September 15, 2010

Mid-Summer Roseroots Report

Summer 2010 was a time of transitions. Increasing contention over the escalating war in Afghanistan spurred by the release of over 90,000 US military documents by Wikileaks, the continuing BP-caused catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, the attack on immigrants' rights in Arizona, and the downshift – but not the end – of US military/corporate presence in Iraq, made for a grim political context. However, as it says in our mission statement, CODEPINK has “an emphasis on joy and humor” which we brought to our activism and alliance-building.

Four new local groups started up this summer in: Sebastopol, CA (planning is underway for Ann Wright's talks in the area in October); Ogden, Utah; Hot Springs, Arkansas; and Manipur, India!


To start with joyous news, Rae recounts this: “On July 9, Jennifer Teguia and James O'Donnell got married in Fremont, CA; the beautiful couple met at the DC Pink House in 2007. To my knowledge theirs is the first ever CODEPINK wedding! And they repped their love story at their wedding with amazing huge photos of them in action in DC and SF.” Click here to see.

Bath, Maine on the 4th of July held an Independence Day parade, and CODEPINK brought the Bring Our War $$ Home message, complete with aprons and budget “pies,” as the sole peace contingent.

Two CODEPINK-led BP/big oil protests took place around the country, in Berkeley, CA and in South Florida. Check out our BP page for videos and news.

The new Bring Our War $$ Home campaign, or BOW$H for short, got a huge boost at the National Assembly in Albany, NY on July 24 – 25. In Dallas, CODEPINKers with allies from IVAW and other peace groups brought our messages to a fundraiser Obama attended on August 9. Linking economic justice demands to the horrific and unsustainable costs of wars/occupations, the BOW$H campaign is being picked up by other organizations and will be an important part of CODEPINK organizing for the rest of 2010.

Congressional work: Thanks to all who called, emailed and wrote letters to the editor in July to oppose a war funding supplemental bill to shovel in over $33 billion into the US war in Afghanistan. The House voted for a bill that would have included billions to rehire laid-off teachers, among other domestic needs; the Senate stripped that funding out and sent it back to the House; and, hammered by many calls and emails from codepinkers and others, finally 114 members of the House found their moral courage and voted NO on this “supplement.” This is to date the largest number of representatives to vote against, not just make rhetorical objections to, the longest-running war in US history! We build from here by participating in the monthly Brown Bag Lunch Vigils organized by our allies at Progressive Democrats of America as well as our own style of bird-dogging congressmembers and candidates who support money for war.

Photo above at right: Josie Lenwell of Taos CODEPINK lands a photo with giant puppet drones from the anti-war march in March in her local newspaper!

Late in the month, Arizona CODEPINKers did an amazing series of actions to protest AB 1070. And Tucson CODEPINK coordinators Mary and Jhan held an activist “Booty Camp” with trainings, a presentation by national organizer, Nancy Mancias, panel discussions, and time together in the beautiful desert.

Photo at right: Tucson CODEPINK Booty Camp gals pause for a group photo.


Breaking News: August began with the Wikileaks breaking news evidence of the reality of war in Iraq and Afghanistan and CODEPINK DC quickly responded by coordinating a “Free Bradley Manning” rally outside the military jail in Quantico, VA. CODEPINK groups around the country held solidarity vigils, wrote letters to the editor, and continue to organize to support Bradley and shine a spotlight on the truth. Courage to Resist maintains an ongoing campaign.


PINK National News: CODEPINK‘s San Francisco office moved to the historic Women's Building at 3543 18th Street. Medea Benjamin (on a visit from DC), Nancy Mancias, Rae Abileah, and stellar intern Valerie Ortiz celebrated the new space with dozens of Bay Area CODEPINKers and allies. See fun photos here.

War criminals on the loose! On Monday, August 16, at 11:20 am, as John Yoo began teaching his fall semester Constitutional Law class at UC Berkeley Law School, human rights, peace and justice groups, students, alumni, lawyers, and city officials gathered for a press conference and “Procession Against Torture” to demand Yoo's dismissal, disbarment and prosecution for his work at the Department of Justice.

Peace activists across the U.S. have been holding war criminals accountable for lying us into the war in Iraq and rewriting the Constitution to justify torture. Although there was no visible protest, filmmaker and activist Sebastion Doggart spoke out against Condoleezza Rice‘s grand performance with Aretha Franklin and the Philadelphia Orchestra at The Mann Center of the Performing Arts to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Former Bush legal lackey's John Yoo and Robert Delahunty went back to school to teach a delusional version of constitutional law. Both Yoo and Delahunty were met with protests.

Reports of Blackwater founder Erik Prince fleeing the United States to Abu Dhabi began to surface. CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin decided to investigate by paying a visit to his Virginia house. Little did she know she would be greeted by his family and then arrested. Karl Rove's visit to the ski town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado didn't go unrecognized by one peaceful cookie activist and Condoleezza was a little over 3 hours away in Denver receiving a prestigious award from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. CODEPINK activist Debra Brown made sure to be outside the award ceremony to tell the truth about Rice dragging us into the illegal war in Iraq. And just yesterday, 9/14, Medea Benjamin, Joan Stallard, and Brian Van Slyke staged a citizens arrest at Karl Rove's high-roller fundraiser in DC, while last night Jodie Evans staged a citizens arrest at Tony Blair's US book tour event for his new memoirs, which many say should be shelved in the Crime section of any bookstore!

Join these courageous activists and organize a war criminal protest in your area. Check out the war criminal calendar and email Nancy to get tips on planning an action!

The Accountability/Arrest Torture campaign also includes blog posts on “War Criminal of the Week,” written by organizer Nancy Mancias; read her post on Condi Rice here. War criminals called out for their involvement in torture, WMD lies, war profiteering and other outrages include Erik Prince, CEO of Blackwater/Xe; John Yoo, former legal counsel to Bush and now law professor at UC Berkeley; Robert Delahunty, Bush legal “advisor” who wrote memos on extraordinary rendition and detention; former VP Dick Cheney; and Karl Rove.

Iraq: CODEPINK, in coalition with Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, and Iraq Veterans Against the War, put out an online statement “Iraq Debacle” which nearly 5,000 people signed onto, as well as over 20 organizations. There were 31 events registered on our site happening around the country during the final week of August when Obama announced combat troop withdrawal “completion”. Actions across the country such as the delivery of bloody hands to Speaker Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco, the Caravan demonstration in Los Angeles, the 4-hour teach-in with veterans and analysts in DC, and viewing gatherings to watch Obama's speech, made the week of action effective in educating our communities, raising awareness about the rebranded occupation through the media, and building our local peace and justice movement. See photos here and here.

In the Los Angeles area, CODEPINK organized a vigil and house parties, plus a caravan and also a teach-in at the Venice Methodist Church – “Why the Iraq War IS so devastating” (not was!) Kristen reports: “The dedicated grassroots organizers are really excited to get some attention, … great to work with the Vets for Peace!”

Photo at right: LA CODEPINK Mama-and-Daughter activist duo Catherine and Jude Corpeny pose with a beautiful CODEPINK artwork!

Austin CODEPINK held a press conference featuring Iraqi speaker Dahlia Wasfi, and CODEPINK nationally raised funds to support the Killen-based Under the Hood cafe which serves as a safe space for soldiers from Ft. Hood base.

Janet Weil organized a home gathering on August 29. She recalls, “We brought objects reminding us of our motivations and of important moments in our activist lives, and told stories about our lives in relation to 9/11, the immediate period before the US attack on Iraq, where we were on March 19-20, 2003, and changes in our lives during these long years of the US occupation of Iraq, sadly not over yet. Singer-songwriter Betsy Rose led us in singing ‘Gather the Women' and ‘Welcome to the Circle', and sang for us her heart-breaking composition about the Iraqi deaths in 1991, '200,000 Lights Going Out.'”

CODEPINK Maine had a major presence at the annual Veterans for Peace national convention. Our BOW$H organizer Lisa Savage spoke at the Sunday rally; read about it here.

Stolen Beauty: CODEPINK‘s contribution to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement continued with protests of Ahava in Las Vegas, LA, and in Kansas City during the weekend of the annual US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation conference held there this year. This week CODEPINK released a press release refuting claims made by Ahava's CEO about the product and the boycott movement. At the start of September a series of Peace Talks began between Israel and Palestinian leaders in Washington, DC, and to respond CODEPINK DC staged a skit of the “Farce Talks” that got a lot of play online.

The Start of September

Peace and Tolerance on 9/11: Gainesville, FL local coordinator Jacque Betz has had a busy past month. In August she showed the film View from a Grain of Sand re Afghanistan; she coordinates the touring of the Peace Ribbon Project – there are now close to 300 panels (commemorating the lives of Americans and Iraqis killed in the war) that are works of art, and she joined with local peace and justice groups to take a stand for justice and the Constitution in the face of Islamophobia and a threat of Qur'an burning by an extremist church. For the last couple of years in her college town around the same time as fraternity and sorority RUSH week, Jacque and other peace organizers have held a “Radical Rush” and set up tables for people to join their local progressive group – vets, environmental, CODEPINK, peace and justice, feminist groups. Radical Rush is happening this week too on campus in Gainesville. CODEPINK NYC an pinks from throughout the East Coast convened in Manhattan on 9/11 to support the efforts to build an Islamic Center near Ground Zero and to counter rising Islamophobia. Elsewhere around the country CODEPINKers joined public readings of the Qur'an and other solidarity events. Former Pink House Mama Desiree sent us this great statement and said she is more proud than ever to be a librarian!

Coming up!

Make history with us in DC October 2: The One Nation Working Together mass rally on the Mall brings together a wide coalition under the demands of jobs, justice and human needs, and CODEPINK is a proud partner in this alliance. A major rally will take place at the Lincoln Memorial in DC on October 2, with local and regional organizing leading up and following this event. A few solidarity rallies are being planned for elsewhere in the country. For the peace contingent in this national rally, we focus on these four themes: federal funding for jobs and sustainable economic recovery; cuts in military spending to redirect for community needs; an end to the US war and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan NOW!; and peace abroad and renewable energy at home. Sign up today to join CODEPINK at One Nation, and dance with Alice Walker that Saturday night!

Other upcoming actions this fall include the current trip to Creech Air Force Base to protest and do public education on drones (here's a tweet to pass on: Vegas drone trial makes history: Judge devotes 4 months for study of testimony presented in Creech 14 case #drones #cd); continuing congressional pressure against the outrageously huge military budget request for FY 2011; public events to protest the 9th anniversary of the US bombing/invasion of Afghanistan, October 7 – 10, and 10/10/10 – a global work party to counter climate change, hosted by

This month's Brown Bag Lunch Vigils (BBLV) are about working in the USA. Today, September 15 is the day for most BBLVs. This is also the date for Jobs with Justice's Jobs Emergency Day of Action.

A huge thanks to Janet for donating her time to compile this colossal Roseroots Report for July – mid-September!

Busy fall ahead!

Inspired by what you read here? We invite you to give a donation to support our actions and join our campaigns!

The Roseroots Report is a bimonthly bouquet of CODEPINK local actions and news. Why roseroots? Because we're cultivating a vibrant pink flowering garden with a hearty stemming history and strong roots, not just little “grassroots.” The 1912 Lawrence textile workers on strike had it right when they said, “We Want Bread, But Roses Too!” Our pink hearts are moved by CODEPINK‘s approach to peacemaking: we aren't just about getting out a talking point or ensuring a basic right, we're about bringing our money back to our beloved resources – schools, health, parks, libraries and more, disarming our defenses, opening our minds to new narratives and possibilities, and creating beauty.