In support of the ongoing national Iraq Moratorium Project the Northland Anti-War Coalition held 3 events on Friday, January 18. Despite the below zero weather, we went ahead with both of our Twin Ports peace vigils that day. Seven hearty souls showed up at the noon Duluth vigil [Colette K., Tegan W., Carl S., Peter K., Roger C., Penny C., Adam] and two people showed up at the 4pm Superior vigil [Mer? and Adam]. I'd like to extend a very special thanks to those brave souls who risked nose and cheeks for the cause of peace by picketing on such a bitterly cold day!
That same evening, in the nice, heated Central Hillside Community Center, we held a forum titled "Native & African Americans Speak Out on the War." Between 50-60 people attended. While one of our speakers didn't show up unfortunately, the three that did did a bang up job. Tanya Sconniers shared the interesting perspective of being an African American educator and peace supporter married to an Iraqi man. Jim Northrup shared his experiences as a Vietnam veteran, along with some awesome poetry, and Henry Banks powerfully drove home the point that there is a war going on right here at home against people of color, and how before the U.S. goes abroad to fix problems, it needs to clean its own house. Virgil Sohm was the moderator, and also filled in for the missing speaker by sharing some of his own insights and experiences on war and racism. The presentations generated some lively discussion, which continued well after the formal part of the forum was over.
Special thanks to the speakers and moderator for doing such a great job. Thanks also to Colette K., Peter K., Joel K., and Mike R. for bringing snacks and refreshments, staffing the literature and food tables, and helping with the set up and after event clean up. And of course thanks also to everyone who helped to build the forum. Between the great plug in the Duluth News Tribune the day before the event, a spot on KUMD radio that morning, and then the hundreds of leaflets, calls and emails that we sent out, we can be proud that we did a great job getting the word out about this very educational and moving event.
And then, to celebrate, and to kick back and do a bit of socializing, NAWC sponsored a potluck/social gathering the following evening, Jan. 19. About 20 people participated in the event, which was graciously hosted by Joan N. at her magnificent home. In addition to good food and company, we were treated with the opportunity to meet and talk with a young exchange student from Baghdad.
A warm thank you to Joan N., Colette K., Peter K. and Carl S. for helping to set up for the potluck, and clean up afterwards.
We had some great events these past few days, but the fight for a better world, of course, goes on. To borrow the famous words of Maurice Bishop, we must go "forward ever, backwards never!" In that spirit, I invite all who are reading this to attend the next planning meeting of the Northland Anti-War Coalition. That next meeting will be on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 2pm at the Chester Creek Cafe in Duluth. And bring a friend!