OPINION | Standing for peace: Celebrating 15 years of the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge peace vigil

It was in the spring of 1999, in response to the U.S. bombing of Yugoslavia, that members of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM), Veterans for Peace, Friends for a Nonviolent World, the Twin Cities Campaign to End Sanctions (on Iraq) and a number of local faith communities started the weekly vigil on the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge spanning the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul that continues to this day. At the time, we gathered in solidarity with people in Yugoslavia who were standing on their bridges in the belief that the United States would not intentionally kill large numbers of civilians.The WAMM End War Committee has been committed to this vigil for these many years because we believe it is important to have an ongoing public witness against war. Though our numbers may be small at times, we gather on the bridge every Wednesday to remind ourselves and others that the United States is at war and that we must speak out against the atrocities that our country commits in the name of “our national security.” It is also an opportunity to stop, for a short time each week, to remind ourselves of the plight of the people, especially children, who live with the suffering and deprivation that war brings and to join together to say “War is not the answer.”For several years, the vigil focused on opposing the sanctions on Iraq and the wars on and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, but vigilers have frequently raised their voices relative to other issues: threats of war against Iran, North Korea, Libya, Mali and Syria; torture; attacks on civil liberties; and U.S. support for the occupation of Palestine, calling on our government to fund human needs, not war. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | It’s Time to Go To Washington!

A group of twenty-five Minnesotans have decided that “it is time to go to Washington” to press for a complete end to the U.S. wars and military presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and an end to U.S. support for Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases.  The group, composed of members of local peace groups, including Women Against Military Madness, Veterans for Peace, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Pax Christi, and AlliantAction, and delegates of groups from Le Sueur, Grand Rapids, Center City, and Red Wing, will join others from around the country to participate in the Days of Nonviolent Resistance in Washington DC organized by Voices for Creative Nonviolence. The delegation believes the Days of Nonviolent Resistance, which extend from January 19 through February 2, come at an opportune time to speak out against the Iraq and Afghan wars and occupations and their continued funding, because it is during this time that the President will give his first State of the Union address, and he will submit his budget for FY2011. The Minnesotan delegation chose January 26 and 27 as the dates they will participate in lobbying, legal protest and nonviolent civil disobedience. The delegation believes that it is imperative that Americans speak out about the issue of “unending wars” at this time. Continue Reading