Posted by CODEPINK Staff
July turned out to be a dramatic month for CODEPINK around the country, with several important developments as we spoke and acted against war, occupation, militarism and torture policies. Here is the mid-summer roseroots report:
Independence Day: The 4th of July provided us with opportunities to show our red-white-blue-and-PINK selves in from Maine (with an "I miss America" pageant) to Texas to Hawaii. In Austin, local coordinator Heidi Turpin reports: "Five of us women, along with our supportive CODEPINK associate, Jim, strolled through the crowd wearing our signboards and carrying peace flags … On the backs of our signs were the messages, 'Peace is Freedom from War,' 'Peace Takes Courage,' 'Peace is Creative,' 'Peace is Healthy,' and 'Peace is Matriotic.'"
Book Club: The Pink Pages Book Club continues as CODEPINKers read and discuss "MEENA: HEROINE OF AFGHANISTAN," by Melody Ermachild Davis, St. Martin's Press, 2003, with a forward by Alice Walker. For more info and to sign up to be in a book club, please click here.
Palestine: As part of our commitment to ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Occupied Territories, CODEPINK joined the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, by launching a boycott of beauty company AHAVA -- find out all the details on our colorful new website: www.stolenbeauty.org.
Bikini-clad CODEPINK activists smeared with mud have already rallied in Tel Aviv, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, France, and just this week in DC to expose the dirty secrets of AHAVA.
Ground the Drones!: From July 10 through July 13, CODEPINKers from Arizona and California joined our pink sisters Candace Ross and Elaine Clermont of Nevada for the first actions in our Ground the Drones campaign, building on the work of Voices for Creative Nonviolence in April. Kudos to Zanne Joi for a great KPFA interview about the unmanned aircraft, used for assassination and surveillance in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We had a gathering and info-sharing session with our allies from Nevada Desert Experience in a Vegas library on the 10th, a larger gathering at the Goddess Temple Guest House just north of Creech Air Force Base (where Candace is the priestess), several bannering and flyering actions on the Strip in Las Vegas, and two peace vigils on I-95 directly in front of Creech Air Force Base. Two activists were cited and released for briefly blocking the entrance road to the base, and some Bay Area pinkers plan to return to Las Vegas to do court support and more public education on the drones in late September.
Accountability: The Golden Gate local group has stepped up the Arrest War Criminals/Torture Accountability campaign by holding weekly vigils in front of torture advocate and UCB law professor John Yoo's home. As organizer Cynthia Papermaster says, "[Yoo's] incredibly smug about his complicity in the torture and murder of at least 100 people, as well as giving legal cover to the illegal wiretapping of U.S. citizens… I can't stand the thought that we're paying him over $200,000 a year to teach at UC. He's violated US and international laws-- and we pay him to teach at our public university?" The winning slogan in the Arrest Cheney slogan contest: JUSTICE FOR CHENEY/ PROSECUTE.
National Assembly: The National Assembly to End the War came together in Pittsburgh, PA. Report from local group coordinator Francine Porter: "The National Assembly is a new national network of antiwar and peace groups that advocates mass actions against the war; the network held their national antiwar conference from July 10th to 12th at La Roche College… Over 200 people attended… Many workshops were presented during the conference dealing with Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, War Spending, Women and War, Torture, Racism, The Policies behind the G20, and The Palestinian Struggle. …our group had a wonderful display table with past articles and great photos of past actions. We signed up 15 new members, and distributed literature announcing the Women's Tent City for the upcoming G20 protests. Many people (mostly women) stopping by our table recognized Codepink from National actions (photos from congressional hearings, Des with Condi Rice), and took information about our local group. Many women thought CODEPINK was a unique group because it is women-initiated....many women would prefer to work with women as opposed to men."
Counter-Recruitment: CODEPINKers from New York, Texas and of course Chicago attended the NNOMY Counter Recruitment Conference in Chicago from July 17 - 19 and got many new ideas for counter-recruitment work in their home communities. On a conference call, CODEPINK reps who attended the conference Barbara, Yvette, Sheila and Pat all talked about how impressed they were with the youth who attended and in some cases presented at this national conference. They also agreed on the importance of presenting alternative career paths to the military, especially for youth who may not be college-bound. A couple of these women will be updating the counter-recruitment section of www.codepinkalert.org, and all will be working with their local high schools and at military recruiting events to counter the heavily funded military propaganda to young people.
Honduras: Medea traveled to Honduras with an emergency international delegation organized from the United States by CODEPINK, Global Exchange and Non-Violence International, for a fact-finding mission in the wake of the June 28 coup that overthrew President Manuel Zelaya. Read Medea's articles about the trip. CODEPINK DC joined a Honduras rally, held a panel discussion event at Bus Boys and Poets restaurant, and, as a result of your grassroots pressure emailing letters to the State Department after our July 23 action alert, CODEPINK finally got a meeting with the head of the Honduras desk.
Global Day of Action in solidarity with the people of Iran: on Saturday, July 25, pinkers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and DC turned out for rallies advocating justice and human rights for Iranians. It was a great day to connect with our Iranian allies, get out the word about our "Stop the Next War Now" efforts in helping prevent a US attack on Iran, and understand the issues in more depth. Pink goes great with green!
DC Pink Week: Our Women's Leadership Intensive week in DC was busy! The visiting activists coordinated two AHAVA actions and joined Healthcare-Now on the 44th anniversary of Medicade to demand single-payer healthcare. Medea spoke at the healthcare rally at Senate Park and was joined on stage by a dozen PINKs in pink scrubs with a giant "Healthcare not Warfare" banner. The week also included a birddogging training facilitated by Gael with the Climate Factory summer student group, online organizing trainings with Paris, media work, a Honduras action and speaking event, a visit to the State Department, and a dance party!
We held an outreach and organizing conference call the last week in July in which Jodie gave excellent advice on how to cultivate and nurture an active local group, and Paris, Janet, and Rae shared tools for success online and offline. Be sure to check out the notes for more.
And to wind up the month, CODEPINKERs in the Bay Area and in San Luis Obispo joined allies from healthcare, children's advocates, prison reformers and many others in protests of the draconian California state budget cuts. As local coordinator Dian Sousa of SLO CODEPINK says in her calendar announcement: "CITIZENS SPEAK OUT! Schwarzenegger signs California Budget with an ax on the backs of the poor, the elderly, the sick and our the children's future."
And finally, some inspiring words from our small group in the Redlands, CA:
This is a message for all those tiny Pink chapters who are frustrated with a lack of participants which hinders our ability to make a big splash. Sometimes we become discouraged because we feel we are not making a dent in the BIG picture.
Ten days ago my family went to a Harkin Theater in Moreno Valley, CA. March Air Reserve Base is a big part of the economy of this small town in Riverside County. I was outraged when I saw a video game from goarmy.com in the arcade. Our four person, three generation, chapter wrote letters to Harkin's corporate office. I received a call within hours, but wanted a written answer to why our tax dollars were being used for a recruiting tool in a private establishment. Long story short, the game has been replaced with "Police Trainer". Personally objectionable? Yes! Better than a recruiting tool for the Army? Absolutely! Keep the faith, tiny chapters. Our Pink gives us "Rock Star" strength thanks to our brave leadership who puts themselves out there daily. To all the chapters, I pay homage. At rallies, or when speaking, a measure of respect is offered to anyone wearing the Pink, because of our work. Peace and giggles, Corla Coles
Get inspired by the 18 action report-backs from July listed on our Local Spotlight!