanistan and Congo.
On March 11, a triple tragedy struck Japan: a 9.0 earthquake, a tsunami, and meltdowns and fires at the six-reactor power plant in Fukushima. The very active codepinkers in Osaka, who have been doing antinuclear and US base-closing work for a long time, responded immediately and also asked for support from CODEPINK. Ann Wright, who has met numerous times with codepinkers and other activists in Japan and in the US, wrote this letter: “Dear Emi, Our thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese people in this terrible time of tsunami and nuclear meltdown and radiation. I think the request of women of Japan that the U.S. pay for its own military bases rather than demand that Japan pay for them and ultimately remove them is an appeal that would have more support in the U.S. considering the huge financial task ahead for Japan.”
March 19 – 20: The sad and shameful 8th Anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq coincided with Obama’s decision (made without due process by Congress, or any national debate) to join in the NATO “no-fly zone” (really surveillance and bombing, including DU weapons) against Libya’s government, now engaged in a civil war against armed resisters. As Dede Miller, aunt of Casey Sheehan, reported from the march in Los Angeles (which concluded with 11 arrests for civil disobedience of herself, a Vietnam Era vet, and others): “As our march rounded the corner of the CNN building we all got word via the CNN ticker that the USA was launching missiles on Libya. Air Force Mom Lisa Blank [of Phoenix CODEPINK and MFSO] ran to the lead flatbed and pointed this out. We stopped the march and made an announcement about the new front. Most of us stood in shock for several minutes. I broke down crying. What a surreal moment. Here we all were.Many of us were marching in our 8th, 9th and 10th march to end what we thought of as 2 wars as a third was breaking out.”
Phoenix area codepinkers bird-dogged the Decider-in-Chief himself,George W Bush, at Arizona Southwestern University; the event drew 75 protesters!
CODEPINKers participated in rallies in Washington, D.C.; Dallas, TX; Pittsburgh, PA; Boston, MA; San Francisco, CA; and many smaller vigils, as well as in LA. Our new Bring Our War $$ Home banners and stickers showed up vividly in the crowds. Rosalie Yelen of CODEPINK in Long Island wrote a moving account of the memorial of the war dead from Long Island, and the rally that took place in a town there. Our allies in the struggles for labor, immigrant rights, healthcare, and education expressed their appreciation, wore our stickers, and thanked us for our nearly a decade-long pink “in your face” presence.
The Stolen Beauty/Boycott Ahava campaign focused this month on March 30, Palestinian “Land Day”, continuing the store-by-store requests to owners/managers to no longer sell Ahava products that steal the literal land and minerals in occupied Palestine for “beauty” products. In Santa Monica, towels were part of the activists’ outfits! For more news about this international campaign, part of the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement, and for actions you can take online or in person, please click here.
Hands Off Wikileaks/Support Bradley Manning: following the March 19 DC march and rally, with over 100 arrested at the White House fence [, codepinkers and our allies from Courage to Resist, World Can’t Wait and others demonstrated at the border of the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, VA. They brought signs and visuals protesting Bradley’s inhumane and humiliating treatment, which included forced nudity and sleep deprivation. As heavily armed military police denied their right to lay flowers on a memorial, retired Colonel Ann Wright, Daniel Ellsberg (once a Marine lieutenant) and others were arrested, and all were denied the right to visit or bring gifts to the whistle-blowing Army private. In March locals organized events supporting Bradley Manning in Tallahassee, FL and San Francisco, CA – see the amazing action by nearly naked protesters here.
Accountability/Arrest War Criminals: Campaigner Nancy Mancias has created and maintains a War Criminal Watch calendar, which local groups use to birddog Bush and members of his administration, or those who wrote the memos justifying torture, as they appear for book signings and highly paid public speaking events. For two examples, see photos of codepinkers and allies calling out accused war criminals John Yoo and Tony “BLIAR” Blair.
Bring Our War $$ Home: On March 7, C.J. Minster started work as the full-time national organizer for this campaign; she works out of the Venice, CA office. She quickly got to work on the webpages for this campaign and on the mayors’ resolution, inspiring CODEPINKers and our allies to contact their mayors to get on board. In Maine, Lisa Savage challenged Governor LePage with a solution to the state’s budget problems: “Tax the rich.” LePage’s removal (at what cost?!) of the historic labor history mural drew national media attention and outrage from both activists and artists.
Activism continued in Maine with the third “Draw-In” and rally at the state capitol, connecting art to activism on the issue of cost of war and unmet needs at home. Mainers “visited the offices of Rep. Chellie Pingree, Sen. Susan Collins & Sen. Olympia Snowe with Bring Our War $$ Home packets of information. Our ask: meet with us to discuss the need to change our spending priorities in Congress.” (NOTE: Senator Collins will soon meet by teleconference with BOW$H activists, including Lisa!)
Malalai Joya Afghan woman leader and former member of the national parliament, went on tour in the U.S. in early April. Her visa (and US speaking tour) were delayed, perhaps because someone in the State Dept doesn’t care for an English-speaking, charismatic woman from Afghanistan saying in public that the US/NATO troops need to leave her country asap, but a letter-writing and phone-in campaign was persuasive. In Los Angeles, Malalai met with C.J. and LA office interns at a speaking event. In San Francisco, the co-author of “A Woman Among Warlords” spoke from the stage of the April 10 rally at Dolores Park, along with Nancy Mancias and intern Chelsea Byers, who performed her own spoken word piece for the occasion.
Ridgely in Palestine: Bring Our War $$ Home and Middle East campaigner Ridgely Fuller has been in the West Bank for weeks as part of an international solidarity campaign, courageously witnessing and giving support to people under Israeli occupation. Here’s an excerpt from her lively emails: “The spirit of Egypt keeps growing in Palestine! Today was the final day of Bil'in’s 6th annual International Conference; it is a town known for resisting the construction of the Apartheid Wall. Boston was presente! and the Palestinians did a terrific job. The soldiers gave the large crowd of participants their entire arsenal: teargas, rubber bullets, live fire, sound grenades and 'skunk water' but the Palestinians were undeterred! The Fence was breached by wire cutters…”
NYC coordinator Cristina Castro and Maine organizer Lisa Savage shared 90 seconds of mic time at the New York march and rally organized by UNAC on April 9, which drew thousands of people including many Muslim families and marchers of all ages.
Toby Blome of the SF East Bay, CA, has been organizing monthly vigils at Beale and now Travis Air Force Bases, part of the Ground the Drones campaign that she has been very involved with since 2009. On April 12, Global Day of Action on Military Spending, Toby and others took their messages to Travis, flyering and bannering, and get media attention. This global day focusing on the outrageous waste of money on militarism was observed in 35 countries.
On Earth Day, Nancy M and Janet spent a delightful afternoon meeting local folks and presenting a slideshow and talk on CODEPINK at the Goddess Temple Guest House in Cactus Springs, Nevada, just 2 miles from the notorious Creech AFB, “home” of the Predator drones. We were hosted by the Goddess Temple priestess and caretaker Candace Ross, who led a ritual in the Temple, organized a potluck and did face-painting, as we all enjoyed lunch and art activities. Nancy and Janet also met up with the participants in the Peace Walk organized by Nevada Desert Experience from Las Vegas to the Nuclear Test Site (now ridiculously renamed the “Nevada National Security Site” as if nukes make us secure!).
As part of his Bay Area tour, President Obama spoke at the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California during a Townhall Meeting with Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, titled "Shared Responsibility and Shared Prosperity". CODEPINKers Nancy Mancias, Chelsea Byers and Sharon Miller arrived early at the event to protest the ongoing wars in the Middle East, intertwining Facebook jargon into the messaging, saying "Obama: Update Your War Status".
National Team news: Middle East campaigner Rae reported: “I want to give a shout out to the really amazing intern team we have at CODEPINK right now - Chelsea and Sharon in SF, Dara and Sanaa in LA, Alli and Chris in DC. The interns are coordinating actions, writing blogs, on the bullhorn, outreaching to press and ally orgs, creating beautiful visuals, keeping us all connected on google docs, communicating with the grassroots, even doing solo actions (Sanaa delivered the Bed Bath & Beyond petition in Canoga Park last week)... and so much more.”
Former staffer Logan Price has moved on to our ally, Courage to Resist after organizing two major actions with CODEPINK earlier this winter/early spring; we wish him the best.
April ended with a burst of good news: Egypt's foreign minister says Cairo will permanently open the Rafah border crossing to ease Israel's blockade on Gaza, and Bradley Manning has been moved to a medium-security prison in Kansas, where he will have contact with others and be able to exercise and read. If you want to send him a message of support, his address is: Bradley Manning 89289, 830 Sabalu Road, Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027.
But also with a tragic milestone: the 6,000th US troop fatality from the wars/occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan was recorded on April 26. Of course, we know that the real death toll for American troops/veterans is much higher, from suicides and other causes.
Looking forward to May:
9 - Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day / Nakba Day)
17 - Last day to get mayors to co-sponsor resolution for BOW$H
18 - LA Mayor Villaraigosa will submit BOW$H resolution to the US Conference of Mayors
20-24 - Move Over AIPAC Conference in DC
30 - Memorial Day
Moving forward for peace and justice,
The Roseroots Report is a bimonthly bouquet of CODEPINK local actions and news. Why roseroots? Because we’re cultivating a vibrant pink flowering garden with a hearty stemming history and strong roots, not just little “grassroots.” The 1912 Lawrence textile workers on strike had it right when they said, “We Want Bread, But Roses Too!” Our pink hearts are moved by CODEPINK‘s approach to peacemaking: we aren’t just about getting out a talking point or ensuring a basic right, we’re about bringing our money back to our beloved resources – schools, health, parks, libraries and more, disarming our defenses, opening our minds to new narratives and possibilities, and creating beauty. www.codepink.org