[pjw] REPORT BACK: 1 year on-- Friday rally #53 under stay-at-home orders
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Sat Mar 27 16:31:21 EDT 2021
Hi again PJW supporters
It was one year ago today that Peace and Justice Works took over
sponsorship of the Friday rallies for peace and justice. I checked back to
the report-back from that first week, when two of us met up at the corner
of Pioneer Courthouse Square to make sure this tradition would keep going,
and have pasted in excerpts below.
At the rally last night, I noted the one year anniversary since Portland
Peaceful Response Coalition stopped organizing due to COVID concerns.
There were four of us at the rally, masked up and distanced, and three of
Once again there was a lot of support, in the forms of honking horns,
thumbs-up, peace signs and verbal thanks. With Multnomah County back in
the "moderate risk" category, improving weather and more daylight, we're
seeing a lot more pedestrians and traffic.
The first two updates on international affairs centered around President
Biden's first news conference, where he:
--said that China should not be allowed to lead the world. Well, nobody
said the US should lead the world either, in fact no country should "lead"
the world, and it's certainly not up to America to decide that.
I also noted that the ratcheting up of tensions with China is a
continuation of the Trump presidency, including US military craft entering
disputed waters, surrounding China with military bases, and leaving in
place most of the tariff's Trump put in place.
--claimed that the US will have a hard time pulling troops out of
Afghanistan by the May 1 deadline, but said he doesn't envision troops
staying past the end of 2021.
It is well worth noting that the Taliban and other militant actors in
Afghanistan are likely to increase attacks on US troops if they don't
leave when they said they would.
Meanwhile, in other news:
--Biden is planning talks with Iraq about withdrawing more US troops,
though I would not be surprised if these talks end with a contingent of
250-1000 Americans staying to occupy the nation.
--43 Senators urged Biden to take a tough stance on Iran including 13
Democrats... one of whom was Oregon's Ron Wyden. The news story I read
leading me to the letter implied they were saying not to rejoin the Iran
nuclear deal (which Trump pulled out of), but the text itself says the
signers have various views on that matter.
In local news, I talked about how the US Department of Justice made a
presentation to an advisory committee Tuesday where they expressed a
desire for the City to explain how they plan to get back into compliance
with the now 8-year-old Settlement Agreement about use of force. The
Bureau representative stubbornly said the City doesn't have to present a
plan. The DOJ threatened to ask the federal judge overseeing the case to
wield his "hammer" to force the City to comply.
Along the march route, at the corner where we talk Israel-Palestine issues
each week, I noted that human rights groups have petitioned Israel's high
court to demand that Israel provide COVID vaccines to people in the
occupied territories (as opposed to, I said, offering them to other
countries or throwing them out, as we've reported on in the past months).
When we got to the "money for human needs, not war" area of the march, I
gave an update that Mayor Wheeler has been unable to get four members of
Council to agree to add $2 million to the police budget on an emergency
basis to, essentially, re-establish the Gun Violence Reduction Team.
However, Commissioner Mingus Mapps used the rare "four-fifths" maneuver to
put an item on this last week's agenda to add Juneteenth as a paid holiday
for 911 workers-- people who are represented by the Portland Police
Association. Because that item was added to the agenda at 4 PM on a
Tuesday, nobody from the public was allowed to sign up and testify on it.
That info all came from my and others' observations in the police
accountability movement, so there's no link to provide. The 4/5ths agenda
item isn't yet posted to the Council archives. I see no reason to have
called this an "emergency," except if they were trying to test-run how to
shut the public out of testifying on an ordinance.
I had also meant to repeat something I said on a conference call on
Thursday, but forgot probably because I had already said it out loud. The
shooting in Boulder makes me very nervous as it appears to have been
committed by a Syrian American man with mental health issues, meaning
there will likely be backlash against both communities. As with the
victims of the racist shootings in Georgia, we need to stand in solidarity
with those communities to ensure people don't continue guilt by
association, bias-based attacks.
The Ann Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign lasted about 1/2 block longer this
week than in the last few weeks, once again freezing up outside the new
Gucci store at Pioneer Place Mall, then shutting off around the corner on
Here's the promised excerpt from last year's first PJW-sponsored rally:
Date: Sat, 28 Mar 2020 15:00:18
From: Peace and Justice Works <pjw at pjw.info>
Subject: REPORT BACK on first Friday "rally" in the stay-at-home era
Two PJW members met up at the regular corner of Pioneer Courthouse
Square, held signs, did not use a bullhorn, offered information in a
literature rack attached to our "little green wagon of peace," and
stayed six feet apart from one another and from passers-by.
The result was a very low-key "Friday rally" which got visibility to the
very sparse traffic, public transit and pedestrians, with several
supportive responses (and, I think, one young man who flipped us off).
<snip> [We] then headed out to get some exercise by walking around
downtown with our signs.
We thanked PPRC for starting the rallies back in November 2001 and
holding down the corner for so long, and PJW members for being
supportive of the modified, hanging out with our wagon six feet apart in
the park version that we will try to maintain for as long as possible.**
[**-- the footnote here recognized that if we kept going till Dec. 25,
2020 that would be the 1000th Friday rally, which, you know, happened.]
Even though we did not have any notable dialogue with folks and nobody
took our fact sheets, it felt really spiritually important to continue
calling for an end to the endless wars in the midst of an upside-down
So thanks to everyone who's been part of this year of unusual protests. We
hope that those who are able and comfortable will consider joining us
either as a one-off or on a regular basis. One of the current regulars
expressed that he'd like to see folks who used to rally with us drive by
and wave hello sometime...
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
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