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SATURDAY, JANUARY 25, 2003
I have very little to
write about today. I spent a lovely, quiet day here at home catching
up with emails, cleaning out my computer files (rather like cleaning
closets), having a brief visit with my friend Pat Kolon, reading
in Katherine Hepburn's photo-memoir about the making of "The
African Queen" in the Congo in 1955, watching as much as
I could stomach of "The Lord of the Rings" with Eddie
(way too violent for my taste), and archiving last month's journal
entries. As I say, a lovely, quiet day. At this rate, I might
even get to bed before midnight. If I do, it will be the first
time this week that I've turned in before 2 AM!
SUNDAY, JANUARY 26, 2003
Today I wrote and put up a new web page: I call it "Activism 101: or How To Get Out on the Streets and Feel You Belong There." It came about as a result of the many email requests I've received of late from readers who ask how to become active in the anti-war movement. It is also an acknowledgement of the vast numbers of first-time demonstrators I've seen at recent protests.
I suspect there are many
people who might come to our demonstrations if they had some idea
what to expect. Hopefully, Activism 101 will give them the confidence
they need to get out there and join us. We need every voice we
can find to swell the sounds of our cries of NO WAR ON IRAQ!
MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 2003
This web world is an amazing phenomenon.
On it I can watch videos of us Raging Grannies singing on the streets of Washington, DC on January 18, by going to http://www.snowshoefilms.com and http://www.MiddleEast.Org/feature
It brings me a message from the singer/songwriter Josh White, Jr.'s assistant who had found my site because of a photo I'd put up of Josh on July 17, 2002 after having had the good fortune of seeing him perform at the Ark in Ann Arbor.
Through it, I share my day-to-day life in this journal, and as a result, meet wonderful readers from around the world, some of whom--like Margaretha from Sweden--become friends for life.
I get all my news online from national and international sources that are not beholden to corporate advertisers or under governmental control or spewing military propaganda. My favorites are www.commondreams.org and www. alternet.org.
Even on cold Michigan winter day like today, a day I definitely preferred to stay home, I can still do my work for peace and feel connected to the outside world because of the internet.
What did I ever do without it?
I remember back when I worked at the book store, a newspaper journalist who was working there during Detroit's newspaper strike said to me, "Patricia, why don't you get a computer? You're such a communicator, it would be a natural for you." That was in 1995 and I was still happy with my word processor. It was three years before I took his advice. Within six months of going online, I had designed and put up my own web site. Did that man know me, or what!
Since October 1998, I've worn out one PC laptop and moved on to a Mac iBook, which I adore. I've also gotten out from under Big Brother AOL and gone, happily, to Earthlink as my ISP. I've added a daily journal (circa February 25, 2000) and enhanced it with digital pictures, starting in December 2000. I've graduated from thrice-daily outbursts of computer frustration to thrice-yearly panic attacks. I know little about the inner workings of this machine, but manage to know all that I need to know to do what I want to do. I spend many hours at the computer every day but never see it as a waste of time. I don't play computer games or surf the web or go to chat rooms. Instead, I keep my journal updated daily, occasionally add or revise other pages on my web site, stay informed about current events by reading countless articles online every day, send out political group emails very selectively and never in the format of a "forward." I contact my elected representatives and world officials about issues of justice and peace, correspond by email with lots and lots of people across the globe, and use the computer to write satirical songs and help coordinate the activites and communications of our Raging Grannies Without Borders. I keep up the web pages for our O Beautiful Gaia Great Lakes Basin community, and write an online journal for the Raging Grannies Without Borders.
It may sound as though I spend ALL my time on the computer, but I expect my regular journal readers would say otherwise. For instance, on this frigid night, I was delighted to swim 30 lengths of the pool at our local middle school. Tuesday I'll be going to help out with kids aged 7-10 in the art room at a Dearborn, MI school, Wednesday is a national day of protest over Bush's State of the Dis-Union speech so I'll be singing with our Raging Grannies in front of Detroit's Federal Building from 3-5 PM, Friday is a planned "Art Day" with my women friends, and Saturday is the monthly all day gathering of the Great Lakes Community of the O Beautiful Gaia CD project. This is definitely not just a computer geek talking!
But, I still don't know
what I'd do without it...
TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2003
"I want to be President of the United States when I grow up." said a fourth grade girl at my table in art class today. "And the first thing I'd do is make a new law."
"What would that be?", I asked.
"Well, with no boys, it might make it kinda tough to keep your country going. You know, you need both women and men to make more people."
"Oh, OK. But there's another law I'd make. No violence and no war!"
"Yes", cried another girl at the table. "Wars kill people who haven't done anything wrong. Like maybe that leader of Iraq is bad but who's going to get killed? Children, that's who. It isn't fair."
At the end of class, the
kids lined up as they prepared to leave. Someone flashed me the
peace sign and it quickly traveled down the line, until every
one of these nine year-old boys and girls was holding her/his
hands up in a peace sign. I did the same back to them. Just before
they left, a girl who hadn't even been in on the discussion at
our table looked at me with sad eyes and said, "I cry every
night when I see the news. What's going to happen to the children?"
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2003
Today Detroit joined over 100 cities across the US in letting George W. Bush know exactly what we thought of his State of the Dis-Union address. Our demonstration was loud, enthusiastic and wonderfully diverse. Folks chanted for two full hours as they marched with signs in front of the Federal Building downtown. Horns honked and passersby clapped at the message we were proclaiming. And our message?
No war in my name
We vote for peace...No war on Iraq
Peace follows justice, not war
Stop war on Iraq
$200 billion war on Iraq...Money for education not war
Stop the Killing...Peace
Our Raging Grannies were
there in full force...and we picked up singers right and left.
I'd guess we numbered fifteen or more for much of the time. We
sang for a solid hour and a half over, under and around chants
being bellowed through bullhorns, and frequently with a drummer
accompanying us. This was no place for a shrinking violet, believe
me! There were also TV cameras and microphones there to record
our Grannies' songs and the marchers' chants. It was one of the
most spirited marches I've ever seen here in Detroit and I was
so grateful to be part of it. What would I do without the Raging
Grannies to keep me active and empowered during these disturbing
times! I can't imagine. We were so obviously making a significant
contribution and having a good time doing it that I think we recruited
some new members to our gaggle, among them this beautiful granny
who brought her two
granddaughters to march for peace on this cold sunny day.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2003
It's a little after 8 PM and as soon as I put up this journal entry, I'm going to bed. I am too pooped to pop, as they say.
My day was spent preparing for the Raging Grannies' participation in a protest outside the Detroit Water Board on Monday. Unbelievable as it sounds, the Water Board has cut off water--and cemented the water valves shut--to over 40,000 homes in Detroit in the past months. Over 8,000 additional homes remain at risk. Non-payment of bills, they say, but it is winter here in Detroit, and a particularly cold one at that. The Michigan Welfare Rights Organization is mounting weekly protest demonstrations every Monday outside the Water Board Building. They are insisting that the City Council call a moratorium on the cut-offs, at least until the winter is over. By the way, many of these families have also had their heat and electricity shut off. It is unimaginable. Talk about a War on the Poor. So I sent out a letter to our Grannies giving them notice of the protest and background on what has been happening. Today I wrote new lyrics to four songs that we can sing on Monday.
And now to bed.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2003
Another art day! What would I do without days like this? What would I do without these women in my life? Being with them, painting our hearts onto paper, was like breathing in the promise of spring. I MUST remember during these dark days that art nourishes my soul. Without it I go a little crazy...which is where I think I've been of late. Activism is good, but activism without art, music, friends and beauty is as dry as dust. Let me remember this in the days ahead.
Actually, I'd called my friends last night before I went to bed and had cancelled out of today. I felt incredibly rotten, with a raging headache and a feeling of total exhaustion. But 12 hours sleep did the trick and I woke up feeling fine again. So I was late getting to Penny's house, but they didn't seem to mind. In fact they made me feel like my presence meant a great deal to them. I love these women.
Today Penny was facilitating watercolor for us. She had recently been to Esalen in California for a painting workshop and was excited to share what she'd learned. Not only did she have a wonderful day planned, but she provided all the materials. And beautiful materials, they were too! We did watercolor washes, wet into wet, painting on dry paper, as well as using different kinds of paper and fun things like salt and spray bottles of water to get different effects. After a full morning's work, we took time to share a delicious lunch. Before eating, we sang the Blessing Song that we'll be recording on the O Beautiful Gaia CD--we are all part of the project--and then enjoyed Sooz's homemade hot lentil Middle Eastern dish, and Pat's treats from an Indian restaurant in Windsor, Ontario where she lives. I brought hummous and pita bread and Penny supplied our tea, coffee, juices and orange slices dipped in chocolate for dessert.
After eating, Penny shared a book that has inspired her watercolor explorations, and then prepared us to do our large "process painting." This is when you let your intuition take you where it wants to go. No plans or expectations, just painting for the pure joy of painting. I LOVE to paint this way but haven't done it in awhile. Each of us worked with intensity and in silence. Well, silence in relation to conversation, but we had the pulsing beat of Ubaka Hill's drumming CD to carry us along. We have all drummed with Ubaka at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, so it was like being with my sisters on the Land. Perfect! The paintings that emerged show how uniquely we each intuited what was to be said through us. Here is Sooz with her finished painting, Pat, Penny and myself. Penny tore hers into three pieces and plans to create a collage.
Please, please, PLEASE
don't let me forget how much this kind of creative play with friends
means to me! I will need a lot of this kind of nourishment if
President Bush gets his wish and brings war to Iraq. In every
way I can, I must counter that act of destruction with acts of
creation and life. Don't let me forget...
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2003
I returned home after spending all day with the women of the O Beautiful Gaia CD project to find a letter waiting for me: in it were three notes, one from Carol Gilbert, OP, one from Ardeth Platte, OP, and one from Jackie Hudson, OP. These are the three Dominican nuns who were part of the Sacred Earth & Space Plowshares II nonviolent action at the Minuteman III missile silo #N-8 in Northern Colorado on October 6, 2002. They are currently imprisoned in the Clear County Jail in Georgetown, CO, awaiting trial. On February 21, a judge will rule on 20 of their motions and 4 of the government's. "His ruling", Jackie writes, "will determine if we will receive a fair trial or a kangaroo court." Even if they receive a fair trial, these three women religious--aged 54, 66 and 67--are charged with Sabotage and Malicious Destruction of Property of the United States. These two charges carry maximum sentences of 20 and 10 years respectively, and fines of up to $250,000 on each count! Their trial will be March 31-April 4.
Carol, Ardeth and Jackie are my personal beacons of hope in this ongoing struggle for sanity and justice in the world. Their courage, faith and willingness to risk everything is heartening to those of us who share their concern for the earth and its inhabitants. But these women do more than talk about their concerns; they act on them!
So today, after being with a community of 56 women from Canada and the United States, women who share Carol, Ardeth, and Jackie's commitment to Gaia--to Sacred Earth--I could feel their breath and hear their voices as I read their notes to me. I'd like to share just a bit of what they wrote:
From Carol--"Thank you for being at the rally [Washington, DC] & suffering with that C-O-L-D! The women here were so good & had us watch C-Span & the entire rally on Sat. 1-18 a.m. When Liz [MacDonald of Jonah House where Carol and Ardeth live] spoke they all clapped. We shed a few tears that a.m."
From Jackie--"Many thanks for your encouraging message. How great that you are adding music to your art [Word Art] for the cause of justice. Many of my friends sing with the Seattle Grannies--such fun while delivering powerful messages! they were mentored by the Vancouver, BC [the original Raging Grannies] until they took off on their own."
unite with you in spirit, know and trust we are in a movement
for a common cause. We are conscious of the long haul and know
that all of our energy and life will have to continue--for NO
WAR, NO WAR ANYWHERE, STOP SUFFOCATING CAPITALISM, CREATE
SYSTEMS FOR LIFE GIVING BASIC HUMAN NECESSITIES. So we act &
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2003
During times when sanity is in short supply and lies are lionized as truth, there is nothing more important than coming together in a circle of women who see through the clouds of war to the possibility of peace, and are willing to sing, write, dance, drum, speak and act in ways that bring that possibility to life. And so it was yesterday at our monthly gathering of the O Beautiful Gaia CD project.
We gathered on a snowy morning in the First Unitarian Universalist church in the heart of Detroit, 50 women ready to sing of the earth, challenge our assumptions and work toward change. We co-created the altar, informally but with reverence. Pat lit our candle , after which we did as we have done every month since September, and sang "O Beautiful Gaia" with women spontaneously offering their prayers as new verses to be sung. We went around the circle and asked each woman to sing her name, which the community echoed back to her. And then we settled down to a morning of song. After all, this is a CD project!
Joanna led us as we sang "Listen To the Voices", a song based on words by our own Mary Margaret Parent with music by Carolyn McDade. It was easy to sing this song from our hearts. It begins:
Listen, listen to the
that beg to differ from the rest.
Listen, listen to the voices
That beg to differ from the rest.
The beauty of each being,
The wonder of our truth
The wisdom of our experience
Sustain and make us community
Sustain and make us community.
Next, it was Deanne Bednar's turn to share her newly created song, "The Circle of Life." This is the song she brought to our Notable Women rehearsal last month, still fresh from the birthing. As Deanne played and we sang, Sandy Yost stood up and accompanied Deanne on the clarinet. It was pure magic. Such a glorious addition to our gathering of songs for the CD!
And then Julia got up to help us with "Beginners", a song with music by Norma Luccock and text by the poet Denise Levertof. Of all our songs, this one has the most complex parts and is taking the most attention. But we don't mind; it is a stunning piece of music. Since I had decided to move today from the middle section to the high section which carries the melody, I found I enjoyed our time of singing much more. And I wasn't missed as we have lots of strong middle voices.
Julia then led us in the "Longing Series." This is a collection of three songs with music by Carolyn McDade and words created from the earth, water, land, air and species of our particular bio-region. "We Sing the Longing" has verses that our women have written; verses like:
We are the patchwork
Of water, earth, air and sky
Threads gently weaving
Our soul's design
We are the sturgeon
In search of clean flowing streams
We are the water
that swirls our dreams
We are the snow fall
Drifting on currents of air
We are the darkness
that brings repair
The second part of the "Longing Series" is a chant in which we name each of the Endangered Species of Michigan and Ontario. As we sang of the Bashful Bulrush, the Algonquin Wolf, the Piping Plover and more, Penny showed her PowerPoint presentation so we could see their faces. And then we sang to the Endangered Species that suffer the peril of war. It was hard to stay dry-eyed as we lamented the threatened extinction of innocents like the Afghan Tortoise, the Old World Otter and the Pale-Backed Pigeon in Afghanistan, and the Asiatic Lion, the Black Finless Porpoise and the Sociable Lapwing in Iraq.
We concluded this series by singing:
Let them continue on
Let them continue on
Oh, let them continue on.
As we sang I looked around the circle, occasionally taking pictures of our women. Here is our youngest sister, 14 year-old Courtney sitting in a way that only a teenager could do with comfort. And here are the women of each section--high voices, middles and lower voices--each one of whom gave it all she had.
By the time we broke for lunch, everyone was ready to chill out a little. But, after getting our food, most of us joined our interest groups and shared ideas as we ate. Mary Tiner gathered some folks around the piano to practice her French verses for "We Sing the Longing." Mary Bunker accompanied them on the piano. I am always amazed at how many of our women can play instruments.
After lunch, we sang a little while longer and then got ready for an afternoon of drumming. Lori Fithian is a gifted drum teacher/facilitator from Dexter, Michigan with whom many of us have drummed for years. She has agreed to be one of the musicians on our CD and came today to give us the opportunity to add drumming to our O Beautiful Gaia experience. A good number of our women brought their own drums, like this beautiful handmade one of Charmaine's, but Lori brought plenty more so everyone could be part of the circle. Did we have fun! You can see the delight on the women's faces and on Lori's as well. Of course, drumming led to dancing and, again, their delight is obvious! For me, there was the unexpected joy of discovering that my less-than-able hands could beat on the djun djun drum and hit a tambourine at the same time. Fun,fun, fun! Lori ended the afternoon by sharing a song about the Great Lakes that she had created spontaneously at a previous workshop. She encouraged us to do the same.
As we sang and shared in our closing circle, Lori told us about the Columbia space shuttle exploding. We had not heard of it because we'd been away from radios and TVs all day. The reverence with which the circle received this tragic news, and the beautiful way our silence evolved into singing an African song of prayer, showed the power of community.
After the official end of our day together, many of us went across the street to the Cass Cafe where we enjoyed wonderful food in a uniquely Detroit atmosphere.
How deeply grateful I
am that it is this year and no other that we have come together
to work on this project. How could we have known how it necessary
it would be, for us and for our world? For it is circles like
O Beautiful Gaia that hold the dreams of peace and healing that
will sustain our earth.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2003
"No water...No peace!"
"We're fired up...Won't take no more!"
"What do we want? WATER! When do we want it? NOW!"
And so we marched, around and around in front of the Detroit Water Board Building from noon until 1 PM today, in the drizzling rain, chanting and singing. We Raging Grannies were there to join in this protest sponsored by the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, as were many others...Food Not Bombs (with free hot tea, potato dill soup and a rice/vegetable dish), the local A.N.S.W.E.R. group (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), university students, older people, the disabled (besides me in my scooter, there was a man using crutches), folks from the city and the suburbs all together, working for one common purpose: to stop the water shut-offs in Detroit!
At present 40,000 Detroit homes have had their water cut off for non-payment of bills, with 8,400 more slated for shut-offs. That means one-third of Detroit school children are living in homes that have no water! The City Council has been dragging its feet on issuing a moratorium--at least until the winter is over--but community activists like Maureen Taylor(whom I got to know in the CPR group) are not going to sit back and let them get away with this cruel treatment of our citizens, especially those who are stressed enough with trying to make it on low-paying jobs or inadequate welfare grants. As the United Nations says, water is a RIGHT! And we demand that right for everyone, no matter who they are, where they live or how much or how little money they have. Water is a human right!
It isn't as if Detroit doesn't have access to water. The Great Lakes that surround us contain one fifth of all the fresh water in the world. We have the water, so why aren't we seeing to it that people get what they need? I don't even believe in charging money for water: I think it should be provided free to every citizen. Heat and electricity too. Many of the people whose water has been shut off have also had their heat and electricity cut off as well. And this has been a VERY cold winter in Detroit. How can people survive? We think some of them haven't, but it's hard to prove.
Anyway, we did what we could today to draw attention to this undeclared War on the Poor. We Grannies--Charlotte, Judy, Bev and Dolores, myself and even Helen who showed up too late to sing, but showed up nonetheless!--handed out song sheets to everyone with the new Water Board songs I'd written last week, and led songs over the bullhorn when it wasn't being used for chants. A fellow from WDET-Detroit Radio (the NPR affliate at Wayne State University) audiotaped us as we sang and interviewed me about why the Raging Grannies were there. The tape was aired on WDET-Detroit Radio News this afternoon. It's been amazing how silent the press and media have been about this crisis.
There have been weekly protests for three weeks now, and we'll be out there again next Monday. We won't give up until our people have clean fresh water pouring from their taps again! Here are some of the signs that were carried today:
Water For all
No Water Is a Public Health Hazard
Water Dept. Is the Taliban
Water For All, Not For Profit
We Can't Live Without Water
If You Cut Off Water, You Cut Off Hope, and That's the Last Straw
Cut-Offs Should Be a Crime
Free Our Utilities!
Turn On the Human Rights
Shutting Off Utilities Is Immoral!
MLK Jr. Would've Been Here With Us!
And one man connected
the dots between George W. Bush's proposed War On Iraq and our
Money For Jobs Not War
I dedicate today's
actions to my mother, Emily Miller Lay, who in her work as a social
worker and her life as a concerned citizen, taught me to
work for justice for all. Today would have been her 90th birthday.
Happy birthday, dearest Mom.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2003
My alarm went off at 9 AM this morning so I could get ready for school. I tried to roll out of bed and my body said, "Forget it!" Well, I can't say that I blame it. I've been pushing myself pretty hard of late. So I turned over and went back to sleep. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
I know some of my readers are cheering right about now. There are those who get tired just reading about my life, much less living it. But, you know, I'm getting pretty darn good at stopping when I need to stop. So that's what I did today.
My one "accomplishment" was creating a new drawing for my home page. It says it all as far as I'm concerned.
And, by the way, I discovered
that the Raging Grannies segment was not on "All Things Considered"
yesterday, but on our local WDET-Detroit
radio news instead. You can hear it if you have RealPlayer
or some such software. Today I talked to Maureen Taylor of the
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization--the Water Board protest
organizer--and she said that, until now, there had been very little
press or media coverage of this atrocious situation in Detroit.
But this morning she was contacted by the BBC. They want to send
a news crew out to the protest next Monday. Wouldn't it be great
if the BBC World News Tonight ran the story on PBS! Methinks that
would shame the Detroit Water Board enough to turn things around.
May it be so.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2003
It's rare that I have an opportunity to talk with someone who sees things radically differently from me. Of course, Ed does, to some degree, but we usually agree on the basics. Tonight in the pool locker room, a good woman and I had a powerful political discussion that travelled many paths. Finally she said, "I have to leave! I can't talk anymore." But it was good that we got as far as we did.
I heard that she cares about AIDS but doesn't feel we have any business sending money to Africa when we have so many problems here at home. She talked about getting sick of hearing "Black people whine about not having enough." She said she agrees with President Bush's Pentagon budget because, "Do you want to be annihilated, or killed with chemical weaopons?"
I responded by saying that the US would have plenty of money to help the people of Africa with AIDS and take care of all its own problems if we stopped spending so much money on weapons and wars. Regarding "whining", I asked how she'd feel if she were a single Mom with three children trying to make it on a minimum wage job at Burger King? I invited her to join me at next Monday's Water Board protest so she could meet some extremely powerful persons of color, none of whom I'd ever heard whine about anything. I mentioned Maureen Taylor of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization as an example. I spoke about how President Bush had entered the White House with a surplus and now had submitted a budget that would put the US in the worst deficit position in history. She said it was the liberal press that had said there was a surplus in the first place, that it wasn't true at all. We talked a bit about the press and media and how "sound bites" could misconstrue and mislead. I told about having been at events that I didn't even recognize once the press and media had presented them through their own lens.
As I say, it was a good, honest, respectful discussion. It never got personal and stayed topic-based. But it was when she asked me if I wanted to be annihilated, that I had to say that I was not afraid of anyone but our own government. That to me they are the most dangerous force in the world. I said it reminded me of the old Pogo cartoon, "We have met the enemy and he is us." That was when she threw up her hands and said she had to leave. But we ended on a respectful note by agreeing to disagree.
Tonight I learned that
educated people in this country can see some things very differently,
while seeing other things quite similarly. For instance she doesn't
want this war on Iraq any more than I do. She also agrees that
water is a human right and should be provided to everyone whether
they can pay for it or not. See, we can always find places to
meet. Why can't governmental leaders sit down and have such discussions?
And do it in person, no intermediaries, just two individuals sitting
down and hashing things out for as long as they can. Take times
out when needed, but then come back the next day and hash some
more. Talking and listening. Mainly listening...
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2003
I have had a profoundly life-altering day. I'd like to share with you its fruit in the form of an email I just sent to President George W. Bush.
Let there be peace and let it begin with me.
Date: February 6, 2003
Subject: An opportunity for greatness
Dear President Bush
I have been talking with you all day...in my head, that is. I would like to share with you what the conversation looked like. And I ask that you not be offended if I call you by your first name; it is done with respect and a depth of caring, rather like a grandmother talking to her grandson.
George, there's still time. You can still turn this thing around. It's not too late no matter what anyone says. All it takes is two words from you: "No war." And there will not be a war. You are the only person in the world who has this power now, George. You can do it. I know you can.
Oh, it won't be easy. I know Dick and Donald and Paul and Karl and a bunch of other people you admire and believe in will say you can't do it. They'll say it's too late. They'll say we've got all those troops and weapons and aircraft carriers and warships and bomber planes massed out there in the Gulf and in the desert and you can't just leave them to rot. They'll say you HAVE to use them now. But, you know what, George, that's not true. It's simply not true. There have been many, many instances in the course of history when a leader has had a change of heart at the last minute and not used the troops he had assembled. You can keep some of them there if you feel you need to, but you can bring a lot of them home. Do you think those young men and women will mind? I doubt it. They'll feel like they've been given their lives back; they'll feel like they've been given a reprieve. They will thank you for the rest of their natural lives. Because what you will be giving them back IS their natural lives. You will be saving them from what happened to their compatriots, those men and women who fought in the Gulf War and have never been the same since. Those former soldiers and pilots who took their lives rather than try to live with the after-effects of war...the pain, the disease, the depression, the broken-down immune system, the guilt. The unending guilt and visions of what they had seen and smelled and done. Oh yes, this group of women and men will be eternally grateful to you for saving them from such misery, from the possibility of horrible deaths themselves or bringing horrible deaths to others.
Speaking of deaths, George, I want you to remember the children you visited at that elementary school in Southfield, Michigan last May. Remember, George? The children, most of them from Iraq? Can you see their smiles, hear their voices and their laughter? Can you remember how they sang for you, danced for you, read to you? How proud they were to have the President of the United States visit their school? George, it is THESE children who will suffer and die in another war on Iraq. These children with their liquid brown eyes and fancy dresses and spiffy haircuts who will be killed or maimed or sentenced to a lingering death from the depleted uranium bombs your troops will drop on their homes, their schools, their mosques, their hospitals, their playgrounds. Please, George, see their faces, remember their life and innocence. At school today in East Dearborn, Michigan, one of these little girls told me she had written you a letter this week. In her letter she said, "Please, President Bush, don't start a war. It will kill the children." It was this same little girl who told me last week that she cried every night when she saw the news on TV. She said to me then, "What about the children?" George, please don't forget the children.
Isn't there a story of a man in your Bible, a man who was on his way to wreak death and destruction on those people who professed belief in that religious revolutionary, Jesus, who was hung on a cross? Wasn't his name Saul and wasn't he on his way to Damascus and didn't he experience a radical turn-of-heart one night, a conversion so profound that he became one of the most celebrated members of the religion that became known as Christianity? You, dear George, can be a man just like Saul. You can change so dramatically that you will be remembered as one of the greatest leaders of all time. It can happen in an instant, George, just like it did with Saul.
If you decide to stop this war on Iraq before it starts, you will be the most admired man in the world, George. And this will be just the beginning. You have the power to make decisions that will affect every part of life on this planet. What an amazing thing, that one individual can have such power.
Oh, I know, your advisers, those older men your Dad put around you to help you handle this huge responsibility, they will not be happy if you change, if you go against their wishes. But just stop for a minute and think about it. Are these men thinking of you or of themselves? Do they advise you in ways that will benefit the world or themselves? That's the question, George. And if the answer is that they are thinking mainly of themselves, then you've got to look at that and ask yourself, "Is this how I want to be remembered? As a President who made decisions that just benefited the people around me? Or do I want to be remembered as the President who made decisions that would benefit the earth and its people, ALL of its people?"
As I say, George, it's not too late. I know you can do this. Today. You can do it today. And if you do, George, I promise you that I will support you. I will do everything in my power to help you stand strong and continue making good decision after good decision. I promise you that. And I'm not the only one. If you dare to change in this radical way, George, you will find the most amazing allies and companions at your side. You will be given everything you need to follow this new path, the path that leads toward life not death. No, it won't be easy, George, but what of value is? At least you will be able to live with yourself and know that you did everything you could to save this precious planet from disaster.
Ah, George. I know that you can do it.
In pursuit of peace and trust in greatness,
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2003
Today was a Raging Grannies prep day. Tomorrow is our monthly meeting and there was LOTS to do to get ready. But it's done now, so I can relax.
As I've mentioned, organizing is not my favorite activity. I've certainly done my fair share over the years, but never before have I felt that what I was doing had such potential to benefit others. Not that I'm getting delusions of grandeur about the Grannies, but I can already see that our songs and just our being there changes things. For instance, at the anti-war demonstrations where the Raging Grannies have been present, people smile, they laugh out loud, they sing and chant with enthusiasm and energy. It just seems like we're having more fun. There's a stronger sense of community, almost like a family. After all, we're everybody's grandmother! Certainly I'm finding there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work to be done, but I don't mind a bit of it. And isn't that a sign that you're doing what is yours to do?
I'll tell you who is doing exactly what is hers to do and that's "Granny D" Haddock. On the occasion of her 93rd birthday, this longtime peace activist gave the following speech to a crowd of 400 in Keene, New Hampshire on January 25, 2003:
My family belongs to a group of families who, together, provide for the annual income of a local farmer, in exchange for the food he produces. It is an organic operation, which not only means that dangerous chemicals are kept out of the foods, but also out of the soil and the water that flows eventually into the rivers and seas.
How we live shapes the entire world. I am no angel. I buy clothing that is a bargain and I look at the tag with guilt if it is from some faraway place where the workers may be abused. My part of New England used to be a great textile center, so I also care about the fact that my purchasing may take jobs from my neighbors.
What we drive, what we buy, the entertainment we choose, the way we use electricity and water - all of these things matter. Our little decisions work for or against our dream of a fair world that spins along with nature in balance and with people living well in their local economies. Poverty happens, war happens, imperialism happens, when all the little bad decisions of a nation's people accumulate and find political expression.
Just as an unbalanced mind can accumulate mental stresses that can grow and take on a life of their own, so the little decisions of our modern life can accumulate to the point where our society finds itself bombing other people for their oil, or supporting dictators who torture whole populations - all so that our unbalanced interests might be served.
When we look at Mr. Bush and his war machine, and his rising campaign against our own freedoms and civil rights, we must think of it all as a mental illness that has come over the American mind. It is our illness.
Yes, we must stop this war. We must stop this attack on our Bill of Rights. But we are bailing out our flooding boat with our straw hats if we do not look to the cause of this insanity.
Sanity is in finding alternative energy rather than blowing up our Appalachian Mountains for their coal. Sanity is in buying bicycles or at least hybrid cars rather than bombing other people for their oil. It is in supporting our family farmers, especially the organic farmers, rather than suburbanizing all our land and turning to factory foods that are more health hazard than nutrition.
We cannot have world peace without peace in our own lives. We cannot attack our planet by the way we live, and then go off to a peace rally and hope to set right all the imbalance we have caused. Peace is first a private matter. It cannot grow except from there.
I know I will be in jail before Mr. Bush is out of the White House. I know some of you will, too. I know I will give my all to stop this unwarranted invasion of the world by this disturbed man and his disturbed friends. I urge you to fight as well. I urge you to go to the peace march in New York City on Feb. 15 and be a part of the largest American uprising in modern history.
But I ask you to do it not in anger, but in joy. Not in frustration, but in peace. Aren't we privileged to live in a time when everything is at stake, and when our efforts make a difference in the eternal contest between the forces of light and shadow, between togetherness and division? Between justice and exploitation? Oh, be joyful that you are a warrior in this great time!
And be joyful because your house is in order. Your friends have your friendship. Your lover has your love. Your community has your support. Be peace itself at war with war itself. Take time for yourself and for your peace of mind. Examine your life and begin to make the adjustments you think wise and appropriate.
Will we rise to this battle? If so, we cannot lose, for rising up to it is our victory. Will we rise up? Will we represent love in the world? If we represent love in the world, you see, we have already won.
To read more of Doris Haddock's writings, visit http://www.alternet.org/ or her own web site, http://www.GrannyD.com
[This was in an Alternet.org
article by Doris Haddock, dated January 30, 2003]
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2003
Isn't it odd how you'll think you're doing something for one reason, when in reality you're doing it for another? And often that reason is one you couldn't have anticipated no matter how hard you tried? That's how I feel about the reason why I didn't go out to San Francisco this winter. After having spent six winters there, I thought I was staying here in Michigan this year because of the "O Beautiful Gaia" CD project. And in a way I am. I dearly love working with the women of Canada and the US on such a visionary, communal project. But if I'm honest with myself, I now know there is another, much more important reason why I'm in Detroit this winter, this very very cold winter. It's to help the Raging Grannies Without Borders come into being and take their place as a force for peace and justice! And what could be more significant than that? Especially now...especially now.
Today was our Raging Grannies monthly meeting. The first Grannies appeared at my door at 1 PM for the pre-meeting songwriting workshop, and the last Granny left at 5:45 PM. What a lot of life was packed into those four hours and forty-five minutes! WOW!!! I am still high as a kite and it's already after 8 PM. We gathered a dozen of the most powerful, intelligent, creative, feisty, outRAGEous women into my living room that you could ever imagine. If hearts were generators, we would have had enough energy in this room to power a city's utilities for a month! Not just hearts, but minds and will and spirit.
Two new Grannies joined us today, Clare and Motoko. Clare is a former journalist for Time magazine who now works as a freelance writer. "I wanted to go to bed at a reasonable time." She is vice-president of the Metro Detroit chapter of WAND, Women's Action for New Directions, the organization founded by nuclear disarmament activist, Dr. Helen Caldicott. We Grannies immediately benefited from her editing and performing expertise--not to mention her enthusiasm--as we practiced and revised our songs for the anti-war march and rally to be held in Detroit as part of next Saturday's International Day of Protest.
Motoko had discovered us in front of the Federal Building at the January 29th protest of President Bush's State of the Union address. She said as soon as she heard us sing our satirical, humorous songs, she knew this where she belonged. She sang with us on that bitter cold day, and apparently started composing a Raging Grannies song on her way home. The phrase that kept running through her mind was, "This is what democracy looks like." She set it to the tune of "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush" and arrived at my door today with not one but two songs she'd created around this theme! They are wonderful additions to our repertoire. When we went around the room and shared who we were and why we were here, Motoko said that she was Japanese and was living in the US (Boston) at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. She and her family went back to Japan during the war and she was there when the United States dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "I know what war is like; I have lived through it. And I will do everything in my power to stop another war from happening. I don't want a World War III."
The meeting was in turns serious, uproarious, engaging, energetic, and, for me anyway, a balancing act of spontaneity and structure. Two hours a month is a short period of time to try to pack in all that we need to discuss, sing, create and share with one another. As I told the Grannies today, it's a good thing I have 36 years experience facilitating groups because I need every bit of it to try to keep this group on track! When you have such strong women of age and experience together in one circle it can sometimes feel like a three-ring circus. For the most part, women attracted to the Raging Grannies are not shrinking violets; they are often opinionated, fearless leaders. I love and respect them totally. At the same time, I must occasionally ask one granny or another to cut it short because we have to keep moving forward. So by the end of each meeting, I am high as a kite and utterly wiped out. Does that make sense?
Well, now it's after 11 PM and I'm almost ready for bed. Being high as a kite only lasts so long! But before I say goodnight, let me leave you with a word picture and a people picture of peace. The former is a poem called "Wage Peace" by Mary Oliver, and the latter is an aerial photograph taken today of the largest peace sign in the world. No, they weren't bare, but you did you really expect them to be on this cold February day in Michigan? Not only did 1000+ individuals come together to make this awesome sign of peace, but there were between 2800-5000 people marching through the city of Ann Arbor today saying NO to war and YES to peace.
Whatever George and his misguided buddies might do or not do, haven't we already WAGED PEACE?
by Judyth Hill
Wage peace with
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings
and flocks of blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children
and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen
and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.
Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.
Learn to knit and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty
or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Don't wait another minute.
And here's the world's
largest peace sign standing strong and true on the University
of Michigan Diag.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2003
I woke up knowing a needed time out. And so I took it. I cleaned my room, painted a picture in my journal and then did something completely new and different...I looked at old photographs. In my bedroom desk is a drawer where I've been stuffing photos for years. What a treasure trove of memories--my Mom when she was well and still at home, my sisters and I together when Carolyn got her Masters in Social Work from Catholic University in 1986, my two grand-nephews at ages 2 and six months and again at ages 5 and 3, the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival over the years, several WoMaMu (Women Making Music) camps in Northern California, the National Women's Music Festival, lots of San Francisco pictures including two of my "train buddy and heart friend" Joel who died of AIDS in 1994, slides and photos of my friends at the black Catholic church where I belonged during the 1980s, my women's community at singing retreats with Carolyn McDade, a series of black and white photos I took soon after I was diagnosed with MS in 1988-89, and some wonderful pictures of Eddie and me with our beloved dog Timmy. It just went on and on. What a perfect way to see (literally) where I've come from.
After that "trip
down memory lane"--forgive the cliche--I decided it was time
for a scoot. Even though it was a bright, blue-skied, sunny day,
I could tell it was cold. How, you might ask? If the night's dusting
of snow is still on my neighbor's roof at 2 PM, it is cold. And
it was! But I scooted down to the pier park and took pictures
of hardy Michigan folks. On a winter Sunday in our community,
families and/or kids make their way down to this lakefront park
to go ice skating. They can either skate in the parking
lot rink or out in
the harbor. I guess the former is more suitable for little
ones and non-hockey players like this
family. I then scooted around and took photos of the boat
docks, the icy
beach and the swimming
pier. Soon enough my hands in their thin picture-taking gloves
were like icicles and I scooted home. To cap off this day of non-activist
pleasures, I made a bowl of pocorn and watched "Topsy Turvy",
the movie about Gilbert and Sullivan. I feel like I've been away
for a mid-winter vacation.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2003
My friends, I am one weary
woman tonight. It's only 10:30 PM but my body is saying it's bedtime.
I have lots of pictures from today's Water Board Protest demonstration,
but they'll have to wait until tomorrow. So this is what happens
when I demonstrate and swim in the same day. Oh yes, I'm going
to have a lovely sleep. Until tomorrow...
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2003
Yesterday was the second Monday we Grannies joined in protesting the Detroit Water Board shut-offs of water to 40,000 homes in Detroit. Happily, the snow stopped falling right at noon and then started again after the rally ended at 1 PM. A film crew from the BBC was there filming the whole thing...but not the Grannies singing (sigh). They have been in Detroit since last Wednesday doing a feature on this Water Shut-off crisis in Detroit. It will be part of a series called "Water Is a Human Right" that will be shown at the World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan, as well as on Earth Report that goes to 200 million homes in 70 countries. At least SOMEONE sees the seriousness of what's happening here! The local TV news channels have never shown up, nor has the Detroit Free Press or Detroit News, to my knowledge. Only the Michigan Citizen community newspaper and WDET-Detroit radio have carried stories on this shameful situation. Sure sounds like a news black-out to me. But the good old Michigan Citizen was there again today. Actually we found out that the Grannies were pictured on the front page of the February 5 Michigan Citizen, and that they had printed one of our songs in the article!
Charlotte Kish, Judy Drylie and I were there for the whole hour yesterday, and Helen McDonald showed up in time to sing our last song with us. We sang three of our Water Board songs as a sing-a-long with 50 hand-out song sheets for the crowd. I'd say there were 60-70 people...very enthusiastic people, I might add. They LOVE the Grannies! Congressman John Conyers also showed up and spoke briefly. And Food Not Bombs was again offering free soup (potato/lentil today) and a hot rice dish.
This was, to my mind, one of the most important demonstrations in which our Raging Grannies have participated. There is something very special about marching, chanting and singing with the actual people who are suffering injustice. It reminded me of our presence outside the INS building last month as targeted immigrants were forced to register inside. By the way, there is another INS Registration deadline coming up on Friday, February 21 and I hope we'll have lots of Raging Grannies there to sing and protest this unjust intimidation of our predominantly Muslim brothers.
After swimming my usual 30 lengths of the pool last night, I was in bed by 10:30 and slept 12 hours. That's what it's like to be a Raging Granny!
Now let me share photos of some of yesterday's signs:
Will You Turn My Water On?
Can I Use Your Bathroom?
The Water Dept. Cuts Off Seniors, Disabled & Low-Income!
Rise Up Detroit
I Will Die Without Water
Code Red--Beware of the Water Dept.--Code Red
Not Just the Wealthy Deserve H2O
1/3 Detroit's School Kids Without Home Water
No Water, No Peace
Turn the Water Back On!
No Water Is a Public Health Hazard
Water For All
Water Is Life
Stop This Evil War Now
Water Is A Right
...and an American flag to remind us of what is being desecrated here in Detroit.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2003
Poetry Demands NO WAR
Detroit Poets Against the War
2661 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI 48216
Wednesday, February 12, 2003
The "Poetry Demands NO WAR" event is coming together quickly. Here's the list of poets so far:
James Hart III
Well, maybe Laura Bush was afraid to hear the poets' views on her husband's proposed war on Iraq, but we have her to thank for so many of us across the globe getting to hear such poetry in our own home towns tonight. After she cancelled today's scheduled White House Poetry Symposium, poets in the US and other countries responded by first putting up a web site called "Poets Against the War" that now has over 5300 poets participating--I even submitted a poem--and then quickly organized their own anti-war poetry readings in hundreds of cities and towns. Detroit's event was extraordinary, as I'm sure most of them were.
Held in a wonderfully funky Detroit art gallery/performance space, our Detroit-area poets did themselves proud. Some read poems that they'd written during earlier wars (Vietnam and what they called the first Gulf War); others wrote poems specifically for this event; and still others read poems that spoke of many facets of life, not just war. The space was packed and the fact that the microphone decided not to work didn't bother a soul. Folks were as quiet as mice so everyone was heard. My friends Pat, Dee Dee and I got there early so we had good seats near the front. Donations were collected for the Women In Black, two of whom read their poetry. And there was one singer who shared a powerful anti-war song that he'd just finished today. A number of the poets also dared to read work that was hot off the press/pen/computer. That was part of what gave this evening such a sense of immediacy.
I have to say there is nothing like poetry to hit you where you live. Some of these poems socked me in the stomach like a physical blow, while others made me gasp in wonder. It was a very emotional night; one that we will not forget.
When I'm with intelligent, informed, reflective individuals like those who packed the ZeitgeistDETROIT Gallery tonight, I have to wonder how the cost of war can seem SO clear to us and yet not be obvious to our leaders in high places. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it is obvious to them, but is overweighed by what they consider to be war's benefits. It's such a mystery.
Anyway, tonight was a
jewel and a gift. And for that I am grateful.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2003
I had an excellent day, but one that isn't too interesting to write about. Lots of work on the computer printing out Raging Grannies song sheets for Saturday's anti-war rally and march, catching up with my emails, sending out another in my ongoing series of group emails of a political nature, and cleaning out some files. I even had time to start reading Starhawk's most recent book, Webs Of Power: Notes From the Global Uprising, that my women's book group will discuss next week. And I had a cup of tea with my friend and sister Raging Granny, Judy Drylie, who brought over the hand warmers she bought me at a sports shop. They will make a BIG difference this Saturday as we are in the grip of a real Arctic chill.
Remember my telling you about our new Raging Granny, GranMotoko, and the two original songs she'd written for the Grannies? Well, she just sent another! This one is a round to the tune of "Frere Jacques." The words are:
Are you sleeping, are
Uncle Sam? Uncle Sam?
Anti-war bells ringing
Hear the people singing
"No to war, No to war"
Isn't it wonderful? Take
it to your anti-war rally and march this Saturday and get folks
to sing it with you!
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2003
I am utterly consumed by thoughts of tomorrow's anti-war rallies and marches across the globe. Not just comsumed in my thoughts but in my tangible preparations for our Raging Grannies Without Borders singing and marching here in Detroit. It now looks like the organizers' great idea to have an indoor rally might well have to be scrapped. A room that only holds 1200 people will never BEGIN to be big enough for the thousands I'm thinking will probably show up in what has become the Arctic North. If lots of folks do brave the chill, our rally will be held outside in Hart Plaza beside the river. BRRRRR!!!!
Regarding the weather forecast--high 18º, low 4ºF, winds 10-20 MPH--I sent my Grannies an email this afternoon giving them suggestions on how to stay warm, starting with those great inventions called boot and hand warmers. These little $1 packages of iron, sodium and a few more ingredients are worth their weight in gold for activists. If you're planning to march in a cold clime tomorrow, go out tonight or tomorrow morning to your nearest sport, hardware or drug store and purchase a couple pair. You won't be sorry. And if this is your first time taking to the streets, you might want to check out my Activism 101 web page for some tips.
It is the most amazing feeling to know that we will all be taking to the streets tomorrow as a true global community, walking or standing (if you're in NYC) next to our sisters and brothers in places like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cape Town, Sao Paulo, Ramallah, Bangkok, San Juan, Toronto, Istanbul, London, Manila, Jakarta, Warsaw, Athens, Berlin, Paris, Cairo, Toyko, Rome and over 600 more cities. Melbourne, Australia already started it off with a march and rally that organizers say brought 200,000 people to the streets. It's like a huge Peace Party that will follow the sun from east to west across the planet. I am awestruck by this opportunity to be part of such an unprecedented moment in history. Isn't it strange that it takes the foolhardy, arrogant few to bring forth the best and highest in the many? Sometimes I think we are living out a profound mythological tale...that is, until I remember who will suffer and bleed and die if Bush has his way. There's no myth in that, simply the unutterable pain of the all-too-real.
If you're still up in
the air as to whether or not you should march tomorrow (Saturday,
February 15), please read this article, "Why
We Should March Tomorrow", by John Pilger for the Mirror/UK.
He is speaking to the British people, but what he says is true
for us all. We must stand and be counted. Do not let your
silent inaction be misinterpreted as agreement with Bush's intention
to bomb the hell out of the people of Iraq, to "Shock and
Awe" them with more bombs and missiles in the first 48 hours
than were used in the entire Gulf War. If you cannot march for
health reasons, at least put a NO WAR sign on your lawn or in
your living room window or in the window of your car. There are
many ways to make your opposition to this attack on Iraq visible,
and it's up to each of us to find and use the one(s) that work
best for us. But whatever you do, please do SOMETHING.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2003
What a day!!! It was everything I'd hoped for with a few delightful twists thrown in for good measure. I am wonderfully tired but still reliving everything in my mind. I think it's time for a nice hot shower--yes, it was cold, but not impossibly cold--and then I'm off to bed. Thanks to my dear friend, Sooz Collins, I have plenty of photos to share that will make you feel like you were there.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST IN DETROIT:
The warmth of knowing we were on the streets at the same time as millions of people across the world kept us from complaining too much about the frigid conditions. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and we were side by side in this ongoing struggle for peace. But today it didn't feel like a struggle; it felt like a celebration. A celebration of the power of people united in a single cause, the cause of peace. Old, young, Muslim, Jewish, woman, man, Iraqi, American, suburban, urban, employed, unemployed...we were all there, chanting, speaking, singing, drumming, cheering, laughing, weeping, raging. Whoever you were, whatever your unique life experiences, whatever your traditions and language, you were welcome at this party. All voices were heard at the rallies, both outside in Grand Circus Park to start and inside Cobo Hall to conclude. And they were voices that not only spoke but sang, as we Raging Grannies so love to do.
We heard from a Muslim cleric and a Methodist minister, the head of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and a member of the US/Cuba Labor Exchange, Rabih Haddad's lawyer and three vice-presidents of the UAW International, two US Congressional representatives and an organizer of the Detroit area Women In Black, a 1991 Gulf War resister and the mayor of Hamtramck (a culturally diverse city bordering Detroit), a speaker from the Chadean Federation of America and a representative of Detroit's Yemeni community. The Grannies sang as did Julie Beutel and Sistah Otis. Both rallies reflected the wonderful diversity of this world community known as Detroit, while remaining focused on why we had come together: to say NO TO WAR. But as we said NO to war, we said a resounding YES to our community's people and their lives, needs and gifts. This was not simply an ANTI-war march and rally, it was a PRO-peace statement of solidarity with the people of Iraq and all our sisters and brothers worldwide. And did the Grannies ever have fun! We sang "DOO DAH" at the rally in Grand Circus Park and "Yankee Doodle Georgie" at the Cobo Hall rally indoors. For the first time in our three months of singing publicly as Grannies, we had to do as true performers do and pause several times for the cheers and laughter to die down before we could continue our song (thanks to Granny Vicki of the Rochester, NY Raging Grannies for her hilarious lyrics!). Between those two events, we sang as we marched down Washington Boulevard. As was true in Washington, DC on January 18, we Grannies formed the caboose in the march, but that just gave us more time to sing. Besides we were marching under Kathy's beautiful new Raging Grannies Without Borders banner, so we didn't want that opportunity to pass too quickly. For me personally, there was no place on earth that I would rather be.
And we Grannies didn't
stop there. After the rally, seven of us did what is known as
Rage, which is when you sing in public places where you have
not been invited. We went downstairs to the Cobo Hall (convention
center) concourse and serenaded folks who were going to the Boat
Show. Now, this was Middle America in its pure form and judging
from some of the pursed lips we encountered, they may have a bit
of a different slant on this war business than the one we Raging
Grannies sing about. It was a highlight of the day for me because
I felt that we were no longer preaching to the converted, but
doing our unique form of public education. After all, this is
how we Raging Grannies got our name!
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2003
I received a number of emails today from friends and family who participated in yesterday's International Day of Protest. Here's what they had to say:
Thought you might like to hear about our Geezers for Peace rally here in little old Point Reyes Station [California]. It was a great and lovely gathering of the tribe, many of us have known each other for over 30 years and been protesting and building and growing things together all these years. Some of us in poor health and barely standing but all of us, stout of heart and in good cheer to be in solidarity with so many world wide.
But here is the thing
for you: I downloaded from your site the words to the Raging
Grannies songs and made up 5 page packets and passed them out.
We sang them over and over again and people enjoyed them so much.
The singing, as always, really brought people together and made
the whole thing more vibrant and focused. So thanks so much!
Remember how we Raging Grannies Without Borders of Detroit and Windsor, ONT sang with the Rochester, NY Raging Grannies in Washington, DC on January 18? Well, on Page A17 of today's (Sunday's) New York Times, Granny Elaine of the Rochester Grannies is quoted in an article titled "Reminiscent of the 60's; Mainstream to the Core." The last two paragraphs of the article read:
"Then there was Elaine Johnson, 59, a retired social worker from Rochester, who was buried beneath a mound of shawls and caftans. A member of a group called the Raging Grannies, Ms. Johnson spent nearly seven hours on a bus with her friends, all of them similarly costumed. "We've got to stop the madness." she said. "We came to rage against war, and we rage by singing."
"To make her point, she offered up one of the more popular ditties sung to the tune of, "If You're Happy and You Know It":
"If we cannot find
Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets hurt your mama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are Saudis and the banks take back your Audi
And the TV shows are bawdy, bomb Iraq"
The next three emails were from friends and family for whom February 15 was their first-ever demonstration...
I went on my first march yesterday in London, they were expecting 500,000 people, and I haven't heard yet the final count, but it was huge. I followed your advice and made my own sign, which got several comments from fellow marchers; I hardly drank anything all day and made it 7 and a half hours without a toilet!!! The only piece of advice I forgot was sunscreen, and even in a bitterly cold, overcast London day I came home with sunburnt cheeks, but a good feeling that I had done what I could to help.
The march itself was a bit less energized than I thought it would be, lots of times it was just standing still when no one could move forward. There were pockets of people singing or chanting, and sometimes we'd converge with a group of percussionists who livened things up for a while. Otherwise, the best moments were to be found in making connections with other people. My sign read, "War is harmful to children and other living things" and "Another American says no to war" and on the reverse, "PEACE NOW" in huge letters with a drawing of the planet and peace signs and hearts (for valentine's day!). I came across a man and woman with a baby. The woman was carrying the baby in one of those baby backpacks, and to the backpack she'd attached a big pink sign reading "Babies against Bombs." She read my sign across the crowd and we had a moment of connection. Another comment came from an Arabic man in front of me who thanked me, as an American, for standing together for his people.
I felt that what I
have done is so very little, but I'm glad to have been a part
of it, and will continue to do what I can.
Lots of police and barricades [in New York City], the police used their horses to push the crowds back. A diverse crowd of students, and people ranging in many age groups. Lots of older people. Out of a crowd of about 250,000, there were 400 people detained from what I read.
Ridiculous the crowd was so contained and not allowed to march by the mayor. A march would have been much more effective. Such tight controls there, you wouldn't believe it, people penned into these little sections. Still I think the message got across, even with all the controls. I realize the police were just doing what they were told, the ones near me were very polite and I think they were scared too. The crowd was very peaceful, all in all.
I hope there will be more
Patricia, we are both SO GLAD that we went to the rally [in Detroit]. As you probably figured, the hard part for me was NOT the cold, (altho it certainly was that, but I have thermals and longjohns from living in the Northeast), and certainly not the march, which was nothing, but the leap from being a lifelong journalist/observer on the sidelines, to taking an activist role.
My son knows me so well; I talked to him last night. When I said, "Today I did something I have never done in my life," he immediately said, "You went to an anti-war rally! Good for you." Nora Ephron, who started out as a journalist, once wrote a book of essays called, "Wallflower at the Orgy," which says it all.
Anyway, the spirit was amazing and I was thrilled to see the numbers. We were in the front lines of the march to Cobo and when we looked back to see the throngs along Washington Blvd, that was a definite high.
We stayed for about 1 1/2 hours at Cobo, left when the message began getting diluted with a speaker on the Detroit School Board. I know you disagree but I think they need to stick to the message of no war. The newspaper said 1,000 people were there but we both thought 2,000 was more like it.
...By the way, we loved
the Raging Grannies and obviously so did the crowd. Did you hear
[my husband] yell, "Go, Patricia!" in Cobo, when you
went up to sing? He's your groupie.
No matter where you were,
or whether or not you actually took to the streets, this was an
astounding weekend. The weekend the PEOPLE discovered their power.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2003
Friends, except for when I was on the phone calling Grannies to let them know of an unexpected gig this week, I've been working at my computer ALL DAY. It is now midnight and I am too pooped to pop. Sorry 'bout that, but I know you understand.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2003
It's only 10 PM but I thought I'd better start writing my journal entry before it got too late. Don't want to leave you hanging like I did last night!
Is everyone's life on fast forward now or is it just mine? This work for peace is a full time job, a job that never ends. I'm not complaining, though. To me it is a profound privilege to be living at this time of upheaval, and to be among the many who are doing everything they can to turn chaos into transformative change. I can't help but think we have spent our lives--maybe even our former lives--preparing for this moment, the moment when our species must choose whether to sustain life on this planet or destroy it. A defining moment in human history.
I've been organizing our Raging Grannies in preparation for this week's National Day of Solidarity With Muslim, Arab and South Asian Immigrants on Thursday, February 20. We will be singing at the local event planned by the Blue Triangle Network, whose national headquarters is here in Dearborn. I was able to encourage my sister Sulaima Al-Rushaid, Rabih Haddad's wife, to agree to speak at Thursday's presentation at ACCESS at 6 PM in Dearborn. Well, I should say, Rabih is the one who talked her into it. But, to my mind, there are few persons in this country who know more about what has been happening to our Muslim brothers and sisters since September 11 than Sulaima. She was nervous about what she should say and I told her to simply speak from her heart; that's all she needs to do. It is her and Rabih's story that will educate and touch people's minds and hearts.
I have adapted GranMotoko's round for this event:
Are You Sleeping? (Civil
(tune: Frere Jacques)
Are you sleeping, are
Uncle Sam? Uncle Sam?
Civil rights eroding
Feelings of foreboding
Stop Ashcroft, stop Ashcroft!
We will also sing "O Immigrants" and "Bush Barrel Polka". Kathy is printing up 50 song sheets so it can be a sing-along. Then we'll be going to the Blue Triangle Network-sponsored protest/solidarity rally in front of the INS Building in Detroit on Friday, February 21 from 2-4 PM. That day is the third deadline for the unjust INS Registration of immigrant men from predominantly Muslim countries. This time men from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia ages 16 and over are targeted. We were there for the second Registration deadline on January 10. Sure would be nice if it were a little warmer this time! Things get pretty brisk down there by the river. Hardiness is a good trait for Detroit activists, that's for sure.
In addition to working on the Solidarity events of this week, I've also begun to answer the questions posed by a Brazilian journalist who is writing an article on the Raging Grannies worldwide. She sent a pretty detailed list of questions by email and I've got to admit my life has been so busy of late that I totally forgot about it. Well, today she wrote back and nicely asked me if I could send my answers by this weekend. I have only answered questions #1 and #3 thus far, but I'm finding it kind of fun to look back on the story of my association with the Raging Grannies.
I've also put up on my
web site the photo a friend sent me from Columbus, Ohio. Check
out my home page and scroll down to
the bottom of the page to see "Another Woman For Peace."
I love it!!!
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2003
This ended up being a
very stressful day. It didn't start out that way. I slept in because
I'd gone to bed quite late last night. Then I spent much of the
day finishing the Brazilian journalist's e-interview
about my connection with the Raging Grannies. The phone rang a
few times with questions and discussion about tomorrow's Blue
Triangle Network solidarity event. My women's book group was to
meet here tonight so I went downstairs at 6:30 PM to get things
ready. I was making out a check to pay my monthly credit card
bill when two of my friends arrived. They were 45 minutes early
but that was no problem, no problem, that is, until I got a phone
call at 7 PM that ushered in two hours of crisis management in
relation to arrangements for tomorrow night's speakers. This kept
me stressed out and unable to focus on my book group's discussion
until 9 PM, when the last phone call came in and things
finally quieted down. I do not do well under such pressure, especially
when I'm trying to be present to people who are meeting at my
house. But Eddie was a true champ. I'd never had dinner (or lunch,
for that matter), so he made me a sandwich after my friends left
and listened to my story. He was relieved with how things had
turned out because it meant I wasn't going to have to drive long
distances tomorrow night. Anyway, when I saw how close to the
edge I was, I realized it was time for a mid-winter break. So
Ed and I now have reservations to spend Saturday night at the
Michigan League in Ann Arbor. Just what the doctor ordered.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2003
On this, the National Day of Solidarity with Muslim, Arab and South Asian Immigrants, I was fortunate to be with some of my favorite people of Muslim, Arab and South Asian descent. It was my day at the K-5 school in Dearborn where I get to sit with the kids every week and do the same art projects as they. Today several classes were finishing up the portraits that we're coloring with oil pastels. These drawings are based on photographs we brought in, that were then traced onto a sheet of drawing paper using an opaque projector. In essence, it's a lot like coloring in a coloring book, except many of us are trying to model our features to get a sense of roundness. I've really been enjoying this project! The photo I used was my school picture from second grade. Of course, the kids get a big kick out of seeing little Patsy with her gap-toothed grin. Teacher put my picture up on the bulletin board today, which made me feel very good indeed!
After the kids and Susan left at 3:30 PM, I put my head down on the table and caught a cat nap until 4:45 PM. It was then time for me to drive over to ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services) where the Blue Triangle Network was holding its Solidarity gathering with speeches, cultural presentations and opportunities to network with other folks working against the repression of our immigrant sisters and brothers.
My friend Abayomi Azikiwe moderated the event, the Raging Grannies sang three songs, Traverse City, MI attorney Marian Kromkowski told us about the illegal arrest and detention of her friend Amer Jubran, a Palestinian political activist/organizer in Boston, Susan Sunshine read her poetry, attorney Nabih Ayad spoke of the work he and the Michigan Chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has been doing on behalf of many Arab immigrants who have been targeted by the INS and FBI, and Brother Asad Tarsin, a former student of Rabih Haddad, told of his mentor's illegal detention with no charges having been made for 14 months now. As a close friend of Rabih and his wife Sulaima, I was deeply moved by Brother Asad's presentation. He managed to give the information needed to understand Rabih's case, while also showing the heart and spirit of this exceptional human being. He also helped us see the tragic toll Rabih's unjust imprisonment has had on Sulaima and their four young children. Rabih will be very proud of how Asad spoke for him. I intend to print out the digital picture I took of Brother Asad and send it to Rabih within the next few days.
I can't say enough for the individuals and groups that responded so quickly to the targeting of our Muslim brothers and sisters after September 11 by holding a summit and founding the Blue Triangle Network. These women and men work tirelessly to educate, advocate for and personalize this ongoing struggle. We now all wear blue triangles with the name, age and country of origin of one of the "disappeared" in the US. I especially commend Mark Sheppard and Bob Parsons for all they do to keep this repressive situation within our thoughts and actions. Tomorrow many of us will meet in front of the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) Building on Mt. Elliot at E. Jefferson here in Detroit between 7-9 AM and 2-4 PM to protest this, the third deadline for the INS "special registration" of immigrant men from predominantly Muslim countries. Tomorrow's registration deadline is for men aged 16 and over from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. If you stop to think for a minute, you will see the parallels between these "special registrations" and the registration of Jews in Hitler's Germany and the registration of the Japanese in Roosevelt's America. We fear it is the first step toward rounding up Muslim immigrants and putting them in internment camps in this country. There has already been mention of such a possiblity by a number of high level government officials.
These are chilling times
and we cannot sit back and just let this escalating repression
with its secret detentions and deportations happen without taking
a public stand against it. That's what I love about our Raging
Grannies; they are there to wake folks up and walk their talk.
Let's hear it for the Grannies!
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2003
This afternoon, the Raging Grannies and a small group of folks were standing on the sidewalk in front of Detroit's INS building holding signs and banners protesting the "special registration" of immigrant men from predominantly Muslim countries. We were receiving a good number of supportive honks from cars, trucks and buses driving by on busy East Jefferson Avenue--a few "birds" too, but that comes with the territory--when an EMS ambulance approached from the east with their red lights flashing. Even though they were across the street, we all heard a voice call out through their loudspeaker, "Hey, Raging Grannies!!" The driver was grinning from ear to ear and the medic in the seat beside him waved. Bob Parsons, the Blue Triangle organizer, remarked that they had started speaking before they could possibly have read our banner, so they must have recognized the Grannies! It's fun to be known in your own home town.
Earlier, a woman had seen our signs and banners as she was driving by. She turned onto the street just beyond us, parked and got out of her car. As she approached our group, she said in a harsh voice, "You've got to register those Arabs after what they did to us!" Another woman who happened to be walking by, nodded and said, "Yeah, that's right." Bob engaged the two of them in a respectful dialogue but nothing he said seemed to be making an impact. A third woman, who was pushing a grocery cart, stopped in front of me and we got to talking. I said something like, "You'd think someone of African-American descent would be the first to see the danger of racial profiling." This woman said, "You got it, girl. We've seen too much of that ourselves." She went on to say, "I see them squeezing and squeezing the Arabs. It's just not right." After awhile, the first woman, still angry, got back in her car and drove off. The other two women walked on. After about five minutes one of them, the one who had agreed with the angry woman, returned and said to us, "You know, you just helped me understand. It's not right what they're doing to these folks. They have rights just like the rest of us." I invited her to join our protest and she did.
Another special moment came after we'd held a brief rally in which Bob had shared about last night's Blue Triangle Network program and the connections that had been made there. He told of a Muslim woman who had attended with her daughter even though she was unable to discuss publicly the case pending against her husband because everyone was under a "gag order." As she'd prepared to leave, she had told Bob how much the evening had meant to her: "I no longer feel alone." Then Mike spoke. He had attended another important event in the Arab community last night and that was the CBC Radio 1 (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) taping of a town hall meeting at the other ACCESS (Arab-American Community Center for Economic and Social Services) location. There, members of the Arab community had shared what life has been like for them in the US since September 11: the fear, the unjust detentions, the FBI trying to get them to "inform" on their neighbors, the danger involved in any run-in with the "authorities", no matter how innocuous, but also the unexpected support offered to them by non-Muslims. He encouraged us to listen to CBC Radio 1 next Monday, February 24, between 8-10 AM to hear the tape of this town meeting. After our rally was concluded and we were preparing to leave, two Army Humm-vees with soldiers in combat fatigues drove by. As they passed, one driver hit his horn briefly and waved! So much for my stereotypes.
Our demonstration was
not large but it felt like we were making people think and that's
good enough. By now, it's feeling like family when we meet to
protest war and repression. Most of us know one other, at least
by face. Here are some pictures of my "family": Bob,
my friend Jan who read about this in my journal and took off
from work to come, a young activist named Shawn
who is very active in the anti-war movement, Abayomi,
Virginia (Grandma Birdy) with her amazing sign in which she
used the headlines from George W's inauguration speech, longtime
political activist Helen
Auerbach, and Barbara
of Revolutionary Books. Because we Grannies were there, we didn't
simply stand around holding our signs for two hours, we spent
a lot of time singing...all
of us together!
At one point, Anti-Police Brutality Coalition member Philip and
Granny Charlotte even broke into a
polka right there on the sidewalk as we sang the Bush Barrel
Polka. All in all, a good time was had by all. Hey, I say we'd
better have fun doing these protests or we'll start staying
home. And we sure can't afford to do that. Not now.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2003
We were only gone for 26 hours but it was enough. I feel rested and restored...ready to keep working for peace.
Yesterday when we walked the few steps from our front door to the garage, it was raining. By the time we pulled out of our garage, it had turned to sleet, and two blocks later, it was snow. Not terribly heavy, but definitely snow. Ed was designated driver of my little red Neon and, believe me, the 55 miles to Ann Arbor were not without moments of anxiety. Actually, as Ed put it, "I'm not anxious about today; it's tomorrow I'm worried about."
We arrived at the Michigan League about 1 PM and were delighted to find our room ready (check-in is normally 3 PM). We each had one small suitcase, but the challenge was all my disabled equipment. Knowing we were going into the teeth of a storm that might be beyond my scooter's ability to navigate, we brought my Mom's wheelchair too. So there was Ed, unloading one scooter, one wheelchair and one walker from our little car. To think I used to pride myself on travelling light! But, as it turned out, we needed ALL of my devices.
We checked in at the Michigan League, put our stuff in the room and I went downstairs to wait for Eddie to go park the car (free parking is included). Then we walk/scooted two blocks to the Mediterranean Deli for lunch. It was still snowing but my scooter was managing all right. When we got to State Street, Ed took this picture of me all bundled up in my fleece jacket and rain poncho. At the deli, we both ordered bowls of corn chowder with french bread and a spinach pie for me. Did that ever hit the spot! We then went to Ed's favorite shoe store to see if there was anything for him there. But alas, his size 14 feet are not easy to fit. The popcorn store was our next stop. Ed let me decide which kind to get and I chose a mixture of pecan and cashew caramel. YUM!!! Then it was on to the bookstore, but after about twenty minutes we looked at one another and said, "Time for a nap!"
There's something utterly delicious about taking an afternoon nap on a nice big bed in a comfortable hotel room. We both slept soundly and awoke feeling refreshed. It was still snowing outside, so we cozied up with our respective reading material--an old New Yorker magazine for Ed and a book of Denise Levertoff's poems for me--sipped hot cups of tea that Ed made for us (they have coffee and teas at the ready in the lobby), and I nibbled my pecan-cashew caramel popcorn.
We had a 7 PM dinner date with our friends, Liz and Frank, at Zola's on Washington below Main. We were planning to walk/scoot the seven blocks to meet them but when the storm whipped into high gear, we called and asked if they'd pick us up instead. Good thing we did! Even with my wheelchair, it was a real challenge to get from the Michigan League entrance to their car and then from the car to the accessible entrance at the restaurant. I don't exaggerate when I say it looked and felt like the Arctic in Ann Arbor last night. The winds were whipping heavy snow every which way, so much so that when Frank went out to retrieve the car after dinner, he had a real job cleaning it off. Snow was piled up on every side not just on one side as you'd expect. Actually, it was pretty thrilling. And since we'd had a lovely, leisurely dinner with our friends, all of us were feeling pretty mellow. Well, three of us were feeling mellow. Eddie was definitely uneasy about getting our car out in the morning. Unfortunately our free parking place was on the rooftop of a parking garage, so not only was it exposed to the weather but had a steep exit ramp to negotiate.
When we got back to the League at 10 PM, Ed bundled up and went out to see about the car. He cleaned it off and decided to drive down the ramp while he still could, and park it overnight on the street. What he didn't know was that every metered parking place on the streets around the League had signs that said: "No parking between 3-6 AM. Cars will be towed". By the time he'd gotten down the ramp, he couldn't get back up, so my law-abiding husband had to park his car in one of the illegal metered places and hope for the best. We both agreed we'd be surprised if the Ann Arbor police would be worrying about such things on this stormy night, but still you worry. I'm happy to report our car was still there this morning, unticketed but covered with more snow! They said we'd gotten 10" of snow all told.
By this morning the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the world was blanketed in white. It was beautiful! We had juice, hot tea, toasted bagels, cream cheese, and a donut for Ed. Among the many perks of staying at the League, is the continental breakfast that's served every morning in the lobby. By the way, this inn is a hidden treasure, with its eleven bedrooms on the fourth floor of the Michigan League right on the University of Michigan campus downtown.
We checked out at 11 AM. Ed brought the car around to pick me up, and while he was loading the car I managed to take some pictures of this winter wonderland. Here's the Burton Tower, a portion of the Michigan League and the snowy street in front of the League. Happily, our drive home was uneventful. For most of the way, the expressway was remarkably clear.
We came home to a snow-covered house and an impassable driveway. Ed parked on the street and went to shovel the driveway--it's only 6' from the lane to our garage--and the 15' sidewalk and three steps from the garage into the vestibule. I waited out front in our car. Although we'd heard that Ann Arbor had been harder hit than metro Detroit, this snowy chair and Ed's deep footprints told a different tale. There was plenty of snow here too.
I spent the afternoon
reading a ton of emails but somehow nothing got under my skin.
And that is just what a vacation can do.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2003
Where the expression used to be "a bad hair day", now it's "a bad computer day." I had one of those today and it's still going on. First it was--and continues to be--receiving a load of "mail undeliverable" messages to my secondary screen name. Only thing is, none of them were emails I'd sent nor were they to addresses I recognized. After three tech support calls to both Earthlink (my ISP) and Apple (I have an iBook), I finally called my nephew John, the computer whiz-of-whizes. Where the other teches thought I had a virus, John said that was unlikely. It appeared to him that someone I know, someone who has my name in their address book, has a virus and that dirty thing had found my email address at random and was sending out emails to everyone on my friend's list using my name/email address as the sender. The "mail undeliverable" messages I was receiving--some of which mentioned "because of a virus"--were coming from those addressees who had virus detection software. There is nothing I can do about it, according to John, except ride it out. The other problem was slow-as-molasses send/receive for my primary screen name today. For several hours it totally refused to send an email I'd written that included an attachment. Happily, that problem seems to have cleared up within the past hour.
All this put me out of sorts. I wish I could be more detached when my computer acts up, but it always manages to get under my skin. I almost opted out of swimming tonight, but with Ed's encouragement, ended up going. I can't say I was at my strongest--I only did 24 lengths instead of my usual 30--but it was just what the doctor ordered. By the time I got back home, the computer was no longer at the forefront of my mind. As Ed said, swimming is good balance for all the cerebral work I do. He's a wise man and a mighty fine companion. You know, I couldn't do 80% of what I do without his ongoing support. He is really there for me.
By the way, I hope everyone is planning to take part in this Wednesday's Virtual March on Washington, DC. Here is the letter I sent to folks in my address book:
I expect most of you have heard of and/or are already committed to this Wednesday's Virtual March on Washington, DC, but maybe there are still a few who have not heard of it or have not yet responded. We have more power at this time than we have ever had before. Let's use it to stop this war before it starts!
in peace & hope
"If you think
you're too small to make a difference, you haven't been in bed
with a mosquito." - Anita Roddick
Dear MoveOn member,
So far, over 85,000 of us have signed up to be a part of Wednesday's Virtual March on Washington. It's been incredible. That's well over our goal of an average of one call per minute per Senate office. If you haven't registered yourself, just go to:
Now, we really could use your help in getting calls committed in the less populous states in the nation:
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Montana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming.
If you live in one of these states, be sure to sign up. Then call friends and ask them to register and make the calls on February 26th.
If you're originally from one of these less populous states, now's the time to call home and talk to friends and family.
The Virtual March has already been a tremendous success with news coverage from all the major news outlets. You can see our TV commercial promoting the march, featuring Martin Sheen, on the registration page:
The Virtual March on Washington is a first-of-its-kind group effort from the Win Without War coalition. Working together, we'll direct a steady stream of phone calls -- more than one per minute, all day -- to every Senate office in the country, while at the same time delivering a constant stream of emails and faxes. Think of it as a march -- one by one, we'll be passing through our Senators' offices and the offices of the White House to let them know how we feel about this war. You can sign up for your time to call or to place a free fax right now at the link above.
Thanks for everything.
--The MoveOn Team
Carrie, Eli, Joan, Peter, Wes, Zack
February 23rd, 2003
P.S. Simultaneously, 7000 MoveOn members in 600 cities and towns are making their voices heard in local communities -- in our nationally-coordinated leafleting campaign.
You can join a leafleting team in your neck of the woods at:
© 2003 Patricia Lay-Dorsey. Please use with attribution.