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Women's March Against War

"We're women! We're angry!
And we're not going shopping!"

Women's March Against the War

Barely two weeks after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, 350 women and a few good men took to the streets of Santa Rosa in a march against military intervention and in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan.

Hands OFF my Civil Rights!A number of community groups had brought people together to express their grief and shock in the aftermath of the attacks. Instead, the Purple Berets sponsored the "Women's March Against War" to provide a place where women could raise their voices in opposition to the ever-increasing drumbeat to war, to the numerous revenge attacks on people of color, and to the rapid erosion of civil liberties in the wake of the attacks.

And raise our voices we did! After a short rally at the Santa Rosa federal building filled with speeches and song, the march filled the streets with banners and signs, images of Afghan women and children, and Marchersthe awesome sound of hundreds of women singing.

Knowing the press would not cover women's demand for peace, our intent was to march to a place where lots of people gather so we could hand out our fact sheet and talk with people one-on-one. And since George Bush had urged women to do their patriotic duty by shopping, we took our march to the downtown mall.

"You women just wouldn't stay in your place."
complaint by Santa Rosa mall security guard

Women's March Against the WarWhen we got to the mall, we were all so exuberant with the sheer joy of so many women united we didn't want to stop. So we swept past security guards and poured into America's shrine to the god of shopping, filling its cathedral-like structure with the sound of "Give Peace a Chance" in four-part harmony. It was amazing — best acoustics in town!

Oh, and by the way, we were right about the media. Despite the fact that all the local press, radio and TV outlets were notified of the march and the Press Democrat interviewed us for half an hour, not a word was mentioned in any of the local press. In fact, in the sneering article on the local peace movement in the next day's PD, the Purple Berets weren't mentioned, the march wasn't mentioned, the word "women" wasn't mentioned. A number of letters to the editor protesting that fact have not been printed either.

But even though the local media didn't consider us news, the New York Times included the women's march in their national story on the peace movement's response to the crisis. Press Democrat, shame on you again!

© Tanya Brannan, Purple Berets
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