[pjw] REPORT BACK: Friday rally #2 under stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Apr 4 15:42:41 EDT 2020

Hi again peace loving individuals

First I'd like to thank the several folks who wrote back with positive 
words about the report back from last week's Friday rally. We know not 
everyone can-- or should-- be out there but we're doing our best to keep 
the important war and peace issues in the public eye.

Secondly, Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, which started and 
maintained the rallies since Nov. 2001, suspended its sponsorship as of 
April 1, with a note published here:


It concludes, "PPRC recognizes that there are individuals who wish to 
continue to be a presence on Fridays at Pioneer Courthouse Square to 
demonstrate for peace and justice. In suspending PPRC's participation as 
host, the organization relinquishes all authority for decisions regarding 
these gatherings. These decisions will rest entirely with the participants 
themselves; this has already been the de facto practice for many years."

Now, on to last night's event.

Despite the shift in responsibility from PPRC to PJW, I was the only PJW 
rep able to make it last night, but three PPRC stalwarts joined too, two 
of them in face masks.

We again stayed "socially distant," did not offer fact sheets except those 
in a distribution rack on the peace wagon, and got our exercise by walking 
around downtown with our signs.

We talked about a number of issues including the fact that the health care 
and social safety net shortages facing the country could easily be 
remedied by shifting money from the bloated military budget.

I talked about an important initiative we floated at Portland Copwatch 
which I hope you will share with folks you know: PCW is encouraging anyone 
who is given a warning, citation or arrested by police for violations of 
the stay-at-home order to contact the Copwatch incident report line at 
503-321-5120 (voicemail or text). It's of great concern that if (or when?) 
the police start enforcing the order that the first to be picked out will 
be from vulnerable populations-- people of color and houseless folks in 

There were even fewer people downtown than last week, though we did get 
several thumbs ups from pedestrians and motorists again. Trains and buses 
were fairly empty. Several of us spoke with a man who for the second week 
in a row came up to praise President Trump, telling us Trump was going to 
end all the wars. He didn't really have good answers to whether that meant 
the US would close its embassy in Iraq, include the Afghan government in 
talks with the Taliban, stop "protecting" Syria's oil wells, or why two of 
Trump's only three vetoes have been to stop Congress from limiting US 
support for the war in Yemen. It may surprise you that the man who was 
talking to us is African American, and is convinced that Trump's policies 
(including referring to COIVD-19 as the "China Virus" and shutting down 
immigration) are not racist.

PJW's plan is still for us to have no more than two of our own people at 
the Square. There are now two people other than me who are able to make it 
when needed, I will let you know if we need to recruit anyone else. For 
now keeping it small is important, but keeping it going is too.

--dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

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