joined the CODEPINK community during our
early vigils outside the White House in
2002-2003, when we were preemptively protesting
against going to war with Iraq. As documentary
filmmaker, she arrived with her camera to
film the very cold days of our struggle
to keep the "No War in Iraq" message
in the face of the White House, Congress
and the mainstream media. In February, 2003,
she was part of the team of 16 peace delegates
who traveled to Iraq before the invasion,
captured the experience of the trip and
rare footage of the vibrancy of Iraq before
the US invasion, later seen by thousands
in the CODEPINK story.
We returned from Iraq to
organize a 10,000 women in pink
march to the White House for International
Womenís Day, March 8, 2003, followed
by an all-day gathering to plan next steps.
Ten days later the US invaded Iraq.
continued for years to be CODEPINK's liaison
with our friends in Iraq, starting the Occupation
Watch Center in Baghdad to document the
abuses of the U.S. invading forces. Long
before the abuses in Abu Graib became an
international scandal, Gael had been working
with women in Iraq to document and publicize
the horrible treatment of prisoners.
Gael has committed herself
500% to ending war, engaging in heroic,
strategic and tireless actions daily. She
was the coordinator and face of CODEPINK
in DC for many years before we opened the
CODEPINK House in 2007. Gael then became
essential to the support of the daily actions
on Capital Hill which lasted for 3 years.
Gael served as the CODEPINK representative
on the United for Peace and Justice board
for 4 years, bringing her deep thinking
and commitment to that community which she
continues to hold leadership roles in. From
the women vets at our Austin, TX retreat
in 2006, to the wounded soldiers at Walter
Reed hospital, to the human rights advocates
and many friends in Gaza, Gael has a unique
ability to be present with so many who have
experienced the devastation of the war.
Gael's depth of commitment and her capacity
to connect and take the conversation deeper,makes
her an extraordinary activist.
While Gael's love and commitment
is focused on those suffering the brunt
of failed U.S. policies, she is one of those
rare activists who is also able to work
within the halls of Congress. She is well
respected by many members of the Congressional
Progressive Caucus, and works with them
on legislation to cut the funding for war
and the bloated military budget.
compassion and fierce fight for justice
inspire all of us in the CODEPINK community.
Gael continues to organize for peace and
justice in the DC area and beyond, taking
on the issues of civil liberties, the rights
of Palestinians, the ongoing war in Afghanistan,
the increasing use of drone warfare and
the new threat of war with Iran.
We are posting this on her
birthday this year to celebrate and honor
her as one of the essential ingredients
of the success and fabric of the CODEPINK
community. Thank you Gael! Onward together.