Visiting peace activists on Jeju Island, Korea
My name is Ann Wright, and I’m a retired Army Colonel and diplomat who resigned after 16 years in the State Department in opposition to President Bush’s illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. I’m also a proud member of CODEPINK, an organization that makes incredible waves with just a few on staff and lots of dedicated volunteers like me.
This holiday season, please consider making a gift to CODEPINK. Your support helps us hold elected officials accountable, support brave whistleblowers, lead international peace delegations, and so much more.
Working with a powerful peace coalition and 100 prominent American women, we ensured the passage of the Iran nuclear deal. This helped us avoid another unnecessary war, showing the world that peace is possible through diplomacy.
Also this year, CODEPINK brought over 300 peace ambassadors to Cuba to learn how diplomacy can work. In November, we traveled to Guantanamo for an international summit to abolish foreign military bases. We're thrilled that in 2015, Cuba was taken off the US state terrorist list and embassies were opened in both Havana and Washington DC. In the new year, we are dedicated to shutting down the US prison in Guantanamo and returning the naval base to the Cuban people, lifting the travel ban, and ending the embargo. In February and in May we’ll be going back to Cuba to expand our Local Peace Economy campaign. It’s not too late to sign up for one of our trips today!
In May, CODEPINK co-founders Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans and I joined WomenCrossDMZ, the first-ever international women’s peace walk from North Korea through the demilitarized zone into South Korea. Now we are part of a new national coalition for peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula. We visited Jeju Island (pictured above!) to meet with activists resisting the US military presence on the island. Just last week I returned from a delegation to Okinawa, Japan to oppose the destructive expansion of the US base there. Next year, join me for a CODEPINK delegation to Okinawa. Stay tuned for how you can apply to join!
But our work for peace is only possible with your support.
For a peaceful new year,
Ret. Colonel Ann Wright
PS: Feeling down about 2015? Lift your spirits and check out Medea's latest, 10 Good Things About the Not-So-Good Year 2015.
CODEPINK ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN 2015
To celebrate diplomacy and the normalization of relations with CUBA, we brought over 200 peace delegates to Cuba. Our trip was a defiant demonstration against the American embargo—an unjust policy we are committed to ending. After celebrating the release of Shaker Aamer in November, we also brought 60 people to GUANTANAMO and called for the U.S. naval base and prison to be closed, and the land to be returned to the Cubans.
Calling for reunification and peace in KOREA, we travelled across the demilitarized zone from North Korea to South Korea with 30 prominent international women. Alongside thousands of Korean women, we joined their moving call to end heavily militarized borders.
In honor of those who sacrifice their lives to tell the truth and inform the public, we continued supporting our whistleblower shero, CHELSEA MANNING. You helped us raise $45,000 for her legal fees to defend her against trumped-up charges and keep her out of solitary confinement. We also helped whistleblower JOHN KIRIAKOU during his transition out of prison.
We held WAR CRIMINALS accountable and spoke truth to power, from attempting an epic citizen’s arrest of Henry Kissinger (which made John McCain go berserk!) to a bold disruption of Dick Cheney when he was hawking for war with Iran.
Dedicated to ending US support for repressive regimes, we have worked all year to end U.S. military aid to EGYPT. After our tireless advocacy on his behalf, pro-democracy Egyptian American political prisoner Mohamed Soltan was freed and returned to his family.
Horrified by the destruction wrought by ISIS, which came to power because of the U.S. war on Iraq, you helped us raise $14,000 to fund a trauma and rape healing center for women and girls in IRAQ. Over a decade later, we still haven’t forgotten the crimes of the Bush administration in Iraq. We’re supporting Iraqi mother Sundus Saleh Shaker and her lawyer, Inder Comar in their lawsuit against Bush and his cronies.
After 14 years of a failed, horrifically destructive war on AFGHANISTAN, the situation is worse for women in the country. We exposed this truth with a shocking report published on the anniversary of the war. We are also pushing for an independent investigation into the U.S. bombing of a hospital in Kunduz.
When the media is looking for an opposing voice to killer DRONES, they come to us as one of the leading organizations pushing this issue. All year long, our Bay Area chapter hosted monthly protests at Beale Air Force Base in California and two annual protests at the Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.
We launched a new campaign this year to grow the LOCAL PEACE ECONOMY as a personal act against the economy that drives war. The relational, reciprocal, giving, sharing, thriving economy exists; it is why we are alive. We have daily inspirations to ignite our support for the peace economy and help us overcome the more dominant, violent, destructive and extractive economy.
Our LOCAL CHAPTERS have been relentless in their peace activism: Bay Area CODEPINKers hold a weekly vigil in San Francisco and a monthly walk for peace on the Golden Gate Bridge. CODEPINK chapters in Maine, Texas, Ohio, and more have been in the streets protesting the multitude of injustices facing our society. Our pink roots run deep internationally, and our Japanese CODEPINK sisters protested and hosted vigils against the re-militarization of Japan under the Abe government.
We brought 20 people to the WEST BANK for the annual olive harvest in solidarity with our Palestinian friends who are struggling against the occupation.
In June 2015, six years after launching the boycott against AHAVA cosmetics because of the company’s violations of international law, our Stolen Beauty campaign welcomed the news that Ahava was considering moving its factory out of the West Bank. Similarly, after immense international pressure, SODASTREAM is currently in the process of shuttering its West Bank factory.
We’ve stayed active in the fierce and powerful movement for Black Lives through our Communities Organized to Demilitarize Enforcement (CODE) campaign. On International Women’s Day we hosted a call between mothers who have lost their children to violence in the U.S. and Mexico. Each shared their grief and commitment to working for peace and justice. On Mother’s Day we delivered hundreds of flowers to mothers who had lost their children at the hands of the police. We hung a giant banner at the US Mayors Conference, telling the mayors to demilitarize our cities.