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My Sheroes! ~ Gayle Brandeis

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  • Deidra
    V. Speak Up for Peace ~ My Heroines, My Sheroes More Pink Soup for the Soul GAYLE BRANDEIS Gayle said she was touched to be included in the conversation.
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2008
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      V. Speak Up for Peace ~  My Heroines, My Sheroes
      More Pink Soup for the Soul  

      Gayle said she was touched to be included in the conversation. Thank you for inviting me she said. She talked about how hard it has been using her voice.  Gayle said when she was little her mother showed her how to speak out when something wasn't right, or when she saw injustice in the world and felt something had been done wrong. She said she wrote about it. She said her mother always wrote letters to editors and worked on the local level to make the system better. She was on the Safety campaign at the PTA and wrote letters to make schools safer.

      Gayle said her mother was also able to get guns out of Kmart, 2 decades before Michael Moore's movie.  She knew something had to be done. So she got mothers to write letters and got guns removed.
      Gayle said, take up your pen.  She said writing is one way to peace. It is hard for one to speak up. She said CODEPINK has made me braver. It is important for all of us to feel empowered. Some times we fall in to our voice and sometimes it is difficult.  But one voice can make a difference.
      Each of us has a responsibility to stand up and speak out. Take a pen, email, however you get your voice out.  We can speak up for those who don't have a voice and who want change and justice. So grateful to be part of CODEPINK.
      An amazing conference call was held on Thursday, November 29, 2007 with 65 participants joining the call.  I was revisiting the notes that Rae, Ileana and Janet did such a great job on when I realized that the women who spoke that night, Jodie Evans, Gael Murphy, Elizabeth Kucinich, Elizabeth Holtzman, Gayle Brandeis, Maricela Guzman, and Ann Wright were truly my Sheroes, my Heroines!  Thank you again to all who contributed.  So as to keep this short and readable, I will share one Sheroe at a time.
      I. Speak Up for Peace ~  My Heroines, My Sheroes!
      Jodie opened with saying we should be in gratitude and make a commitment to speak out once a week this month.  She said she was a maid and when she marched with the Service workers she learned the power of her own voice. She said over time and time with Code Pink she learned how to speak from the heart and craft speaking to be most effective. She learned how to keep her emotions in her body and not in her heart.  She also recognized when she was talking to herself and not other people and not acknowledging her own fear.  She said, once that happened she could ground herself deeper and get the courage and passion to come out. 

      She said it has taken many years – 35 years  -- to see if what she is saying is effective. It is overwhelming.   Saying what you want to say, but sometimes people aren't hearing.  She said she still sees her throat closing down when not accepted. Trust. Trust when you are speaking out; we have to be aware of the black lash while expanding the truth. This can feel brutal.  When this happens, watch it happen and feel it in your body. 

      She said she hopes others experiences constantly keep us at the edge and we don't get too comfortable with ourselves. We can learn from the backlash and in particular the resistance. "What we resist persists. Find a better way to accept what they need." 
      Jodie gave as an example we are launching the Tax Revolt campaign. This is going into an uncomfortable situation. A lot of people have discomfort around this issue and taking this action. We   will be demonized for it; belittled for it. We have to be aware that that is coming.

      Stay open, she said, to what comes back and speak to what is creating fear in others and not avoid it.
      II. Speak Up for Peace ~  My Heroines, My Sheroes!More Pink Soup for the Soul   Previously, Jodie Evans said: Stay open, she said, to what comes back and speak to what is creating fear in others and not avoid it.  Jodie then welcomed Elizabeth Kucinich:
      Elizabeth Kucinich
      Jodie said, Elizabeth happens to be married to Dennis but has been dedicated to peace for many years. She volunteered in India with Mother Teresa, she earned her BA in religious studies and theology and a Masters in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Kent.  She did her master's thesis on "Conflict Resolution in World Politics." She earned a certificate from Coventry University in Peace Studies.
      Elizabeth Kucinich said, finding my voice has taken heart and courage, but it is the most rewarding thing to do.  She gave the example of when she got married and how to say her marriage vows she was so nervous in front of so many people.
      She spoke about speaking on a national level in the campaign and focusing on the war, and ending war as a policy.

      She saw how she needed to bring the conversation to America when she was in the UK. She said when she was writing her final exam it was September 11, 2001. When she went into the exam 9/11 hadn't happened, but when she came she saw what had happened. She said she saw that the world had opened their hearts to the US people. People in Palestine, in the Middle East and Iran. She said one million people prayed in Iran together. She said Europe has never been very sympathetic to America. When she saw the television, and saw how the world united, she said we can recreate that moment.  She said 9/11 was an opportunity for the US to join hands with the world.

      She said when she came to the US she was trying to see the role for reconciliation and the world to come together. Her second week here she came across Dennis – he was the first congressman she met.  She saw his research and saw that he was the man for her.
      She said people have to believe in themselves to make a difference and create a politics that is truly representative. Need courage to stand behind convictions.
      Jodie said it was an important point about commitment. She thanked Elizabeth for her work.
      Jodie said it was an important point about commitment. She thanked Elizabeth for her work.
      Jodie then spoke about the value in partners and partnership.  She said she has an amazing partner in CODEPINK who works the halls of Congress everyday -- Gael Murphy.

      III. Speak Up for Peace ~  My Heroines, My Sheroes!
      Gael said how pleased she was with all the voices on the call. Every person has spoken up for peace – written, bannered, and disrupted, while the media has been in complete silence. It is gratifying she said, a very gratifying thing to do.
      Every moment is gratifying. She said CODEPINK gave her the opportunity to go to Iraq, just before the bombing started. Being there as an American before the bombing, speaking out. She said for the past 7 months she has been banned from Congress. She said she can't go without an invitation which does not make it easy that is why, she said, she depends on all of you to do it. We are all same voice.

      She said, Jodie talked about the fear  -- remember who we are speaking for. When policy makers talk about the grand scheme, go to a place with our voice that is so much greater than our own -- Our collective voices. Bush, she said, now refers to us by name.
      She said, stand in vigil, write letters, doing something for peace.  She said a lot of people aren't thinking about the war. "I think what I find important now and Jodie talked about is the truth. Why we went to war.  It is important to talk about the cost of war, the funding of the injured and how this is stripping away our domestic programs, and what a piss poor job congress has been doing. It is a critical time to keep pushing congress, the leadership and the dinosaurs in the Senate to do the right thing." 
      Gael said she invites you to come to DC and be with us in joy on the hill. If you can't come, speak up in your district office.
      IV. Speak Up for Peace ~  My Heroines, My Sheroes
      More Pink Soup for the Soul   Previously, Gael said she invites you to come to DC and be with us in joy on the hill. If you can't come, speak up in your district office.
      Jodie then welcomed Maricela Guzman from Los Angeles,
      one of the Iraq Veterans against the war.

      Maricela said that what she experienced while in the navy affected her life greatly. Jodie said Maricela started working with others members of IVAW and then SWAN (Service Women's Action Network,
      www.servicewomen. org) and has focused on the sexual abuse in the military.  Her focus has been to make women aware of the numbers of sexual abuse cases in the military.
      Maricela said it was an honor to be with such amazing women and learning from them.  She said from 1998-June 2002 she was in the Navy. She said she was sexually assaulted in boot camp but she never spoke up about what happened.
      "The first time she spoke up was when we went to war.  It affected me personally. This event of going to war made me as a person gain my voice. We should honor that."
      She said she got support from great leaders.  She said for her to listen to other woman's stories. It was a long process as an individual. She said she has a voice. She said, with great people she found her own voice  -- it took years after service. Only 1-½ years ago. She said we need to find our own strength and empower ourselves. Need to be good listeners.   She said she empowers others when she speaks in communities.
      She has spoken to 30,000 people in Los Angeles Unified School District about counter recruitment.  It is important to be confident and listen to other's stories.   With SWAN woman, they have coming together to listen to our frustration and needs.  CODEPINK has been a model for us.  Working with CODEPINK has been inspiring for her and has effected her outreach.
      One person being the voice of the movement with time everyone has voice. Many years to find voice hope able to find voice.
      Jodie said stories are important. A lot of what we are focusing on is telling stories.
      Next, Jodie introduced the author of many books, a poet, novelist and essayist who has won many awards – welcome Gayle Brandeis. 
      While waiting, Jodie spoke about coalition building, which Elizabeth Kucinich spoke about, and partnership.
      How do we proceed politically into 2008? How do we use our voices to go forward?
      How do we move forward?
      Coalition building is the core of CODEPINK. We are in United for Peace and Justice. It is important to walk together. Reach out for input to bring our voices together, honoring all, while doing what we do best.

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