Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gandhi Peace Brigade / Peace Trip to Iran in May

We want to thank CODEPINK for their support and for creating this AMAZING page on their website.


"Leslie and I are hoping to visit Iran with a CodePink delegation in May, 2009. “While we're there, we'll be talking with teachers and students about Friends of Iran, a program we've developed to build friendships between American and Iranian students, and their teachers. The best way to prevent a war is to establish friendships between the people."
Contributions for the Friends of Iran program and the upcoming trip to Iran are gratefully accepted.
Click here to donate now,
or send your tax-deductible donation (payable to CODEPINK) to to 2010 Linden Ave., Venice, CA 90291.
Thank you!
Promoting Peace with Iran

Dear Friends,

Leslie and I met in front of Senator Dianne Feinstein's house in San Francisco during CODEPINK's Troops Home Fast on July 5, 2006. I was putting up the ten foot tall Gandhi Puppet and Leslie asked if she could help. I said, "Yes!" and we've been together ever since. We spent a lot of time on the road during our first year, chauffeuring the Gandhi Puppet from Cindy Sheehan's Camp Casey in Texas to Washington DC.

In May, 2007, we visited Iran as part of a Global Exchange "Citizen Diplomacy" Delegation. Fourteen of us traveled throughout the country for a little over two weeks. What Leslie and I discovered was not at all what we were expecting. The Iranians we met were kind, sophisticated, and extremely generous ... and they LOVE Americans. Here are some of the photos we took of these beautiful people.

Why did we go to Iran? In January, 2007, Leslie came back from the DC CODEPINK house where there had been talk about an attack on Iran. She was horrified by the thought of the U.S. starting another war. She flew back to California to join me, where I, too, had been hearing reports about U.S. aircraft carriers heading toward Iran. We both thought we were on the verge of yet another war. After watching this video, we decided to go to Iran.

We thought, if a two minute video can have such a big affect on us, perhaps we should film our interactions with the Iranian people, then come back here and talk about our experiences. This is what we've done and we're calling it our Journey for Peace with Iran.

When we returned to the United States, Senator Lieberman appeared on Face the Nation to encourage the Bush administration to use military force against Iran. Leslie was appalled and tried to make an appointment to talk with him. She went on a 24 day hunger strike and was hospitalized on the 16th day and was arrested in his office on the 22nd day. Lieberman finally consented to meet with her and Ali Nasri of Miles for Peace.

Leslie began the Hungry for Justice? Impeach him FAST! in hopes of pressuring the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, to start impeachment hearings for Vice President Cheney, who is the driving force behind our government’s plans to attack Iran. Over 450 people across the country fasted in solidarity. When Senator Clinton made her "Obliterate Iran" comment, Leslie fasted again. She wanted Clinton to apologize to the Iranian people and the world. On May 22, Leslie and three other courageous CODEPINK women were arrested at the Petraeus Confirmation Hearing for objecting to his lies about Iranian involvement in Iraq.

Before our trip to Iran, Leslie and I were leading reasonably normal lives. I had just graduated from Dominican University and was planning to be an elementary school teacher. Leslie worked in a health food store. When we returned from Iran, we quit our jobs, said good-bye to our sweet home in California's San Geronimo Valley, put everything into storage, and moved into the CODEPINK house in Washington DC to lobby Congress for peace with Iran.

We are currently living with friends in the Bay Area and offering our Peace with Iran presentation. Here's a review of the presentation we gave in Hawaii. If you would like us to give our presentation to your peace organization, your congregation, or your house party guests, please get in touch.

President Ahmadinejad spoke at the United Nations in September and the next day he met with 150 people from 50 different peace groups, an event organized by Fellowship of Reconciliation. Leslie was honored to be a part of this historic event. Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, Co-founders of CODEPINK, were also there.

Leslie and I are hoping to visit Iran with a CODEPINK delegation in May, 2009. While we're there, we'll be talking with teachers and students about Friends of Iran, a program we've developed to build friendships between American and Iranian students, and their teachers. The best way to prevent a war is to establish friendships between the people. If your daughter/son would like to be introduced to an email pal from Iran, or if you know of a class of students that might enjoy email pals, just contact us and we'll send you more information.

When we return from Iran we will tour the United States and offer an updated version of our Peace with Iran presentation. We will be visiting the schools of the students who have joined our Friends of Iran program, and we'll also be giving our presentation to adult organizations. Improved relations with Iran can only come from the hearts of Americans, not from the minds of politicians.

Leslie and I want to continue to be full time peace activists, if we can. Relatively few people have been to Iran and even fewer still are able to devote much time to promoting peace with Iran. This is what we want to do with our lives. We're fortunate because our children are grown and our needs are simple, so we now have the time to follow what appears to be our calling. When Americans understand they have nothing to fear from Iranians, the administration will no longer be able to lead us to war. We are doing all we can to promote this understanding.

Watch Our Slideshow: PEACE WITH IRAN!

Contributions for the Friends of Iran program and our upcoming trip to Iran are gratefully accepted. Click here to donate now, or send your tax-deductible donation (payable to CODEPINK) to 2010 Linden Ave., Venice, CA 90291. Thank you!

Peace and Freedom,
Jes & Leslie

Our website:


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