[pjw] REPORT BACK: "Call Out for Justice: End the Wars" gets the message out

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Mon Oct 12 15:25:15 EDT 2015

Yesterday's "Call Out for Justice: End the Wars" march and rally was a 
successful and energetic event, connecting many issues and reaffirming 
there are people in Portland who want to see the 14 year long war in 
Afghanistan come to an end.

The rally began with a few biting lyrical songs from the Raging Grannies. 
Host Theresa Mitchell kept the information and energy going with her 
inimitable style as she uses on "Presswatch" each Thursday on KBOO. Sam 
Kahl, a Syrian American activist, talked about the big picture of US 
interests in Afghanistan, Syria, and the various theaters of chaos that 
allow global conflicts and economic issues to fester to the benefit of the 
few. Adrienne Cabouet of Black Lives Matter Portland connected police 
brutality to the oppressive economic system of the US.

One speaker, Jeri Jiminez, was unable to make the event but Theresa filled 
in the crowd on the importance of supporting women, sexual minorities, 
youth, immigrant and racial justice in the face of wars and other 

Mo Mack, local balladeer, sang a song for peace to split up the speakers' 
program with meaningful music.

Alyssa Pagan, a PSU student and transgender woman of color, talked about 
the arming of PSU security guards, economic justice (she works with 15 
Now, which is pushing to raise the minimum wage) and more. Closing out the 
program was Ary LaVallee, an Iraq War Veteran who works on environmental 
justice, challenging the crowd to think about what oppressed people might 
have to do in the worst of circumstances.

The march then headed out down Salmon St, stopping at Central Precinct to 
chant against police racism, and that "black lives matter." At this point 
I was co-leading the chants with Rob Ranta or Portland Peaceful Response
Coalition and took a second to note that while getting a permit is not 
necessarily something we agree with philosophically in all cases, it is 
amusing to be chanting "no justice, no peace, no racist police" and have 
police escorting us rather than pepper spraying us.

We stopped again at the World Trade Center and chanted about "money for 
jobs and education, not for war and corporations!" As we passed the 
Pioneer Place Mall on 4th Ave, the chant rose up "while you're shopping, 
bombs are dropping," which came in handy again when we passed Saturday 
Market on 2nd Ave.

At Right 2 Dream Too, we stepped off Burnside for about 5 minutes to thank 
the homeless rest area for their organizing in the face of those who want 
to shut them down, and a few residents took to the microphone to talk 
about concerns including police sweeps. "Housekeys, not handcuffs" 
reverberated even when we left to head up to Broadway.

There, we stopped at Pioneer Courthouse Square (where a Cider Fest was 
underway)-- an unplanned stop that the police didn't even blink about 
accommodating. We chanted about stopping the war and reminded everyone that 
PPRC has held a Friday Rally at 5 PM at the square for nearly 14 years 

As we got back to Shemanski Park, LoveBomb Go-Go swept up to the front of 
the march and led us back into the park for a half hour of horn-and-drum 
driven marching band music with messages of intergalactic peace (that's 
their thing!).

You can see media coverage at the event page:
including a story on KGW-TV that- gasp- talked about the bombing of the 
Afghan hospital last week and generally was a positive story for the 
corporate news. Direct link:
There are also links to a livestream of nearly the entire event from 
Mungen Cakes.

About 10 of the 44 groups involved had tables in the park, sharing info 
with some of the 150 or so folks who came to be with us throughout the 
3-hour event.

And while that number may seem small in some ways, in the year and a half 
since the US military buildup in Iraq (and subsequent bombings of Iraq and 
Syria), the largest event to protest ongoing and threatened military 
action has had just 30 people at it-- so this was a 500% increase. 
Considering that the planning committee pulled this together in about 7 
weeks rather than the usual 3-4 months, I feel it was a success. Could we 
have had a bigger crowd, more people of color (especially given that none 
of our stage presenters were straight white males), more media coverage 
and other improvements? Sure, these are things to think about for the next 

There are too many people to thank to do it properly here, but we had a 
great planning committee, set-up & clean-up crew, stage management and 
sound team, peacekeepers/march leaders, and folks who helped get the word 
out with leaflets, flyers, posters, on KBOO and on social media.

As I mentioned at the stop at Central Precinct, this was a great coming 
together of issues for Peace and Justice Works, as we initiated work on 
police accountability as a peace issue in 1992-- but this was the first 
major event to make that connection.

OK, thanks again to everyone who showed up and everyone for their work.
dan h
Peace and Justice Works
   Iraq Affinity Group
   PO Box 42456
   Portland, OR   97242
   (503) 236-3065  (Office)
   iraq at pjw.info

More information about the pjw-list mailing list