To the editor:
Ten years ago East Bay Citizens for Peace emerged out of a series of potluck supper discussions among friends troubled about the pending U.S. invasion of Iraq. On Wednesday, Feb 26th, some of us signed up with the “Virtual March on Washington” organized through the internet by MoveOn.org. In all, eight people from the East Bay area took part in the nationwide virtual march and stood on the sidewalk in the rain in Barrington, Bristol and on the Roger Williams University campus handing out flyers “Inspections Work, War Won’t” and encouraging people to make calls to Capitol Hill. (In fact CNN reported that on that day Capitol Hill was swamped with over 1 million calls, faxes and emails opposing military action in Iraq!) We then invited everyone from our area involved in the virtual march as well as people we met on the sidewalks to attend the next potluck discussion scheduled on March 2nd. That night East Bay Citizens for Peace was born. We decided on two actions: 1. to draw up a petition addressed to our town councils calling for a referendum against war in Iraq and 2. To hold weekly Saturday vigils starting in Bristol and rotating through Warren and Barrington. 106 people showed up for the first vigil on March 8 and on March 12 we presented the petition with over 100 signatures to the Bristol Town Council. They in turn voted to pass the following resolution: “Whereas people of all nations desire peace. And so, therefore, be it hereby resolved that the Bristol Town Council urges our President George W. Bush and the Congress of the United States of America to explore all diplomatic avenues to bring that peace to a troubled world.”
East Bay Citizens for Peace, a grassroots organization committed to peaceful solutions to conflict and social and economic justice through open, respectful dialogue, eventually shifted to holding monthly vigils in Bristol and sponsoring open forums on issues relating to peace and justice. Now 10 years, 130 vigils, 50 programs, many meetings, discussions, phone calls, rallies and letters later we are still working for peace. We believe it is time to change our country’s priorities from endless war to peaceful solutions and to fund the needs of our communities vs. the bloated Pentagon budget. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
It seems fitting that on Sunday March 10th, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at St. Michael’s Parish Hall, members and friends of East Bay Citizens for Peace will mark its 10 year anniversary with a pot luck supper, discussion, and a sing-a–long led by Barry Brown and Nancy Hood.
The day before, on Saturday, March 9, from 11 a.m. to noon East Bay Citizens for Peace will hold its 10 year anniversary vigil in front of the Bristol Post Office.
Thank you to all who have attended our events, given us words of encouragement or honked for peace at our vigils or have disagreed but engaged us in discussion.
274 Wood St.