As we at CODEPINK gear up for 2020, we invite you to journey with us through the campaigns and successes we celebrated in 2019.
Our year ended on an inspiring and hopeful note. On Friday, November 8, CODEPINK and over 200 of our allies marched with Jane Fonda for Fire Drill Fridays to make the connection between the climate crisis and unfettered militarism. Jane’s reminder that “the movement for climate justice is a movement for peace” continues to inspire us as we move into 2020 to take on the twin evils of climate change and militarism with our #WarIsNotGreen campaign.
2019 began with a historic victory: for the first time in history, both chambers of Congress voted that the President must end U.S. engagement in the Saudi-led war on Yemen. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children, the grotesque murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the imprisonment and torture of Loujan al-Hathloul and other Saudi women’s rights activists turned hearts and minds and so after working tirelessly for this victory for over two years — even when everyone said it was impossible — the legislation finally passed. Even after Trump vetoed the bill, we refused to give up. We responded by adding an amendment to the “must-pass” military funding bill, the NDAA, and launched a creative and effective Boycott Saudi campaign. Our first victories in this campaign include Hollywood talent agency Endeavor returning a whopping $400 million investment from Saudi Arabia, enormously popular rapper Nicki Minaj and British rock star Rod Stewart cancelling their performances in the kingdom, and Saudi propaganda machine the Arabia Foundation shuttering their doors. We were joined by VICE media staff as we targeted VICE to stop producing propaganda pieces for the Saudi regime. You can still join us as we campaign to get the fabulous environmentally and socially conscious company LUSH Cosmetics to shutter their stores in Saudi Arabia.
While gathering in D.C. for our annual team retreat, we learned that the Venezuelan Embassy in D.C. was at risk of being taken over as part of a U.S.-orchestrated coup attempt. We immediately launched the Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective, which lasted four intense weeks. Joined by dozens of coalition partners and hundreds of activists, we upheld the principles of international law by exposing the history of U.S. coups, sanctions, and support for violent regimes. Inspired and outraged, we added three more CODEPINK team members to focus on U.S. interventions in Latin America. Their swift response to the U.S. supported coup in Bolivia is mobilizing CODEPINKers across the country and in the streets.
After 16 years of protesting American-Israel Public Affairs (AIPAC) conferences, we successfully convinced almost all of the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates not to attend. This was a MAJOR victory! Next, we launched our #SkipTheTrip campaign to discourage new members of Congress from joining AIPAC’s propaganda trip to Israel. We succeeded in half declining to go. Disgusted by Israeli war crimes and committed to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, we traveled to the Mexico border to expose Israeli weapons company Elbit Systems’ participation in Trump’s border wall—calling for divestment from this death profiteering giant.
2019 also saw a diverse coalition of people — young and old, from coast to coast — recognize their power to enact change in their own communities through our Divest From War campaign. We convinced inspiring mayors, including Michael D. Tubbs in Stockton, CA, to divest, and got Bernie Sanders, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang to commit against taking campaign contributions from weapons manufacturers. We continue to press the candidates to adopt our President for Peace platform. In Philadelphia, Seattle, and cities across Oregon, our teams are poised to pass city-level resolutions to divest from the war machine. We also built diverse student coalitions, including a new CODEPINK chapter at UT Austin that’s demanding their tuition not be spent perpetuating endless war and destruction of the climate.
The poster child for investing in weapons is the CEO of BlackRock, Larry Fink. We rallied over 50 students to disrupt his love fest at UCLA, and disrupted MOMA’s opening party with him in NYC. For the second year in a row, we gathered an NYC coalition to protest BlackRock’s shareholders’ meeting. We were also there to condemn Larry Fink’s Humanitarian of the Year award from the International Rescue Committee— given despite his funding the wars that create the refugees they help.
Our local peace economy teams also traveled to the U.S. border, delivering food, clothing and travel packages and shining a light on how wars and coups create asylum seekers. We continue our support of refugee projects in Greece, ground zero for many refugees and asylum seekers in Europe.
After years of intense campaigning against the Trump administration’s attempts to start a war with Iran, including disrupting U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook at his public speeches, we led two peace delegations to Iran, one in February and another one in October. We brought back firsthand stories about the terrible effects U.S. sanctions have on the Iranian people as well as their continued generosity and kindness. We move into 2020 with a congressional resolution we drafted and are promoting to allow for humanitarian trade with Iran.
There has been so much more: Gaza activist Enas Alsaffadi joined our team to lead our Palestinian rights and Boycott Saudi campaigns. We hosted 13-year-old Palestinian youth activist Janna Jihad, and took a leading role in protecting the right to BDS. We disrupted U.S. special envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams (twice!), advocated for whistleblowers, supported fearless Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, worked with the Poor People’s Campaign, called for peace in Korea, traveled to Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Colombia, Honduras, Brazil and built deeper relationships, stretched our horizons, inspired others, and grew the movement for peace.
Please join us in the coming year!
We can feel the tide turning, we have our shoulder against it, and it is moving. Our coalitions are growing, the cost of wars to people and planet are more evident than ever. People are waking up to the ridiculous amount of money squandered on military spending. Money that is desperately needed in our local communities for education, housing, and green infrastructure to roll back climate change.
With U.S. presidential elections around the corner, 2020 is the year we need all hands on deck for peace. Your support will help us continue to speak truth to power, raise awareness, build community, lead new ideas and policies, and ignite change. With your generosity, commitment, voice, and passion, we can create a more peaceful world. Thank you for supporting Peace and Justice!
In endless love and gratitude,
Ann, Ariel, Caroline, Carley, Caty, Clara, Cody, Emily, Enas, Jodie, Kelly, Leonardo, Mark, Medea, Michelle, Nancy, Paki, Raegan, Teri, Tighe, and Zena