FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 10, 2003
Despite media suggestions that the U.S. military attack on Iraq is over, a peace rally in Portland has continuted to gain momentum and now has over 90 organizations backing it. The march will take place Saturday, April 12 at 3:30 PM with the theme "Stop the Violence Overseas and at Home: Bring them home in one peace." It will begin at Waterfront Park (at SW Front and Yamhill). Demonstrators will march from the park to Pioneer Courthouse Square to conduct a funeral for all the war dead and take part in the main rally program. Along the way, there will be stops at the Federal Building, the KOIN Center, the Oregonian (where a "healing ritual" will take place) and the Willamette Week pointing out the goverment and media's roles in the support of the war.
Organizers include many of the peace, social justice, environmental, faith, student and labor groups responsible for the enormous rallies most recently held January 18 and March 15.
This march will be somber and contemplative but also address the issue of misconceptions about the war. As has been quoted many times, in 1917, American Senator Hiram Johnson said "The first casualty when war comes, is truth."
Peace and Justice Works member and march organizer Desiree Hellegers added that "This global movement organized the largest anti-war protests in the history of the world before a war actually began. We are concerned that the celebratory and sanitized media accounts fail to address the human suffering and environmental impacts of war and fail to question the apparently open-ended U.S. occupation of Iraq."
This permitted, family-friendly march will differ from previous marches in that the beginning gathering will be very brief and spare. After gathering at 3:30 PM in Waterfront Park, the march will begin promptly at 4 PM and at its four stops will also include information on the role of activists in opposing this war. The march will arrive at approximately 5 PM in Pioneer Courthouse Square where a limited number of informational tables will call people to action while dozens of coffins are stacked up for a symbolic funeral to lament the needless death of innocents. A small number of speakers will follow.
Ninety-two organizations have now pledged to support the rally. More than 25 Catholic or Catholic-sponsored organizations have signed on. They have done so at the same time the Archdiocese dismissed Frank Fromherz, director of the Archdiocese's Office of Justice and Peace, a vocal critic of the war.
Please contact any of the numbers listed below for more information.
Co-sponsors include: Peace & Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group (503-236-3065), Portland Peaceful Response Coalition (503-471-1535), Living Earth, Women in Black, Oregon PeaceWorks (503-585-2767-Salem), Portland Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Love Makes a Family, Peace and Social Justice