By Ken Hudson
In solidarity with the national Women’s March on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 20, Fresno will hold a demonstration on the sidewalks in front of River Park the same day, hosted by Peace Fresno. From 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. near the intersection of Blackstone and Nees avenues, Fresnans will gather to support the nationwide effort.
The national event is organized by Cindy Sheehan, the “peace mom” who was instrumental in turning the tide of national opinion on the Iraq War when she held a vigil outside of President George W. Bush’s ranch, asking for what “noble cause” her son had died in Iraq. Since then, she has remained active, organizing against war and empire building, including leading several antiwar events in Fresno.
In response to the continuing march of military aggression by the United States and to make an antiwar platform a priority for activists, the Women’s March on the Pentagon is planned on the 51st anniversary of a significant 1967 antiwar event in Washington, D.C., and subsequent march on the Pentagon that drew 50,000 people. The organizers are also concerned about the ongoing U.S. military aggression across the globe and the continuing bipartisan increases in Pentagon funding. The military budget is draining our communities and families dry of resources while decimating nations and peoples who have done nothing to us.
“Today our children have never known our country at peace. War is all they’ve ever known.” These were not the words of some radical leftist but rather of conservative/libertarian Fresno City Council Member Clint Olivier in a speech at the 2014 Martin Luther King, Jr., march in Fresno, in which he called for a halt to our endless wars.
The United States plunged into endless war in 2001—17 years ago. And just as it took people protesting 50 years ago to end what had been the nation’s longest war at the time, people must mobilize again today to call for an end to war. On Oct. 20, bring your own sign or use one of ours.
The national event at the Pentagon continues on Oct. 21, and one of the events that day will be the reading of letters from around the nation. This is an opportunity for locals to have an impact, even if you can’t make the trip to Washington. The Women’s March is encouraging all those opposed to endless war to write a letter as part of the “Why I Oppose War” campaign. Children’s art is also encouraged.
Letters or images should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org. Many of the letters received will be featured on the Women’s March Web site (www.amrchonpentagon.com) and read aloud on Oct. 21 at the Pentagon’s fortress gates.
“While the organization is women-led, they and their actions are not exclusive to women and welcome all anti-empire, anti-war humans,” notes Sheehan.
Ken Hudson is president of Peace Fresno. Contact him at email@example.com.