Roseroots ~ January 2009!
- I love the whole concept of this new report From Rae! xo deidraDear CODEPINK Local Coordinators,
Each month this year Janet and I will be sending you a "Report from the Roseroots" ~ A summary of notable local actions we saw blossom, budding new local groups, local campaign growth, and any other news from the roseroots. Why roseroots? Because we're cultivating a vibrant pink flowering garden with a hearty stemming history and strong roots, not just little "grassroots." And the 1912 Lawrence textile workers on strike had it right when they said, "We Want Bread, But Roses Too!" One thing that has always touched my heart about CODEPINK actions is that we aren't just about getting out a talking point or ensuring a basic right, we're about bringing our communities back to our hearts, disarming our defenses, opening our minds to new narratives and possibilities, and creating beauty.
Without further adieu, the January Report from the Roseroots:
We began the new year with excitement, hope, and a sense of new beginnings, creating fun ways to say bye bye to Bush and Co., and welcoming our new President Obama with postive reminders for peace and justice, and pressure to Shut Down Guantanamo. We were outraged and pained to watch the horrific violence in Gaza, and transformed our anger into pro-peace actions calling for a ceasefire, marching with our allies, and giving Obama hundreds of white roses.
Pink activists responded quickly to the horrors of the assault on Gaza, beginning with a powerful, all-morning-long march and direct action combo in San Francisco (note the sign by Toby Blome).
The local spotlight section of our website shows five protests, vigils or other actions, including this one from Austin, inspired by the White Rose action in DC, with a characteristic use of costume to convey our feelings.
CODEPINK Phoenix and DC organizer Liz was quoted in the news coverage of their excellent actions. Liz said, "We completely denounce violence of any form. We need a surge of diplomacy." At right, CODEPINKers Medea and Lori deliver white roses to Obama in DC. Over a thousand people from all over the country bought roses for this deeplly meaningful action!
And when it came to saying goodbye to the Bush era, two college towns, Austin and Berkeley, featured "end of an error" parties to mark the much-anticipated final day of the Bush regime.
Berkeley songwriter Betsy Rose wrote and performed new lyrics at Berkeley's "Ding Dong Bush is Gone" party, and activists in Crawford, TX put their giant puppet head of Bush into exile.
Camp Hope in front of now-President Obama's Chicago home was the focal gathering point for peace and justice activists in the month leading up to our first African-American president's inauguration. CODEPINKers from the metro area and also NW Indiana turned out in the snowy cold for singing, sharing visions of "yes we can...", getting inspired by speakers like Ann Wright, and solidarity.
And then from Florida, to Philly, to Solon, Maine, and many other states, CODEPINK local groups prepared to go to the inauguration, and then arrived in the Capitol ready to shake a tail feather in the "Yes We Can-Can" dance! Solon CODEPINK coordinator Lisa was quoted in an excellent story in the Maine News. Lisa said it was Obama's call for service, community and sacrifice that struck her the most.
In DC CODEPINKers gave out "Remind Obama" promise ribbons, performed the "Yes We Can Can End War" dance, talked strategy, and watched the inauguration live; while around the country local groups from Maine to Colorado to California gathered to celebrate a new beginning. One of the most heart-warming of these gatherings happened in our CODEPINK Redlands, CA coordinator's home, with her "All Day, Non Partisan, Open House, Potluck Inaugural Celebration". Everyone who attended the party went home with Pink Remind Obama ribbons, decks of Bush playing cards, and toy soldiers with "Bring me Home, Call Congress" leg bands.
The last week of January was filled with events that invite reflection and inspire action, and were listed on our national CODEPINK calendar, including "Remembering Election 2008" in Berkeley; "Remembering Camp Hope and Preparing for the Next Few Months" in Heartland Cafe, Chicago; "Phone-a-thon on Cluster Bombs" in the Port Authority in midtown Manhattan; and "Meeting to help inaugurate peace in the new year with a canned food drive" in Cleveland.
You can see all action report backs on our Local Spotlight (and add your own!), and check out our national calendar of actions to get inspired for the month ahead!
In January three NEW Local Groups blossomed in:
Moravia, NY: Kelli Large (Pinkster4Peace@...) is starting a new local group after returning home from joining CODEPINK at the Inauguration in DC and staying at our Pink House. Kelli writes, "Since we are surrounded by many small towns it is a priority to get the opt. out form into the hands of the parents in our community. We are also planning to educate the community through potluck dinners about the wars in Afghanistan (especially) and Iraq. I would also like to learn more and teach my group how to reach their representatives and senators. I plan on hosting an event in Ithaca promoting my new Codepink group and speaking out about Codepink's actions in DC and what a great inspiration it had on me."
Tucson, AZ: Jhan Kold (jtkold@...) and Mary DeCamp are reviving Tucson CODEPINK with fresh ideas as the new local coordinator. There is a legacy of amazing CODEPINK actions in Tucson thanks to prior coordinator Nancy Hill. Jhan has been active with Women in Black and the local peace and justice movement for years. One of this new group's first goals is to make a Peace Ribbon remembrance panel.
Columbus, OH: Gaye Reissland (greissla@...) has several years experience as a community organizer with The BREAD Organization (Building Responsibility Equality And Dignity) and has taken part in the D.A.R.T. (Direct Action Research and Training) Institute in Miami, FL. She is a youth minister, and writes, "I don't want any of my kids (who are primarily inner city African-American youth) to have to die in any war; be it in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan!" She is excited to join our PINK movement.
Please join me in welcoming these new local coordinators! And welcome all to a new era of CODEPINK organizing in 2009!
This month The Nation named CODEPINK the "Most Valuable Progressive" organization of the Bush Years ~ it is humbling to serve you, the MVPs of our PINK network, and we are continually inspired by all you do!!
A great start to a hopeful new year,
Janet and Rae
from San Francisco, CA and Harrisonville, MO
P.S. To suggest your group's actions included in the roundup, post to the Local Spotlight, Action Calendar, get covered by the news and let Jean know (jean@...), or email Rae at locals@.... We want to hear about your PINK actions and help spread the word about your inspiring stories!