This article by Julie Byrnes Enslow, director of Peace Action-Wisconsin, is featured on the front page of the June issue of The Mobilizer, Peace Action-Wisconsin’s newsletter.
Iraq Moratorium – Friday, June 20
What Have YOU Done Lately to Stop the War?
By Julie Byrnes Enslow
Sometimes we need a good push to get off our duffs and act. The Iraq Moratorium Day on the third Friday of each month gives us the challenge and the opportunity to take creative actions to end the US occupation in Iraq.
Friday, June 20, will be the tenth Iraq Moratorium. What are YOU going to do?People in small towns and cities across the country are taking action together every third Friday. For many it may be an individual act such as a call to their Congressperson, wearing a black armband or peace button to work, writing a letter to the editor of their local paper, flying a peace flag or talking to a neighbor about the war. Others organize a small group of people to act together – a vigil on a street corner, a visit to their Congressperson’s office, a prayer service for peace in their church, synagogue or mosque.
In one town the church bells toll for peace each Moratorium Day. In another, women in black sit in folding chairs outside their Congressperson’s office for the day with signs and leaflet people going by. Other folks vigil outside military recruitment centers. High school students have joined the Iraq Moratorium by giving out black armbands at school or staging die-ins near the cafeteria at lunchtime.
Wisconsin is a leader in national moratorium events, exceeded only by California. In May, over 12 towns and cities had officially organized vigils, walks, prayer services and events, from Hayward and Woodruff in the far north to Dodgeville and Viroqua in the southwest. The little town of Hayward continues month after month to have the biggest turnout per capita in the United States. They routinely turn out 70-80 people in a town of 2,100. If every town and city in the US matched Hayward’s performance, more than 12 million people would be in the streets protesting the war each month!
People in the Milwaukee area can join the Iraq Moratorium Vigil at 5pm on the corner of Water and Wisconsin, the city’s busiest central intersection. For people in other areas of the state, check out the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice website for a listing of events at www.wnpj.org.
If you have been participating in the Moratorium, let me challenge you to do one additional thing on June 20. If you have never taken an action on a third Friday this is your chance to join with people in your community and around the country on that day. Start a vigil in your own town. Be creative – be bold. Silence will not stop the occupation of Iraq.