Personal note from Janet: One of my most delightful
moments in this two-month period was the 2-hour vigil in Venice,
CA on May 4, as I enjoyed the company of my colleagues C.J. Minster
and Kristen Ess Schurr, the two interns Dara and Sanaa, and several
local folks, holding
banners and speaking out for peace. It reminded me of
how standing in vigil literally grounds my activism.
On July 16 -17, I’ll be hosting a Rebuild
the American Dream house party. As Bring
Our War $$ Home campaigner C.J. Minster reminds me (and
all of us) here: “The American Dream Movement is developing a manifesto
of what a new American Dream looks like. We're encouraging CODEPINKers
to participate in this process and remind our sisters and brothers
that Bringing the War $$ Home is a foundational aspect of rebuilding
the dream.” Hosting, or attending, a house party is a great way
to meet new folks and connect our peace messaging to the needs of
our home communities.
I have some very good news to share: my nephew, a captain in the
Marine Corps who has been deployed to Afghanistan for several months,
is now home with his wife in North Carolina. Although the “drawdown”
is far smaller, slower and more inadequate than we need, it would
never have happened without our peace movement pushing and making
noise – which we will continue to do until ALL our troops come home!
I take comfort and inspiration from CODEPINK’s
Roseroots’ words, actions and long-term commitment, and I want to
give a special shout-out to all military family members and veterans
on the Roseroots listserv. I look forward to representing CODEPINK
at the Veterans for Peace conference in Portland, OR in August,
and am planning to go to DC
for October 6 and beyond. Can you join me?
May local highlights:
Starting May 1, Bay Area CODEPINKers
set out on a weeklong “peace pilgrimage” from San Francisco to Sacramento,
stopping at communities along the way to highlight local issues
such as underfunded mental health care, protests to stop development
of Native American burial site, city budget cuts and more. For an
example of one day of the pilgrimage, please
see. As Marie Bravo, local coordinator from the Lake
Tahoe area who joined the pilgrimage wrote, “Vallejo is a bankrupt
city, and so we chose to focus on "Busting the Myth." We spend over
$126 Billion per year for war, our government spent billions bailing
out corporations and financial institutions, tax cuts have been
extended during a time of severe budget shortfalls, yet when we
need money for human services the answer is “We’re broke!”
This project, which culminated in several days of activism against
education cuts in the state budget, has inspired Maine Bring Our
War $$ Home activists to do a similar project from September 11
to October 6! (More on that in “Coming Up” section.)
On the night of May 1, Osama
Bin Laden was assassinated by a team of Navy SEALs in
Pakistan, along with 4 others, and his body was dumped in the Indian
Ocean. Inspired by a long email thread started by Portland, OR local
coordinator Martha Shelley, I compiled local organizers’ responses
to this event and the subsequent public rejoicing for Pink
Tank. Attorney Natalie of Davis, CA summed it up: “As
a lawyer I cringe every time I hear that ‘justice has been served.’
What I learned in law school… this is NOT justice, and they are
not fighting for our freedom, and freedom is just chaos without
well-organized justice… I’m so glad I’m on the email list for codepinkers!
It’s interesting being in such a minority.”
The DC local organized an immediate response, engaging with “celebrators”
on the night of the killing and turning out a dozen people with
visuals in front of the White House the following day.
Always active Mainers had several local spotlights this month. CODEPINK
co-founder Medea Benjamin was the keynote speaker, focusing on the
upcoming Gaza flotilla, at Peace Action Maine's annual
Give Peas a Chance supper on May 7. Local folks and Medea
the Bring Our War $$ Home message to Senators Snowe and
At the other corner of the US, Tucson codepinkers organized by Mary
DeCamp did an action
at a shopping mall for Mother’s Day, skillfully engaging
mall cops so that they were not kicked out . On Memorial Day,
Mary attended the memorial march and ceremony in honor of a veteran
shot by police in his home, and encountered hostility from a “Marine
wrote, “Several in the gun-totin' crowd came up to talk
to me, and established nice human-to-human connections. Many thanked
me for being there and representing peace.”
Houston codepinkers are known for participating in the annual Art
Car parade, and on May 22 they showed their flair in the Make Out,
Not War truck designed by Shelley B. On Memorial Day weekend, Houston
CP constructed the civilian memorial piece of a huge
memorial to the dead of the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Madeleine Crozat-Williams, local coordinator worked to draw attention
to the children affected by war by displaying posters written in
Pashto, Arabic and English. "People
need to understand the cost of the war," Madeleine told
her local paper.
June local highlights:
Supporting alleged whistle-blower/wikileaker Bradley Manning has
been a big CODEPINK focus all this year. In New York City, codepinkers
set up a clever “Have your picture taken” street display, where
people held up a Bradley Manning photo card in front of their faces,
with the messages “We
Are All Bradley Manning” and “I Am Bradley Manning” prominently
on Bradley and this campaign is below under Campaign
The LA-area CODEPINK
local was very active this month, doing a protest at the Anaheim
Convention Center of war criminal and featured speaker Condi Rice
on June 6 as part of the Accountability/Expose War Crimes campaign.
Orange County activist Sharon Tipton reported: "Get a job!" someone
yells, and I forget my usual retort, "Get a conscience!" Later,
I think of a better, more thoughtful one, "Millions have died. We
have blood on our hands. I have a conscience. Do
you have a conscience?"
The DC local stepped up to support the right of Saudi women to drive,
a sign of the “Arab
Spring” spreading to one of the most misogynist countries
in the world. CODEPINK
has a petition on this issue on change.org.
Obama’s announcement of a lingering 5% “drawdown” of the 100,000
US troops and 100,000 (approximately) military contractors in Afghanistan,
which will take until summer 2012 with no end in sight to the overall
war, drew responses from DC and the Bay Area. DC pinkers went “back
to basics” on Capitol Hill work by bringing the pink
flair to an important House Rules Committee hearing on
the 2012 Military Appropriations bill. In San Francisco, Kirsten
Moller of Global Exchange and I organized a hasty day-after protest
at the New Federal Building, our PEACE banner and signs reading
“US Troops Home Now” and “Bring Our War $$ Home Now” inspiring honks,
peace signs and a cabdriver pulling over to take a flyer
The final weekend of June is a celebration of LGBT Pride around
the nation. The month came to a very PINK
conclusion as CODEPINK
locals in San
Francisco and NYC
raised much-needed awareness about Manning in the LGBT community
last weekend by marching in “Free
Bradley Manning” Pride contingents.
We welcome a new CODEPINK
local in the ITHACA-area, specifically in Trumansburg, NY?Rebecca Murphy,
email@example.com, is the new local coordinator there.
To start a new CODEPINK
local, please read
Campaigner Nancy Mancias, along with codepinkers from around the
US, traveled to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas as part of the Free Bradley
Manning protest organized by allies Courage to Resist, World Can’t
Wait, Bradley Manning Support Network and others on June 4. The
openly gay Army private who is alleged to have leaked 100,000s of
US military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks has been moved
from solitary confinement in Quantico Marine Corps brig to a medium-security
prison in Ft. Leavenworth where he is treated like a “normal” prisoner.
More on this in the Truth Set Free report below.
Nancy represented CODEPINK
at the Netroots Nation conference in Minneapolis on mid-June. She
reported: “What I loved about the conference was that everyone was
wired, for example, if I sent a tweet about a panelist who was stage,
the panelists would immediately respond… I was inspired by [speakers]
Van Jones [and] Rep. Keith Ellison. The labor leaders who spoke
at the morning welcoming were awesome! It was great to see familiar
faces and meet new people. I was able to hand out all the Accountability/Truth
Set Free flyers.”
Bring Our War $$ Home:
This campaign, under the direction of C.J. Minster, celebrated a
major victory at the US Conference of Mayors in Baltimore on June
20 when the nation’s mayors voted after vigorous debate and two
amendments to ratify the Resolution “Calling
on Congress to Redirect Military Spending To Domestic Priorities”.
This was the first time since the Vietnam War that the USCM
had put out a statement on US foreign policies and wars,
and the development was covered widely in the mainstream and alternative
media. C.J. and other codepinkers, including Lisa Savage of Maine’s
original BOW$H campaign, made a strong coalition with economic justice
and other community groups in Baltimore. Read
Lisa’s Common Dreams article about it here.
The Los Angeles City Council just passed the Bring Our War $$ Home
resolution by a vote of 12 to 1! Congratulations to the LA area
team for “mothering” this through. The mayor of Spokane, WA signed
on to the mayors’ resolution, even though the vote happened a couple
of weeks ago, and this campaign continues to get attention.
Please vote for the People’s Budget!
C.J. does a lot of alliance-building work, including with UFPJ,
New Priorities Network, WILPF, WAND and other organizations. If
you are interested in joining her in anti-NATO work (the next NATO
Summit on Afghanistan will be in Chicago in May 2012), please contact
her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The major focus of this campaign in May was the first-ever Move
Over AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, during the annual,
lavishly funded AIPAC conference. The Move Over AIPAC team did a
superb job of organizing several days of conference with major speakers,
street actions, evening programs at Busboys and Poets, public debates
and listening sessions with AIPAC participants, from May 20 - 24.
Controversy and anger erupted when 5 MOA activists disrupted Israeli
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to the AIPAC conference, and were
brutally grabbed, beaten, and otherwise abused while being ejected.
The following day, May 24 Rae, from her seat in the gallery, disrupted
Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress, and was mauled
and shoved so badly she
had to be hospitalized. Despite the extreme unpleasantness,
Move Over AIPAC was a great success, generating new alliances, media
coverage and attention on AIPAC and its power over Congress.
In June, the major action was/is the Gaza flotilla including the
US ship, the Audacity of Hope. As I write this, the flotilla is
stalled in Athens, and the DC local has begun a 24-hr vigil in front
of the Greek Embassy with boat-shaped sign, candles and determination.
Formerly known as “Hands off WikiLeaks,” our Truth
Set Free campaign has evolved in response to the growing
need to support whistle-blowers and fight for government transparency.
Our new Truth Set Free campaigner Melanie Butler is strengthening
to protect truth-tellers by forging alliances with the Government
Accountability Project (GAP), and the Committee
to Stop FBI Repression, in addition to continuing to
work with our friends in the Bradley
Manning Support Network.
On June 4th CODEPINKers
joined Bradley Manning supporters from across the country in Leavenworth,
Kansas, for a demonstration at the Fort Leavenworth prison where
Manning awaits trial. Among the hundreds
who gathered to demand Bradley's freedom were his father,
Brian Manning, and World War II era veteran Sally-Alice Thompson,
who led CODEPINK
in a song she had written for Bradley .
CODEPINK NYC, World
Can’t Wait, and other local allies held a solidarity
rally in New York.
On June 15th CODEPINKers
and members of the Bradley Manning Support Network rallied
outside the federal court in Alexandria, VA where Manning’s
friend and supporter David House had been summoned to testify. The
next day CODEPINK
NYC joined the Committee to Stop FBI Repression for a National Day
of Action in solidarity with Carlos Montes, a Chicano activist whose
home was raided by the FBI in May.
National staff news:
We said good-bye to our media/social media coordinator, Jean Pockrus,
and to Shaden Dowaitt of the DC office, with thanks for their tremendous
hard work over the last several months. In San Francisco, we said
a fond farewell to our intern Chelsea Byers, who put her enthusiasm
and brains into actions and gatherings.
We say welcome to Truth Set Free campaigner Melanie Butler. Melanie
is a NYC-based peace activist who has worked with War Resisters
and anti-war groups across Canada. She joined the team on May 21st,
hitting the ground running at Move Over AIPAC in DC. She opened
a new NYC CP office, along with intern Malak at 666 Broadway, Suite
500, New York, NY 10012. Phone: (212) 300-2397.
Another new hire is our new social media coordinator, former intern
Sanaa Bengholam, who has been an intern in the Venice, CA office
since March of this year and who has excellent communications and
social networking skills.
We welcome our summer interns in our four offices.
Coming up/SAVE THESE DATES!
is getting involved with 10
Years and Counting in preparation for the October 6 and
beyond actions planned for Washington, DC. Please contact C.J. at
July 16 – 17: Rebuild
America house parties are being organized by MoveOn and
others for grassroots involvement in job creation and other much-needed
uses of our government. Jodie Evans, our Executive Director, encourages
us to take part in these so that we can bring our messages of ending
US wars and militarism as part of the mix, and to connect with our
neighbors and community members.
August 1 - 10: Nuclear Free Events in Japan. CODEPINKers
in Osaka, Japan are hosting their guest Nydia Leaf of the NYC Granny
Peace Brigade, organizing and speaking at a forum on a nuclear-free
world, participating in a Meeting for Nuclear Free World in Hiroshima,
and enjoying a reunion of the Green Tea Party back in Osaka. The
horrific and ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima following a 9.0 earthquake
in March means that this is an especially important gathering of
all peace-minded and anti-nuke (power and weapons) folks from around
the globe. Hisae, local coordinator of Osaka, has done a great job
of reaching out to Americans and emphasizing that we must be “glocal”
– both global and local.
August 18 – 20: CODEPINK
Southeast Region Planning Conference at The Farm, TN. Join CODEPINK
TN coordinators Elizabeth Barger & Ashley Offt, and women from
throughout the Southeast for an unforgettable weekend of sisterhood,
storytelling, learning singing, stratagems, and taking action for
a more peaceful world! For more info contact Eliz at email@example.com.
September 11: the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the
US is an opening for us to say, “Enough war and violence!” to a
6 and beyond: I’ve been hearing from codepinkers that
they ARE going to this, that they’re thinking about it, that they
want to know more. Whether in DC in our home communities, this 10th
year marker of the US war in Afghanistan is more than one more sad
“anniversary” – it’s a time to take a stand our ground against permanent
US war and occupation and against the imposition of the 2012 “austerity”
Taking actions and creating victories for peace,
Janet and the CODEPINK Team
P.S. Want to see Medea and DC folks boogie down? Check
out their dancing at TJ’s party at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial
– because we CODEPINKers
are about humor and joy:
Inspired by what you read here? We invite you to give a donation
to support our actions and join our campaigns!
The Roseroots Report is a bimonthly bouquet of CODEPINK
local actions and news. Why roseroots? Because we’re cultivating
a vibrant pink flowering garden with a hearty stemming history and
strong roots, not just little “grassroots.” The 1912 Lawrence
textile workers on strike had it right when they said, “We Want
Bread, But Roses Too!” Our pink hearts are moved by CODEPINK‘s
approach to peacemaking: we aren’t just about getting out a talking
point or ensuring a basic right, we’re about bringing our money
back to our beloved resources – schools, health, parks, libraries
and more, disarming our defenses, opening our minds to new narratives
and possibilities, and creating beauty. www.codepink.org