July 1, 2011

CODEPINKJuly 8, 2011

Dear Supporter,

Personal note from Janet: One of my most delightful moments in this two-month period was the 2-hour vigil in Venice, CA on May 4, as I enjoyed the company of my colleagues C.J. Minster and Kristen Ess Schurr, the two interns Dara and Sanaa, and several local folks, holding banners and speaking out for peace. It reminded me of how standing in vigil literally grounds my activism.

On July 16 -17, I'll be hosting a Rebuild the American Dream house party. As Bring Our War $$ Home campaigner C.J. Minster reminds me (and all of us) here: “The American Dream Movement is developing a manifesto of what a new American Dream looks like. We're encouraging CODEPINKers to participate in this process and remind our sisters and brothers that Bringing the War $$ Home is a foundational aspect of rebuilding the dream.” Hosting, or attending, a house party is a great way to meet new folks and connect our peace messaging to the needs of our home communities.

I have some very good news to share: my nephew, a captain in the Marine Corps who has been deployed to Afghanistan for several months, is now home with his wife in North Carolina. Although the “drawdown” is far smaller, slower and more inadequate than we need, it would never have happened without our peace movement pushing and making noise – which we will continue to do until ALL our troops come home! I take comfort and inspiration from CODEPINK's Roseroots' words, actions and long-term commitment, and I want to give a special shout-out to all military family members and veterans on the Roseroots listserv. I look forward to representing CODEPINK at the Veterans for Peace conference in Portland, OR in August, and am planning to go to DC for October 6 and beyond. Can you join me?

May local highlights:

Starting May 1, Bay Area CODEPINKers set out on a weeklong “peace pilgrimage” from San Francisco to Sacramento, stopping at communities along the way to highlight local issues such as underfunded mental health care, protests to stop development of Native American burial site, city budget cuts and more. For an example of one day of the pilgrimage, please see. As Marie Bravo, local coordinator from the Lake Tahoe area who joined the pilgrimage wrote, “Vallejo is a bankrupt city, and so we chose to focus on "Busting the Myth." We spend over $126 Billion per year for war, our government spent billions bailing out corporations and financial institutions, tax cuts have been extended during a time of severe budget shortfalls, yet when we need money for human services the answer is “We're broke!”

This project, which culminated in several days of activism against education cuts in the state budget, has inspired Maine Bring Our War $$ Home activists to do a similar project from September 11 to October 6! (More on that in “Coming Up” section.)

On the night of May 1, Osama Bin Laden was assassinated by a team of Navy SEALs in Pakistan, along with 4 others, and his body was dumped in the Indian Ocean. Inspired by a long email thread started by Portland, OR local coordinator Martha Shelley, I compiled local organizers' responses to this event and the subsequent public rejoicing for Pink Tank. Attorney Natalie of Davis, CA summed it up: “As a lawyer I cringe every time I hear that ‘justice has been served.' What I learned in law school… this is NOT justice, and they are not fighting for our freedom, and freedom is just chaos without well-organized justice… I'm so glad I'm on the email list for codepinkers! It's interesting being in such a minority.”

The DC local organized an immediate response, engaging with “celebrators” on the night of the killing and turning out a dozen people with eye-grabbing visuals in front of the White House the following day.

Always active Mainers had several local spotlights this month. CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin was the keynote speaker, focusing on the upcoming Gaza flotilla, at Peace Action Maine's annual Give Peas a Chance supper on May 7. Local folks and Medea brought the Bring Our War $$ Home message to Senators Snowe and Collins.

At the other corner of the US, Tucson codepinkers organized by Mary DeCamp did an action at a shopping mall for Mother's Day, skillfully engaging mall cops so that they were not kicked out []. On Memorial Day, Mary attended the memorial march and ceremony in honor of a veteran shot by police in his home, and encountered hostility from a “Marine Mom.” Mary wrote, “Several in the gun-totin' crowd came up to talk to me, and established nice human-to-human connections. Many thanked me for being there and representing peace.”

Houston codepinkers are known for participating in the annual Art Car parade, and on May 22 they showed their flair in the Make Out, Not War truck designed by Shelley B. On Memorial Day weekend, Houston CP constructed the civilian memorial piece of a huge memorial to the dead of the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Madeleine Crozat-Williams, local coordinator worked to draw attention to the children affected by war by displaying posters written in Pashto, Arabic and English. "People need to understand the cost of the war," Madeleine told her local paper.

June local highlights:

Supporting alleged whistle-blower/wikileaker Bradley Manning has been a big CODEPINK focus all this year. In New York City, codepinkers set up a clever “Have your picture taken” street display, where people held up a Bradley Manning photo card in front of their faces, with the messages “We Are All Bradley Manning” and “I Am Bradley Manning” prominently displayed. More on Bradley and this campaign is below under Campaign News.

The LA-area CODEPINK local was very active this month, doing a protest at the Anaheim Convention Center of war criminal and featured speaker Condi Rice on June 6 as part of the Accountability/Expose War Crimes campaign. Orange County activist Sharon Tipton reported: "Get a job!" someone yells, and I forget my usual retort, "Get a conscience!" Later, I think of a better, more thoughtful one, "Millions have died. We have blood on our hands. I have a conscience. Do you have a conscience?"

The DC local stepped up to support the right of Saudi women to drive, a sign of the “Arab Spring” spreading to one of the most misogynist countries in the world. CODEPINK has a petition on this issue on change.org.

Obama's announcement of a lingering 5% “drawdown” of the 100,000 US troops and 100,000 (approximately) military contractors in Afghanistan, which will take until summer 2012 with no end in sight to the overall war, drew responses from DC and the Bay Area. DC pinkers went “back to basics” on Capitol Hill work by bringing the pink flair to an important House Rules Committee hearing on the 2012 Military Appropriations bill. In San Francisco, Kirsten Moller of Global Exchange and I organized a hasty day-after protest at the New Federal Building, our PEACE banner and signs reading “US Troops Home Now” and “Bring Our War $$ Home Now” inspiring honks, peace signs and a cabdriver pulling over to take a flyer and talk.

The final weekend of June is a celebration of LGBT Pride around the nation. The month came to a very PINK conclusion as CODEPINK locals in San Francisco and NYC raised much-needed awareness about Manning in the LGBT community last weekend by marching in “Free Bradley Manning” Pride contingents.

New groups:

We welcome a new CODEPINK local in the ITHACA-area, specifically in Trumansburg, NY?Rebecca Murphy, queenbee3773@yahoo.com, is the new local coordinator there.
To start a new CODEPINK local, please read this.

Campaign news:

Accountability/Expose War Criminals:

Campaigner Nancy Mancias, along with codepinkers from around the US, traveled to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas as part of the Free Bradley Manning protest organized by allies Courage to Resist, World Can't Wait, Bradley Manning Support Network and others on June 4. The openly gay Army private who is alleged to have leaked 100,000s of US military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks has been moved from solitary confinement in Quantico Marine Corps brig to a medium-security prison in Ft. Leavenworth where he is treated like a “normal” prisoner. More on this in the Truth Set Free report below.

Nancy represented CODEPINK at the Netroots Nation conference in Minneapolis on mid-June. She reported: “What I loved about the conference was that everyone was wired, for example, if I sent a tweet about a panelist who was stage, the panelists would immediately respond… I was inspired by [speakers] Van Jones [and] Rep. Keith Ellison. The labor leaders who spoke at the morning welcoming were awesome! It was great to see familiar faces and meet new people. I was able to hand out all the Accountability/Truth Set Free flyers.”

Bring Our War $$ Home

This campaign, under the direction of C.J. Minster, celebrated a major victory at the US Conference of Mayors in Baltimore on June 20 when the nation's mayors voted after vigorous debate and two amendments to ratify the Resolution “Calling on Congress to Redirect Military Spending To Domestic Priorities”. This was the first time since the Vietnam War that the USCM had put out a statement on US foreign policies and wars, and the development was covered widely in the mainstream and alternative media. C.J. and other codepinkers, including Lisa Savage of Maine's original BOW$H campaign, made a strong coalition with economic justice and other community groups in Baltimore. Read Lisa's Common Dreams article about it here.

The Los Angeles City Council just passed the Bring Our War $$ Home resolution by a vote of 12 to 1! Congratulations to the LA area team for “mothering” this through. The mayor of Spokane, WA signed on to the mayors' resolution, even though the vote happened a couple of weeks ago, and this campaign continues to get attention. Please vote for the People's Budget!
C.J. does a lot of alliance-building work, including with UFPJ, New Priorities Network, WILPF, WAND and other organizations. If you are interested in joining her in anti-NATO work (the next NATO Summit on Afghanistan will be in Chicago in May 2012), please contact her at cj@codepink.org.

Middle East/Israel/Palestine:

The major focus of this campaign in May was the first-ever Move Over AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, during the annual, lavishly funded AIPAC conference. The Move Over AIPAC team did a superb job of organizing several days of conference with major speakers, street actions, evening programs at Busboys and Poets, public debates and listening sessions with AIPAC participants, from May 20 - 24. Controversy and anger erupted when 5 MOA activists disrupted Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to the AIPAC conference, and were brutally grabbed, beaten, and otherwise abused while being ejected. The following day, May 24 Rae, from her seat in the gallery, disrupted Netanyahu's speech to a joint session of Congress, and was mauled and shoved so badly she had to be hospitalized. Despite the extreme unpleasantness, Move Over AIPAC was a great success, generating new alliances, media coverage and attention on AIPAC and its power over Congress.

In June, the major action was/is the Gaza flotilla including the US ship, the Audacity of Hope. As I write this, the flotilla is stalled in Athens, and the DC local has begun a 24-hr vigil in front of the Greek Embassy with boat-shaped sign, candles and determination.

Truth Set Free:

Formerly known as “Hands off WikiLeaks,” our Truth Set Free campaign has evolved in response to the growing need to support whistle-blowers and fight for government transparency. Our new Truth Set Free campaigner Melanie Butler is strengthening CODEPINK's efforts to protect truth-tellers by forging alliances with the Government Accountability Project (GAP), and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, in addition to continuing to work with our friends in the Bradley Manning Support Network.

On June 4th CODEPINKers joined Bradley Manning supporters from across the country in Leavenworth, Kansas, for a demonstration at the Fort Leavenworth prison where Bradley Manning awaits trial. Among the hundreds who gathered to demand Bradley's freedom were his father, Brian Manning, and World War II era veteran Sally-Alice Thompson, who led CODEPINK in a song she had written for Bradley [].
CODEPINK NYC, World Can't Wait, and other local allies held a solidarity rally in New York.

On June 15th CODEPINKers and members of the Bradley Manning Support Network rallied outside the federal court in Alexandria, VA where Manning's friend and supporter David House had been summoned to testify. The next day CODEPINK NYC joined the Committee to Stop FBI Repression for a National Day of Action in solidarity with Carlos Montes, a Chicano activist whose home was raided by the FBI in May.

National staff news:

We said good-bye to our media/social media coordinator, Jean Pockrus, and to Shaden Dowaitt of the DC office, with thanks for their tremendous hard work over the last several months. In San Francisco, we said a fond farewell to our intern Chelsea Byers, who put her enthusiasm and brains into actions and gatherings.

We say welcome to Truth Set Free campaigner Melanie Butler. Melanie is a NYC-based peace activist who has worked with War Resisters and anti-war groups across Canada. She joined the team on May 21st, hitting the ground running at Move Over AIPAC in DC. She opened a new NYC CP office, along with intern Malak at 666 Broadway, Suite 500, New York, NY 10012. Phone: (212) 300-2397.

Another new hire is our new social media coordinator, former intern Sanaa Bengholam, who has been an intern in the Venice, CA office since March of this year and who has excellent communications and social networking skills.
We welcome our summer interns in our four offices.


Ongoing: CODEPINK is getting involved with 10 Years and Counting in preparation for the October 6 and beyond actions planned for Washington, DC. Please contact C.J. at cj@codepink.org to get involved.

July 16 – 17: Rebuild America house parties are being organized by MoveOn and others for grassroots involvement in job creation and other much-needed uses of our government. Jodie Evans, our Executive Director, encourages us to take part in these so that we can bring our messages of ending US wars and militarism as part of the mix, and to connect with our neighbors and community members.

August 1 - 10: Nuclear Free Events in Japan. CODEPINKers in Osaka, Japan are hosting their guest Nydia Leaf of the NYC Granny Peace Brigade, organizing and speaking at a forum on a nuclear-free world, participating in a Meeting for Nuclear Free World in Hiroshima, and enjoying a reunion of the Green Tea Party back in Osaka. The horrific and ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima following a 9.0 earthquake in March means that this is an especially important gathering of all peace-minded and anti-nuke (power and weapons) folks from around the globe. Hisae, local coordinator of Osaka, has done a great job of reaching out to Americans and emphasizing that we must be “glocal” – both global and local.

August 18 – 20: CODEPINK Southeast Region Planning Conference at The Farm, TN. Join CODEPINK TN coordinators Elizabeth Barger & Ashley Offt, and women from throughout the Southeast for an unforgettable weekend of sisterhood, storytelling, learning singing, stratagems, and taking action for a more peaceful world! For more info contact Eliz at loveliz77@yahoo.com.

September 11: the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the US is an opening for us to say, “Enough war and violence!” to a war-weary country.

October 6 and beyond: I've been hearing from codepinkers that they ARE going to this, that they're thinking about it, that they want to know more. Whether in DC in our home communities, this 10th year marker of the US war in Afghanistan is more than one more sad “anniversary” – it's a time to take a stand our ground against permanent US war and occupation and against the imposition of the 2012 “austerity” budget.

Taking actions and creating victories for peace,
Janet and the CODEPINK Team

P.S. Want to see Medea and DC folks boogie down? Check out their dancing at TJ's party at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial – because we CODEPINKers are about humor and joy:

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

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

If you wish to unsubscribe from this email please
click here.
CODEPINK respects your privacy. For more information, please view our Privacy Policy.