It’s been a full week at the CODEPINK DC house—as usual! We started every day with a 7am “wake up call” to Nancy Pelosi at her condo in Georgetown—telling her not to fund the war. We’d arrive with a pot of coffee, our banners, and two megaphones. The neighbors must love us—hollerin’ and singin’ at 7am! We even invented an aerobic workout—Pelotes for Peace at Pelosi’s.
The security called the police every day, and the police never knew quite what to do. They’d tell us it was private property and we had to leave. We’d insist it was public property and we wouldn’t leave. And I think we were right because they never arrested us.
Then off to Congress to tell them not to fund the war, running through the halls and tunnels cornering the reps while they try to run away. And on Thursday, when Congress was supposed to vote on the war supplemental bill, we went to Congress with our great rolling bed—with big caricatures of Pelosi and Bush in bed together, using the people’s money to fund war. It was a great visual, but it started to rain and unfortunately, little press showed up because the vote was postponed.
We also discovered that on Thursday Hillary Clinton was speaking at fundraiser (for her) at the Omni Shoreham and decided to pay her a visit. Jes, Leslie and I actually walked right into the fundraiser (with no ticket!) while the others protested outside. We were focusing on her horrible comment about obliterating Iran, and Jes had made an awesome sign saying “Obliterate Iran? Apologize!” Her got real close, stood on a table and unfurled the banner. It was awesome. After he got hauled out, I got up front and when Hillary started talking about “our children”, I shouted ‘what about the children of Iran? Apologize for your comments. What about the children of Iraq? Apologize for your war vote.” When I got kicked out, then Leslie shouted out as well! Three times, we pushed our message of peace!!!
Meanwhile, Ellen had a chance encounter with Obama, who was in town for a short visit. She followed him as he walked, and had a great dialogue with him that was reproduced on MSNBC’s site.
On Friday, as part of our lead up to Mothers Day, we organized a panel on Iraqi refugees at the Mott House. I gave a report back on my trip to Syria and Jordan, Gael gave an update on legislation re refugees, we had the refugee program director for Amnesty International (Sarnata Reynolds), and three Iraqis—Aseel Al-Banna, Andy Shallal and Ban Adil Sarhan. Ban’s story was so tragic. Her husband worked as a translator for the US, and was therefore targeted by militia. They shot him in the car while he was driving with their 4-year-old daughter. Both were killed. Ban, with her young son, fled to Jordan and then got into the US. She explained how hard it is to live here, and how little support she and others get when they arrive in a strange land without funds and traumatized by war. She has been struggling for years to get her green card. We took her to Nancy Pelosi’s office and asked her chief of staff for help, and then went to her Oklahoma congresswoman’s office. We also took Ban to the Iraqi embassy for some papers she needed, and then got her back to Baltimore to catch her plane. It was wonderful to have her staying at the CODEPINK house and getting to know her. It made our efforts to raise money for the refugees much more real.
We had also written a letter to congress re the need to support refugees and we got about 50 prominent women to sign it. On Friday, to commemorate mothers day, we delivered the letters to leaders in the house and senate. Two women from Philadelphia joined Leslie and Ellen in the hand deliveries. Yeah!!!
On Friday night we went out to Virginia in the lovely RV that Jim Preston has so kindly loaned to us. Tighe painted it with washable paint and great signs saying “Shame on Congress: No War, No Torture” and “Congress: Stop Funding War.” On Saturday, we went to a US-Italy polo game because one of the sponsors was Blackwater. Two of us got inside (I got in as press, Tighe bought a ticket that was refunded when they kicked us out). When Blackwater paratroopers were skydiving with US and Italian flags (gross site), we unfurled our Blackwater Makes a Killing banner and ran up and down yelling that they were mercenaries and killers until they kicked us out. Meanwhile, Liz and Des—with their megaphones—were talking to EVERY CAR that came in, as there was only one entrance.
Then Sunday, Liz got up early to confront Harry Reid when he went to speak at the morning talk show with George Stephanopolis, while others prepared for our Mothers Day event in Dupont Circle. Turnout was small this year and it started to rain as we marched, but it was a sweet event with kids and face painting and music and fundraising for Iraqi refugees.
I’m sure I’m forgetting all kinds of activities (like our Wednesday night weekley potluck when we get a full house of interested activists). But all in all, it was a typical jam-packed week at the CODEPINK house!!!