Saturday, September 23, 2006

Standing Up for Peace

Seven of us stood on the four corners of a busy interesection in Santa Cruz during rush hour yesterday and held up signs and flags that expressed our wish that our soldiers would come home from Iraq NOW. Small groups like ours with homemade signs were taking part in Stand-Up for Peace in Iraq on over two dozen street corners in Santa Cruz, organized by the local Declaration of Peace campaign.

The response was overwhelmingly positive. Car after car beeped in support, and only an occasional middle finger was raised to express displeasure. One young woman exiting the shopping center near where we were standing screamed something indecipherable that indicated a definite lack of agreement with our efforts, but she was in the minority.

Russ Brutsché, who is a terrific artist and singer, brought some unique dynamic signs that he had designed, inspired by the cards fans wave at football games. One requiring three participants read "End the War Now," and the other, which needed four, read: "Boys Back From Iraq" (I must have a word with Russ about today's army which includes girls as well as boys). We got the thumbs up from a number of drivers who saw our performance as they waited for the lights to change.

Afterwards we met at Lulu's coffee house and traded stories. Some of the groups consisted of neighbors who had been contacted by their friends. They stood on street corners near their homes. We heard of people so impressed by this homegrown witness for peace in Iraq that they ran home, made a sign, and returned to join them. People of all ages called out to the Congresspeople in Washington to end this terrible occupation in Iraq and bring our troops home immediately.

Will they be heard? The cynic in me says "I doubt it." But, as Jim Wallis told us when he came here recently, the cynic is always struggling in us with hope for domination. And Martin Luther King Jr. told us to "keep hope alive!"

Today we join together in a silent march for peace through the downtown organized by the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. And this afternoon I'm going for a hike in Wilder Ranch with someone I recently met through Craig's List. Keep Hope Alive!

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