[pjw] REPORT BACK: Friday rally #1000! (#40 under stay-at-home orders)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Dec 26 13:49:10 EST 2020

Hello supporters of peace on earth

We lucked out weatherwise to celebrate the 1000th Friday Rally for Peace 
and Justice last night-- there was no rain at all during the entire event. 
While we had several compliments on the promo video (which got 45 
views, pretty much viral for PJW!) and "wish I could make it" emails, 
there was just one Peace and Justice Works member who hadn't been to the 
rally in ages who attended, bringing the total attendance to 5 people on 
the rally and march.

There were a considerable number of people out and about for a holiday. 
Quite a few stopped to talk to us, including a military veteran we ran 
across on the march who expressed his opposition to the wars in Iraq and 
Afghanistan, a curious out-of-town couple, and someone who took a piece of 
literature from the peace wagon. We also got honking horns of support and 
appreciative comments from passers-by.

In the rally announcements I focused on the history of the event, which 
started in November 2001, about a week after the US invasion of 
Afghanistan. Portland Peaceful Response Coalition hosted the event from 
then until late March 2020, when PJW took over hosting responsibilities 
under COVID. I noted that PJW had cosponsored the rally many times before 
then, I counted no less than 23 times in the decade before we became the 


(I found another 9 listed in the older archives that we co-hosted 

http://pjw.info/pjwarchive2001_2010.html )

And that just represents the ones we listed on our website. For the record 
I may search our email history to find a complete list.

I also relayed the story about how people had sworn at us and told us to 
get away from their children at Friday rallies during the "holiday tree" 
events even though our goal is to seek peace on earth.

We then talked about some of the current news about peace and justice 
issues globally and locally.

--The US keeps ratcheting up tensions with Iran, threatening to retaliate 
for rocket attacks at the (world's largest) US embassy in Baghdad that 
took place last week.


--Though Trump clearly deflects any criticism of Russia, the US war 
machine also wants to head back to a new Cold War by fearmongering about 
the alleged Russian hack of US government websites, with no evidence of 
who did it (Trump blames China, similarly, with no evidence):


--As noted the other day, Trump pardoned four war criminal mercenaries who 
killed Iraqi civilians and had been convicted. Here's a different story 
which talks of how this strained US-Iraqi relations:


--For some of the wrong reasons, Trump has vetoed the National Defense 
Authorization Act, likely to lead to the first over-ride of a veto (of 
less than 10) of his presidency. He objected to the renaming of 
Confederate-honoring military bases and failure to end protections for 
internet companies, but also to be fair the limitations on withdrawing 
troops from Afghanistan. Congress being able to declare war shouldn't also 
have them dragging those wars on forever.


--And while perhaps millions of Americans could lose their homes, 
unemployment income and other protections, Trump threatened to veto the 
COVID relief bill.


(UPDATE: As of 10:30 AM he still has not signed the bill and the deadline 
is today).

--Locally, the Portland Police, who shot at 6 people in 2019, had only 
been involved in one officer involved shooting in 2020-- until Christmas 
eve when an officer shot at a truck that rammed their patrol car (and 
maybe hit the officer too?):


As with the previous incident, it appears the officer's bullet did not hit 
anyone. This was the 33rd deadly force incident involving law enforcement 
in Oregon this year (including a US Marshal shooting a man in Portland 
earlier this  month:


This means that despite the pandemic, such incidents have not subsided 
much below the 35 from 2019.

Along the route, I relayed a story from one of the rally-goers about how 
COVID vaccines are being given to (illegal) Israeli settlers but not 


Then as we were returning to the Square, talking about money for human 
needs not war I noted that the state legislature had passed COVID relief 
earlier this week, no thanks to dozens of armed and angry right-wing 
protestors who clashed with police (with far less consequence than 
unarmed Black Lives Matter protestors in Portland).


As we came to that last leg, we walked past the Apple Store, which has 
painted over all the plywood on their giant glass walls with deep black 
paint, and an insincere message that they support the movement for Black 
lives. I'd seen this on the news but there was no picture of the complete 
absence of murals; if I find an image of the blank canvas I'll send it.


As part of the rally I also made announcements of upcoming events, 
including two specially themed Friday rallies (and note, the January 8 
event starts early at 4:30 PM):

Friday, January 8, 4:30 PM Friday Rally (early start time):
   "No More Excuses: Shut Down Guantanamo!"

Tuesday, January 12, 7:00 PM streaming event on YouTube:
   "Illustrating Imprisonment: Sarah Mirk Presents 'Guantanamo Voices'"

Friday, January 15, 5 PM Friday Rally:
   "30 Years Too Long: US Out of Iraq"
   marking 30 years since the start of the "Gulf War."

This week, once again the Ann Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign stayed on 
until the middle of the block between 4th/5th on Yamhill, the south side 
of mall. As we walked away from the Square to return the equipment to the 
car, the sign popped back on again and stayed on along that whole same 
block. Who knows what's going on.

That's the report for the big anniversary bash and spiritually uplifting 
weekly event. Please join us when you can!

--dan handelman
Peace and Justice Works
    Iraq Affinity Group
    PO Box 42456
    Portland, OR   97242
    (503) 236-3065
    iraq at pjw.info
    Donate on line: http://www.pjw.info/pjwdonate.html

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