FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2023
Media Contact: Melissa Garriga | [email protected]
Eleven Activists Arrested in Senator Bernie Sanders' Office Demanding Diplomacy Instead of Funding More War in Ukraine
Washington, D.C. - A group of 50 activists and Vermont constituents staged a sit-in inside Senator Bernie Sanders' office on Wednesday, demanding the senator to call for peace and diplomacy in Ukraine instead of more weapons and war. The sit-in resulted in the arrest of 11 activists, including an 89-year-old CODEPINK peace activist.
The group was joined by Green Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Cornel West in the Senate lobby for a prayer vigil before the sit-in. The prayer vigil and sit-in were part of a week of action that included an antiwar rally on Tuesday night featuring Dr. West, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair at Union Theological Seminary; Claudia de la Cruz, Co-Executive Director of The People's Forum; Lee Camp, American comedian, writer, podcaster, news journalist; Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange; and Eugene Puryear, American journalist, activist, and host on Breakthrough News.
“We need Bernie to provide leadership to put a stop to the US funding of the Ukraine war now. Use the money for healthcare, not warfare,” said Burlington resident James Marc Leas.
Crystal Zevon, an artist and CODEPINK peace activist from Barnet, VT, expressed her disappointment in Senator Sanders, who has voted for more weapons to Ukraine and even criticized Democrats who called for peace talks. “Yes, Bernie should condemn the Russian invasion, but he should also be calling for a negotiated end to this brutal war,” said Zevon.
The group carried signs in support of peace talks and negotiations, including one quote from the Senator himself in which he previously called for a diplomatic solution.
Jodie Evans, Co-Founder of CODEPINK, reminded Senator Sanders of his antiwar roots, “We are showing up to remind Bernie of the values he espoused that made his name what it is. And call on him to stand for peace, to call for diplomacy and to again lead for peace,” said Evans.
Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder of CODEPINK and author of War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict, expressed her disappointment in the lack of Democrats calling for peace talks. “I am appalled that NO Democrats are saying what the majority of American people are saying: We need peace talks, not more war. This is NOT a MAGA issue or a Republican issue but an issue of human survival to stop WWIII and possibly a nuclear war. We need Bernie to be with us on the side of peace,” said Benjamin.
The activists are urging Senator Sanders to call for the flow of weapons to stop and the leadership of Ukraine, Russia, and the US to sit at the negotiating table and end the horrific war.
CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs, and other life-affirming programs.