Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Green Angels

Well my faithful readers, here is another update.

I have spent a great deal of time this summer working with my good friend Tom Sturtevant to plan a protest the presence of the Blue Angels in Brunswick.  I am mildly nervous to say the least, as this is the first protest that I have had a hand in planning in within the peace community here in Maine.  I am excited though, because I have had counteless arguments with my family this summer over my plans to attend this protest, because they think that the Blue Angels are tradition, and should not be messed with.

My letter to the editor of the Kennebec Journal was published today, which was pretty exciting. I've never had one published before.  And my family was also rather impressed which I was happy about, because they never seem to approve of my passions.  But my Dad told me that it was well worded.

A copy of the letter is below.  

"The Green Angels to Protest the Presence of the Blue Angels"

A group of peace activists dubbed the "green angels" has plans to oppose the Blue Angels air show on Aug. 27 at Cooks Corner in Brunswick.

The protest will call attention to the projected cost of the air shows -- $40 million in 2011 -- and the pollution they cause.

The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, a quasi-public Maine state agency, is sponsor of the show. The U.S. Navy requires the authority to provide 48,600 gallons of fuel for the weekend show and space for military recruiters.

The Blue Angels used 97,619 barrels, or 4.1 million gallons of fuel, in 2010 with a corresponding CO2 emission of 88 million pounds.

The public is invited to join the "green angels" for the event that begins at 10 a.m. and lasts until 1 p.m. Participants are urged to wear green and carry appropriate signs and banners.

The event is sponsored by Maine Veterans for Peace, Bring Our War $$$ Home, and Maine AFSC Program on Youth & Militarism.

Nicole Moreau
Livermore Falls

Stay tuned for pictures and an update sometime soon about Saturday

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Global Network

Well I promised my faithful followers a blog update on my kickass time at the Global Network Conference-- so here it is.

Friday, I woke up at 4:30 am with Mark Roman and Lisa Savage, where were loaded up the car, and headed down to Portland.  There we dropped Lisa off at the bus station, where she was heading down to Boston to catch a flight to go to the Mayor's Conference.  That was at 7 am.  Then Mark and I began our road trip down to North Andover Mass.  We arrived at the Church where the first part of the conference was being held at 10, and we actually beat the head organizer there. 

Once Bruce, Mary Beth, and tons of other awesome activists from all over the world showed up, I sat down and started checking people in.  I the morning, from about 11 to 2, checking people in, socializing, helping set up, and doing pretty much whatever Bruce needed.  Then at about 3, we headed out to Raytheon where we were going to vigil for about an hour and a half.  Of course, after the entire day being nice and sunny, it became immediately overcast (I of course was worried because I neglected to bring any rain gear).  But once we arrived there, the sun came back out, and I walked away with a sunburn.  I spent a great deal of the vigil taking some pictures.  Like the ones below. 

 Mark Roman, and several other activists on the sidewalk right outside the gate. 

 Starr Gillmartin, from Maine, representing the Bring Our War Dollars Home Campaign

 Some minor trespassing by Bruce, and another member of the Global Network to snag this awesome shot. 

 My friend Vanessa Lynch, and Manashi from India. 
Some awesome people who were there before we got there.  The man on the right was vigiling here for the first time. 

Around 4:30 we circled up, and  began talking about the implications of Raytheon, and we had a surprise performance from Tetsu Kitagawa, who is apparently the Bob Dylan of Japan.  He had a concert Saturday night, and he was phenomenal.  After the vigil, we headed back to the church for dinner, and for more speakers.  The highlight of the evening was Arthur, who has been vigiling outside of Raytheon for 20 years.  

We had this kickass carrot cake for dessert as well.  

After a fun evening of talking, hanging out, listening to speakers and sing-a-longs, we all split up to go to our respective home stays for the night. 

On Saturday I was up at 7, along with Mark and Brian (our host) where we talked over breakfast for about an hour before we had to head over to Merrimac College for the day's conference.  We had to be there at 8, on account of me agreeing to work the registration table.  While I was there, I got to meet the legendary Francis Crowe.  

The opening remarks for the conference began around 9, and then there were two plenery sessions before lunch.  Everyone who spoke was informative, and I learned a great deal about the implications of Raytheon, and its installations all over the world, along with more about what is happening on Jeju Island, and just about the militarization of space, and nuclear weapons as well.  

Lunch was at 1, and everyone was ready to eat. I spent some time with Starr Gillmartin of Maine, and we talking about the movement in Maine.  She was a fascinating woman, and I hope to see her around at some events in Maine. 

After Lunch was the event that I was agonizing over for weeks.  The workshop that I was presenting in.  I had just finished my speech a couple hours prior.  And I am happy to report that Vanessa, Manashi and I were a hit.  We had a sizeable crowd at both of our sessions, and everyone was full of questions for us, our experiences within the movement, and the topic of how to get young people into the movement was heavily discussed.  I think that people do not realize that we are living in a different time now, and that there is a major lack of information about the movement in mainstream media, and that the information is not there.  And this coupled with the fact that there is not a major presence of the peace movement in the US today.  I know that there are people who vigil on street corners, and getting arrested in DC, but I feel as though if people want to get college students, they need to have a presence here on campus.  Like I have said before, I would not be in the peace movement without the influence of Kristina Wolff.  

After the two workshop sessions, it was time to head to the student center for a group picture, and then to head over to the church.  Mark, Vanessa and I arrived an hour late, due to us getting disastrously turned around after we split off from Bruce to get gas.  Once we arrived, one of the monks, and one of the nuns from Nipponzan Myohoji were there, and it was wonderful to see them again.  After a wonderful dinner, and the presentation of the Global Network awards, one of which was presented to Bruce, we headed over to the church for the concert.  

There Pat Scanlon, and two of his friends, all of which are members of the Smedly Butler Brigade out of Boston.  They performed for about half an hour, and then Tetsu Kitagawa performed some songs, and even though he performed in Japanese, he was a phenomenal performer, and with his last song being "We Shall Overcome" it was a wonderful way to end the conference.  

You can see more of my pictures from the weekend here.    
But thank you for reading, and I'll try not to go so long without updating again 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Some Pictures from my weekend with the Global Network

 Vanessa, Dud, Manashi and I in between workshops We were pretty awesome if I say so myself

The majority of the conference participants    
Me, Manashi, Dud, Tom and Vanessa, talking about our Student Activism Workshop

Bruce-- apparently in this picture he was giving directions to the bathrooms.  But I wanted to post a picture of him, because he kicks ass, and he has been a major inspiration to me.  

I'll be sure to post some thoughts on the conference tomorrow--- hopefully atleast. 

PS-- I stole all of these pictures from Bruce's Blog--, because I don't have any on my computer yet. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bring Our War Dollars Home.

So in my resolution to try and be a better blogger, here it goes. I'm going to start with a quote by one of my favorite people 

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967

That quote was true when he said it in 1967, and it is still true today.  I only wish that our elected officials would listen to King, and re-allocate our war spending to fund the domestic needs of the country.  

I spent quite a bit of time this weekend writing a speech for the Bring Our War Dollars Home Press conference that took place in Augusta today. 

I was in charge of talking about the impacts of war spending on financial aid, and how war spending is devastating higher education.  I'll enclose my speech eventually.  

But I when I work up this morning at 8 am, trying not to freak out, and it worked rather well until I got to Augusta.  On the elevator ride up to the Hall of Flags, I noticed that I left my speech in the car, which meant that I had a freak out for approximately 30 seconds before TJ dashed off to go get it for me.  

The press conference went well.  Bruce said that there was about 200 people there, and then more people showed up for the labor rally that was taking place after.  There was also a draw-in, which seemed to be overshadowed by the proceedings going on in the front of the room, but there were several fantastic artists there, including William Hessian and Kenny Cole.  Some wonderful work was created today, along with other pieces that were created at other draw-a-thons.  

Lisa Savage, of Code Pink Maine, talked about how the 3.4 billion dollars that that Maine has spent on the war since its beginning would be enough to provide every incoming Freshman in the UMS System, with full tuition for 21 years.  To me, this seems like a good way to spend all of that money that is being used to destroy another country.  

Perhaps my favorite moment of the day was when Tom Sturtevant tried to introduce me to Richard again, who is one of the VFP members that I have formed a close bond with.  

Although I did not create any art today, it was wonderful to be around such creative spirit, and besides, if all goes according to plan, I will have the opportunity to create art on Sunday at Peace, Love and Musicfest. 

Well I am completely exhausted, and am having a hard time forming coherent thoughts, so I will try to update this tomorrow but no promises. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hey Obama Listen to Me, Bradley Manning must be set free.

The bus that Lisa and I were on was the last bus to leave Union Station, so we were the last people to get there, and everyone was incredibly anxious to get off the bus. 

Daniel Ellsberg was here, and so was Ann Wright, and I recognized a bunch of other people from the protest the day before, and some people from the convention this summer.   

At the beginning there were people pacing up and down the road with signs getting people’s attention.
When I got there, I learned just how intense Code Pink is about their protesting, and their costumes.  They were putting people into Prison Costumes, and Guantanamo costumes, and then it seemed like we took pictures forever, but in reality, I’m sure it was only about 15 or 20 minutes.  They also had tons of props, they were handing out signs, pink whistles, and they even had a “prison” for us to stand behind during the march, and for some of the pictures.  

Eventually Lisa stripped down to her “Bradley Manning” suit which consisted of pale pink leggings and shirt, and a pair of white undies. 

Someone walked by, and then left, and one of the code pink ladies said “This is important you need to stay here and learn”

Someone yelled traitor, and someone yelled “I would do this for you”

There were so many people taking drive by photos.

There was a camera man and a reporter standing by the road asking people what they thought about Bradley Manning, then someone drove by and told us off, and the two camera men yelled “let’s go ask him” and then took off.  

Two men told me I wasn’t Bradley Manning because I was wearing clothes.  Suggested that we get a bunch of people in their underwear with the “I am Bradley Manning” signs. 

There were two men in Guantanamo suits sitting on the side of the road with their heads covered

The protest started off very casual, and stayed so for the first couple of hours, and then it got intense once the march began.

People went through the barriers after Vets weren’t allowed to put flowers on the Iwo Jima memorial. People were yelling and moving, and it was super intense.

Ann Wright and Daniel Ellsberg were the people who really started the sit in.  They were under a whistle blower torture zone sign that they ended up sitting under.  From what I understand, at first we were told that we would all be able to place a flower on the Iwo Jima memorial, and then it was knocked down to a delegation of five, and then they were told they could just toss the flowers over the fence.  So they placed them down, and then sat down in the middle of the road. 

There was one point in time where the protesters and the riot police met in the middle of the street, and the swat guys started pushing them back, with what seemed to me, unnecessary force.

There were at least 50 to 60 cops, about half of them had riot shields, some were mounted, some were completely covered and had big guns, and then there were some other ones.  Also, there were some “undercover”

People were putting Courage to Resist stickers on the riot shields. One cop got mad, and kind moved his shield when someone tried to put hers on there, and almost hit her in the face.

There were two undercover cops who were completely obvious  

The song that most people were singing was “We Shall Not be Moved”

Some of the major chants, that were lead by a marine who I’m guessing was about 5 years older than me, were
“Hey Obama listen to me, Bradley Manning must be free”
“Hey Obama listen to me, Torturing Bradley is not ok”
“Show me what a police state looks like”
“Show me what a democracy looks like”
“whose streets? Our streets!”

It seemed like there was quite a bit of press there for the entire thing.  Although I am sure that most of it was alternative press, but I did end up on CNN

I also think someone was live-streaming with their computer, they had it open with a webcam, which made me concerned for their computer because there was a great deal of movement going on for

For me the protest was extremely emotional, knowing that he was there.  Lisa and I thought that the people in charge of Quantico figured out just how close people had to be for Bradley to hear us, and then wouldn’t let us beyond that point.  Lisa and I had to leave around 4 to go back into the city, and I did not want to leave everyone, but I was comforted by the fact there were several civil disobedience “vets” there that knew what to do. 

It seemed as though for the last hour or so of the protest, the whistles that we had were being blown constantly, and I remember getting back on the bus with a major headache, and just feeling completely overwhelmed by what I had experienced. 

Later that evening, when I went to upload all of my pictures of the day, when facebook took me to the page where it gives you the option to tag your friends, all of the pictures that facebook wanted me to tag where of his face, which I felt was interesting, and hilarious.  

Friday, March 25, 2011

No Justice, No Peace, US out of the Middle East

I know that I am the worst at updating this, but here are some snippets of my write up about Saturday's protest 
Spring Lobby Weekend, Saturday
Arriving at 11:30 am, everyone is gathered in the park across the street from the White House, and the Code Pink Ladies are there singing a song on stage.  Jade and I split up, and I ran into Mark and Bruce, where we chatted about last night, and what was going to go today. 

After about half an hour, I walked around snapping some pictures, and the usual types of people were there.  I saw some people from Courage to Resist, some people from World Can’t Wait, and tons of VFP and IVAW members. 

Eventually Mark found me, and we went to the sidewalk in front of the White House, and unfurled the Bring Our War $$ Home banner, and everyone was stopping to take pictures of us, and one woman, probably about my age,  even wanted to get her picture taken with us, which I thought was super interesting.
There were quite a few younger people there, there were these two teenagers sitting in front of the stage for the speakers, and they painted their fingers purple for when they would flash the peace sign.  Daniel Ellsberg spoke, which was interesting, and he talked about Bradley Manning and how someday he would be revered as much as DE is now. 

Chris Hedges talked about the moral compass of Christianity and how a Christian soldier is damned, not for killing someone, but for sleeping with a prostitute, and how that is so wrong.  He also talk about

Then the march around the square started, which was an interesting experience, it seemed like quite a few of the cars who were parked along the side of the street that we were marching on were irritated with us because they had to wait.  While we were walking along the backside of the park, someone drove by with a Wikileaks van, and tons of people ran up to try and get their picture taken with it, including quite a few of the Code Pink ladies.  The van was pretty awesome, and on the back it said Free Bradley Manning.  There was one guy from Texas, who cut in front of us, and said that he wasn’t going to wait for all of us to pass before he could pull out. I was surprised he didn’t hit any of us. 

When we got back for the protest part, Jade and I got out of the line of people who were going to be behind the barricade, and we were in the front row, snapping pictures like crazy, when someone told me to just climb over, and that I would be fine as long as I listened for the warnings,  so I got up on the wall with Mark and Bruce and it was pretty awesome.  They watched out for me, and made sure that I left at the right time to make sure that I wouldn’t be arrested.  So I was on the white house wall for probably 15 or 20 minutes yelling and chanting, and it was AWESOME. I eventually got down after warning number two, and found Jade where we managed to maneuver ourselves into a nice front row seat to the arrests that were beginning to take place.  There were more people who were there as supporters, and quite a few of them were younger people, and they had drums, and tons of chants.  The most memorable ones were
·         Money for school and education, not war and occupation
·         Libya is the new Iraq, what do we do? Fight back
·         No Justice, No peace, US out of the Middle East 
The first person that they arrested was a middle aged woman, and when they brought her behind their white screening vans, she fell on the ground, and was screaming for ten minutes, and it was terrifying, because we had no idea what was happening to her.  Then all of a sudden, one of the men to the left of us, about ten feet down, kicked some of the barriers up, and I almost had a panic attack at the thought of the crowd rushing forward.  But luckily that did not happen, and the police came up to him, and told him that if he did it again that he would be arrested, and he did not do it again thankfully.  

The crowd began chanting “You should be ashamed” after about a minute of the woman screaming, and there was one of the police officers, it was the younger African-American one stood there, subtly nodding his head at us, which was interesting, because all of the other 20 or 25 cops that were there were giving us dirty looks, and one of the woman on the horses was even texting for most of the time (Which goes to show that they know that they don't have to worry about us going crazy).  At one point, two of the younger male cops who were in the arrest area, got right up in the faces of one guy, and their supervisor I guess had to come and tell them to back off.  It was clear that they were super uncomfortable with us and with our presence there because we did not let up on them at all.  

Every time someone was arrested, there was tons of cheering of support, we were super loud for Bruce, Mark and Lisa 

One woman yelled “Don’t’ arrest Santa Claus” (Sadly this was not in reference in to Bruce)

The protest was an interesting atmosphere, it was tense at times, fun and lighthearted at others, but it was an amazing experience that I will never forget. 
I'll update soon about the Bradley Manning Rally I also attended.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Really America? I thought you were a bit better than this.

Because it is one am and I apparently lack the ability to sleep like any normal human being, here I am, updating my blog, and working on proofreading some interviews for my research project that I'm working on with Kristina and Dovey.  

I went to a meeting on Saturday with Lisa about the economic rights for Mainers, in this time where people are forced to choose between putting food on the table, and paying rent.  Or in the case of my town, paying their mortgages. 

But when I got home, I was shocked to hear about the assassination attempt on Gabby Giffords and then to see the photo on Sarah Palin's facebook page where people who agreed with Obama's healthcare bill were "targeted" in crosshares of some form of a weapon.  This disgusted me.  Have we honestly stooped so low as a country that we are willing to simply shoot someone who we disagree with? And to have political figures, such as Sarah Palin be supporting a graphic such as the one below...

makes me even more concerned than I already am for the future of our country.  I honestly do not know even where to start on this subject, of Sarah Palin, the dangerously violent political climate, which can clearly be attributed to militarism, and how our elected officials turn to violence often when other countries disagree with us, which we then hear about in the media, which is a major tool of socialization, and people often think that violence is a legitimate form of problem solving, when in reality, this man's actions did not solve anything, it simply ended with six people dead, including a judge, and a nine year old girl, and many other people wounded in critical condition. 

Although this event is incredibly tragic, perhaps it will spark something in the people of the United States, and they will realize that we are becoming incredibly polarized as a nation,and will work to become united, because I know people can work together while still disagreeing on many topics.  Due to the polarization, people are turning to violence and hatred to get their ideas across, and this is something that we know does not work.   

If this young man (whose name I cannot even recall) had turned his thoughts into a constructive letter to Mrs. Giffords, or even spoke to her at her congress on your corner event she was having, he would have been closer to achieving some form of social change.