Florida State Wide Actions in March

Upcoming Events:
Bartow, FL
5 Years Peace Vgil- 03/19
Big Pine Key, FL
5th Anniversary of the Iraq War Vigil- 03/19
Boca Raton, FL
Eyes Wide Open Exhibit - 3/18/08- 03/18
Brooksville, FL
5 Year Iraq War Action- 03/19
Daytona Beach, FL
5 Year Anti-War Demonstration Against the Iraq Occupation- 03/19
Deerfield Beach, FL
Deerfield Vigil- 03/15
Delray Beach, FL
Stand Where You Are- 03/19
Delray Beach, FL
"5 Years Too Many" Vigil Against the War- 03/19
Doral, FL
Witness to Human Cost of US Occupation- 03/19
Gainesville, FL
5th Anniversary of the War- 03/19
Jacksonville, FL
Walk Through the Parks- 03/16
Melbourne, FL
5 Years Too Long- 03/19
Miami Beach, FL
Arlington South Beach: Honor the Fallen- 03/19
Miami Beach, FL
Arlington South Beach: Honor the Fallen- 03/15
Naples, FL
5th anniversary invasion of Iraq- 03/19
Ocala, FL
Vigil to mourn 5 years of war- 03/19
Sunset Vigil- 03/19
Orlando, FL
All out against the War- 03/20
Orlando, FL
CODEPINK "Walk in their shoes" Exhibit- 03/20
Pensacola, FL
Protest 5 Years of War- 03/19
Port Charlotte, FL
OUT OF IRAQ- 03/19
Sanibel., FL
Silent Peace Vigil- 03/19
Sarasota, FL
5 Years Too Many- 03/19
Satellite Beach, FL
South, FL
Stand where you are- 03/19
St. Augustine, FL
Anti-War Protest and Street Theater- 03/15
St. Augustine, FL
5 Years Too Many Protest & Vigil- 03/19
Tallahassee, FL
Reading of the Names and Candle Light Vigil- 03/19
Tallahassee, FL
5 Years TOO Many- 03/19 Hosted By CodePINK Tallahassee & Tallahassee Network for Justice and Peace
Tampa, FL
5 Year Iraq War Action- 03/19
Wellington, FL
5 Years Too Many, No More Wars- 03/19
Your Town!, FL
Stand where you are- 03/19

Nelson for Vice President?

Vice President Bill Nelson?
Sen. Nelson says that decision
would have to come this summer.
Watch the interview

Bill Nelson a vice president candidate?
Saturday, February 23, 2008

Vice President Bill Nelson? Sen. Nelson says that decision would have to come this summer.
(AP) -- Florida Senator Bill Nelson says he would consider the Number two job in Washington. The two-term Democratic lawmaker is traveling the state while the Senate is on a short recess. He fielded questions from about 65 people in DeLand Thursday, including one about whether he would consider being a vice presidential candidate. Nelson laughed and noted that decision would have to come after the Democratic National Convention in August.

Nelson also spoke to Bay News 9's Al Ruechel and Howard Troxler from the St. Petersburg Times about the VP possibility. That interview will be broadcast Sunday at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Political Connections. He noted the importance of winning Florida if a candidate is going to win the presidency. Watch the interview

Counter-Protesters 101

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster." ~ Nietzsche

If we want our leaders to be ambassadors of peace then we must take the lead and be role models. Role Model Peaceful behavior prior to, during and after the action! On September 15th 2007 the Iraq Veterans Against the War led a 100,000 strong march of anti-war protesters from the White House to the Capitol building. They were supported by the Veterans for Peace. Along the way the marchers were harassed by a pro-war gathering. "Their own actions speak louder than words", watch this video and see if you don't agree: http://youtube.com/watch?v=YlbU5ubDy30 A classic CODEPINK video showing how we truly model peaceful behavior and encourage all to do the same!

And Words from Medea Benjamin:
Be nice. Take the high road. Give peace signs. Blow kisses. Don’t yell.

The Gathering of Eagles [GOE], Rolling Thunder and other groups can and will do many things to try and upset a peaceful action but they look like total fools with their bulging eyeballs and their mouths screaming obscenities at beautiful smiling [pink] women and men who are emitting love, peace and tolerance.

So who are these counter-protester people? Well, I suspect that many of them are white supremacists. In this video the guy actually says "like one guy at OUR Nazi's march" so This video is only 3 minutes and it is very weird listening to a KKK talk about how to handle the hippies at a march. The Nazi comment is at the 1:45 mark. http://youtube.com/watch?v=mUD9RTtmkyM&mode=related&search

Prior to Oct 27, 2007 in Orlando*, we held three trainings regarding non-violent action and peace-keeping, one conference call, one meeting centrally located and one meeting at the University of Central Florida for the many students who were planning on attending our rally and march. We also sent emails to all 85 groups involved and hardly any one on our side of the barricades acted out or was aggressive. We also had Peace-Keepers walking throughout the march. These trainings proved to be very important and effective.

Are you expecting counter-protesters at your event? Let the media know that many of these Pro-War folks are very nasty and have specifically targeted CODEPINK and FRIENDS (Quakers) in recent months in many cities around the country. They have screamed and cursed at us, ripped up peace signs and photos of our loved ones who have died in Iraq, even spit on the Veterans for Peace. Let them and everyone know that you intend to show the world a different way to protest! Let the media know that you will not engage these people in argument or word-slinging, that you respect their right to be there and will only act in a peaceful and powerful way to lift up your voices and Stop the War NOW. It's imperative for you to encourage the media to be responsible and get this message out BEFORE your event!


Invite everyone to join your group including the Clowns (especially the clowns!), artists, anarchist, activists and green groups to creatively and nonviolently confront these Pro-War supporters. Invite Artists to bring chalk and fill the sidewalks with Peace talk and to be part of your banner making, costumes and any other creative visuals you plan on relating to the war.

And don't forget street theater groups! Below is a part of an article about the "Bride Power" clowns that performed at the Nazi rally in Tennessee. Take a look and see if your group has any inspirations for a similar type of public response to the "Gathering of Eagles" or whoever is planning on crashing your party. From http://asheville./indymedia.org/article/107Clowns:

  • White Power! the Nazi's shouted, White Flour? the clowns yelled back running in circles throwing flour in the air and raising separate letters which spelt White Flour
  • White Power! the Nazi's angrily shouted once more, White flowers? the clowns cheers and threw white flowers in the air and danced about merrily.
  • White Power! the Nazi's tried once again in a doomed and somewhat funny attempt to clarify their message, ohhhhhh! the clowns yelled Tight Shower! and held a solar shower in the air and all tried to crowd under to get clean as per the Klan’s directions.
  • At this point several of the Nazi's and Klan members began clutching their hearts as if they were about to have a heart attack. Their beady eyes bulged, and the veins in their tiny narrow foreheads beat in rage. One last time they screamed White Power!
  • The clown women thought they finally understood what the Klan was trying to say. Ohhhhh... the women clowns said. Now we understand...
  • WIFE POWER! they lifted the letters up in the air, grabbed the nearest male clowns and lifted them in their arms and ran about merrily chanting WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER!

On Friday September 14th, the evening before a mass anti-war mobilization in Washington DC, the Rolling Thunder pro-war motorcycle veterans showed up at the CODEPINK house IN DC. What began as threatening posturing, turned into an engaging dialog between the two groups who are political polar opposites. See Video below ~ CODEPINK DC ROCKS!

"Rolling Thunder" Pro-War Vets Group Visits CODEPINK at Home! http://codepinkdc.blogspot.com/2007/09/rolling-thunder-pro-war-vets-group.html

*For the Oct27 rally here in Orlando, the GEO announced that they would be coming out strong. Since we have so many retired and x military here in Florida, we were expecting 1,000 to 2,000 of them. On the day of the event, the 25 to 35 GOEs hung out on their corner but by the time the march reached that location, it was pouring down rain and they all looked like a bunch of drowned rats. We ignored them, literally and smiled at the cops in full riot gear, waiving our peace signs and telling them "thank you" for keeping the peace. It was almost a let down for some but not for me. A beautiful march it was!

**It's doubley important!

For Tampa Pinks--check out the new MySpace page..

...for St. Pete for Peace.
On it there is a flyer for March 19 PEACE ACTIONS in Tampa and Brooksville!
For more info and/or details, contact me here:
You can find us Tampa Pinks at the following listserv and MySpace profile page:
C U in the streets!

Peace Ribbon Project

If you have never seen the Peace Ribbon Project...

This panel was made for Cindy's son.

No More War for Oil!

No more murder of innocent human beings
Bring the Troops Home Now!
As we near 4,000 troops dead, consider making the trip to
see this beautiful and inspirational installation.

Ann Wright Book Tour in Florida by Lydia

CODEPINK Florida women Monica, Leslie, Deidra, Sheri, Lydia and 6 UCF women joined forces in putting together the most fantastic and fun book signing tour ever for the beloved Col. Ann Wright and her book "DISSENT - Voices of Conscience". Tons of Kudos also to Mike Fox, Jeannie Toth and Samm Simpson in the Tampa/Clearwater/ St. Petersburg area, Faith Fippenger in Sarasota, Michael Heaney for his contacts, Dr. Dennis Jett and Mabel at UF and John Bersia and Stephanie at UCF. Finally, a special thanks to Scott and Sherrie Camil, Veterans For Peace in Gainesville.

Here's what we did: Ann touched down in Sarasota on Thursday, Jan 24th. Ann remarked that it was the "geriatric flight" - cracked her up. Faith Fippenger, Monica Spain and I met her and headed home to meet Marco Bell of Marco and Monica/CODEPINK Sarasota. Monica was the point person for the Sarasota News and Books event later that evening. Ann was introduced by Arnie Schmidz from the Southwest Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice. She gave the most wonderful talk. She autographed books at every event which was really special for all who attended. After a great talk we headed up the street to a wonderful Two Senoritas Restaurant, compliments of the CODEPINK Sarasota women (there were, by the way, a number of them at the event - you know who you are :-D)

We were up early, had a wonderful breakfast and Ann started her radio interviews. There were many, many radio interviews. Some in the car, some at homes, one in a fancy pancy resort parking lot in South Florida area and even in offices outside of speaking engagements. It was amazing to see how she juggled all of those calls. Early Friday, Marco got us packed, ready and off we went to meet Deidra and her daughter in Orlando.

Our housing host was the amazing Leslie Klein, also CODEPINK Orlando. Deidra was the point person for Friday's events in Orlando. We landed at Leslie's awesome place first where we rested and got ready for a wonderful dinner at the Thai House Restaurant and the meal was just delicious. Deidra, her daughter and Sheri Heitker joined us along with retired military men and women from the Unitarian church. The Vietnam veterans shared lots of stories. Joseph R. DuRocher and his wife Rosemary related their experiences and feelings when Joe sent his Naval Aviator Wings and his shoulder boards to President Bush with his letter protesting the war in Iraq. Check Ann's web page at http://www.voicesofconscience/ for his letter. We were all glad to hear that the White House returned his honors intact with a letter of regret.

CODEPINK Orlando had also made arrangements for Ann to speak at the Universalist Unitarian Church in Orlando. We were met there by a new college CODEPINK group of women from the University of Central Florida. They supported the Friday night event at the church and also the following Tuesday afternoon event at UCF. This totally awesome group of young women will be at the CODEPINK House during the March actions. Ann's talk was great and she signed lots and lots of books there also.

We left Leslie's on Saturday morning to head back down south to meet Mike Fox and his awesome gang in the Tampa/Clearwater/ St. Pete area. We started with a well attended event on the University of South Florida campus. After about an hour of speaking and signing books Mike took us to their weekly protest across the street from the Veterans Hospital in Tampa. Lots of South Florida peacemaker activists were holding IMPEACH and Troops Out Now signs and banners. Mike had also arranged for a television interview with FOX NEWS and Ann was able to put the word out about her book at that action. We stayed for a while at the action, then headed to Jeannie Toth's home for a 2 night stay. Jeannie has completely remodeled this place, practically on her own, Ann and I couldn't believe it. Wonderful. Mike stayed close by and things ran smooth as silk.

We ate some chilli, washed up and headed to the First Unitarian Church to meet the amazing Samm Simpson. Samm introduced Ann but first the most amazing singer (he sang "Abraham, Martin and John") brought the mood of freedom into the room. Ann gave the most amazing talk that night. She talked about herself a little more on this talk - she is a true patriot and a real rabble rouser! Saturday was a really great day.Sunday we were up early for a event at The Beach Theater, an alternative movie theater in a funky part of town.

It was the weekend of the arts fair and the weather was fantastic, even a little cool, always breezy. We watched part of "Why We Fight" and then Ann spoke to a moderate crowd of really interested activists. Mostly older women this day. Ann signed books and met new admirers. We headed right out to a luncheon/fund raising event at Ferg's Restaurant. Again, Mike, Jeannie and Samm got a great group of heros and activists together. We had burgers, chicken, salad and drinks. Ann spoke for a short time and also got to do a newspaper interview with "Military Times" - a magazine that makes it to veterans everywhere.

"DISSENT - Voices of Conscience" will now be on the "reading list" in that paper - a major step toward getting to those folks who aren't "in the choir". Ann wants to get her message to everyone. Our day wasn't over then. Our next stop was a wonderful meal at Leo's Restaurant where Samm was able to join with supporters and once again introduce Ann to those who attended. It was a long day and a very busy weekend but we sold tons of books. Mike Fox and company put together a fantastic weekend and we had a wonderful time. It was a long day - the food was wonderful.

After hot showers and a good night's sleep we had a little time to just hang out with Jeannie on Monday morning. Ann started radio interviews, we had a good breakfast and then headed back up to Orlando to our hotel at the University of Central Florida. Ann did a couple of radio interviews on the way. My brain is so full of the most awesome talks and answers to questions. The University of Central Florida arranged for a beautiful room at the Raddison Hotel. We checked in, got organized and took off to meet the UCF CODEPINK women for dinner at Miss Saigon. Ann had wanted Vietnamese food and it was really good. It was great fun to get to know the UCF women better and talk more about their March `08 trip to the CODEPINK house in DC. We would see them again the next day on campus and cannot say enough good stuff about these awesome young women.

Ann had one more radio interview that evening and then we watch the final, last, end of it, finis, over, been there/done that, hasta la vista, don't let the door hit you in the ass State of the Union address by George W. Bush. Early Tuesday, the next morning, Ann met Dr. David Houghton downstairs in the Raddison restaurant for an extensive interview. Dr. Houghton also introduced Ann to the group at the UCF event later that afternoon. After the interview we went over to UCF to meet John Bersia and his office. Ann was introduced to Harriet L. Elam-Thomas who was Diplomat/Ambassador -in-Residence at UCF (2003-2005). Harriet was truly looking forward to meeting Ann and they had much to share with one another. It was really an honor to see these fantastic women who've paved the way years ahead of my time.

Soon after arriving John and his staff took us into downtown Orlando for a luncheon/forum with the Global Connections Foundation. They had their meeting, we had a nice lunch and Ann spoke briefly. After chatting and signing some books we were off once more for a talk at the University of Central Florida. We had a large student crowd and one very concerned war supporter. Ann spoke truth to power to his questions (we did have to finally say "Sir, do you have a question?" -he was going on and on and on.....) Ann mentioned she loves the conversations with those debaters and wished she had more time to talk with him. CODEPINK UCF was on the scene and Ann's talk was perfect for the student crowd.

After just over an hour we were out the door headed to the University of Florida in Gainesville. Thanks to Michael Heaney from UF who is currently working in DC, we were able to get Ann into The University of Florida. The event was sponsored by Dr. Dennis Jett and his staff at the School of International Studies . The event was well attended, mostly older activists and lots of Veterans For Peace/Gainesville. It was a wonderful talk followed by snacks and drinks. A great crowd gathered for the book signing. We took some great pictures and I will post a small slide show of the entire trip asap. We have some really fantastic pictures to share.

Next we began what was for me the most amazing and truly life affirming time of this trip. Scott and Sherrie Camil met us just outside of the University of Florida event and guided us onto the campus for Ann's talk. Scott Camil has written books, done numerous interviews and shares his story about being a Marine in Vietnam in "Winter Soldier". After the event at UF we followed Scott (at break speed by the way :-D) out to Scott and Sherrie's place. Our final night in Florida was truly activist affirming. We were welcomed with open arms by local VFP and IVAW members and their spouses. The house rambles on and on and each room is a testament to the history of the anti-war movement beginning back in the 1970's. From that time to this day they are an organized "family" of people who, combined, are doing it all. Scott and Ann spent a lot of very personal time together. Scott loaded her up with books he'd written, gave us both copies of "Winter Soldier" and VFP t-shirts and he shared a new video in progress that really shows what was happening during the Vietnam war.
I believe this effort/movie will travel our country to open the eyes of many who have no idea about what happened THEN and don't really have a clue of what is happening (to our military and to civilians in Iraq) NOW either. Ann also signed tons of books. One woman we met is an attorney who is supporting soldiers whose PTSD claims have been denied as "pre-existing conditions", PRO BONO. She bought a copy of the book for all of her employees (and she has a lot of employees) and VFP Gainesville bought a stack for their area. It was not only a great way to end the tour financially, it was probably one of the most amazing nights of my entire activist life. It was the anti-war movement past, present and future. But, for me, most importantly it was the focus of "love" and the importance of that energy in Scott and Sherrie Camil's house..

Love and communication are the fabric of the work they are doing in Gainesville, Florida. Scott told me they have been playing volley ball every single Sunday afternoon since 1979, rain, lightening, freezing cold....they play. Then they all shower up, eat a big meal and sit down to decide what they will do next week for peace. They share ideas, hammer out plans and do it as a family...... ......... .sound like any place you know :-D?

Our last night in Florida was authentic and energizing. We should all have a house like this in our own cities and towns. It was such an honor to represent CODEPINK Women For Peace all over Florida. The CODEPINK Florida women helped in a huge way with rooms, food, event locations and preparations, press, setting up tables and awesome food (CODEPINK Orlando had this fantastic sheet cake with the front of Ann's book on it- and it was edible). This trip could not have happened without them. Thanks again to Mike Fox and his unwavering dedication to peace and justice here in Florida. I hope I haven't forgotten anyone who helped, lots of people helped. Anyone who gets a chance to see Ann and get her book shouldn't hesitate one second. A night you will remember and a book you can't forget.