Event Reports & Photos – U.S. & Canada

CANADA

HalifaxHalifax Peace Coalition

Media coverage here and here.

See the joint statement here.

Ottawa

A protester against military spending on the F35 outside the national election debate in Ottawa:

TorontoScience for Peace

“We held a public forum at the University of Toronto. Speakers were Bill Robinson, who had recently published a report on Canada’s military spending, John Siebert, the president of Project Ploughshares, who also spoke on Canadian military spending, and Professor Sergei Plekhanov of York University, who gave a history of global military spending over the past fifty years or so. All the speakers presented power point graphs and engaged in a question-and-answer discussion with the audience.”

UNITED STATES

CALIFORNIA: OaklandNew Priorities Campaign

The New Priorities Campaign held a rally in Oakland featuring speakers and poets demanding that the government move the money away from military expenditures.

San FranciscoAmerican Friends Service Committee

Some activists set up a visual display and passed out leaflets in the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco.

Travis Air Force Base, Fairfield“Base Actions” Campaign / Bay Area CodePink / San Francisco Veterans for Peace / Nevada County Peace Center / Military Families Speak Out / S.F. AFSC

“We held signs and banners and distributed fliers for a few hours during the morning and afternoon commutes at the entrance to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California. In spite of multiple interferences from civilian and military police, over 80 fliers were distributed educating military personnel about the obscene economic and social costs of excessive military spending. This was our third visit to Travis in a campaign to have a monthly presence at ‘a military base near you.’ We all have military bases not far from where we live. We’re all affected by our military and its actions. From contaminating thousands of acres of land all over the world to waging war on innocents for the sake of greed, global militarization is reprehensible. No one in good conscience can stand by as our government proceeds with death and destruction in our names. We’ve had enough!”

CONNECTICUT: New HavenGreater New Haven Peace Council

“On the traditional tax day, April 15, and to last minute tax filers on the 18th, we distributed fliers detailing the budget breakdown using information from the National Priorities Project. We also held an End the Wars vigil in front of the entrance to the Yale School of Medicine with medical students who are working on just medical care for children in Israel/Palestine.”

FLORIDA: Vero BeachAmerican Friends Service Committee

HAWAII: OahuKyle Kajihiro and co-organizers

“In Hawai’i, we conducted what we call a ‘DeTour’ (demilitarization focused geopolitical reality tour) of military-occupied sites in Hawai’i, including Ke Awalau o Pu’uloa (the original name for Pearl Harbor). The tour presented an alternative narrative of how Hawai’i was invaded and occupied by the U.S. military to expand the American empire across the Pacific and recounted the costs and consequences of those developments.

“From outside the headquarters of the Pacific Command, the oldest and largest of the U.S. unified military commands, we discussed how the military presence in Hawai’i is like a monstrous octopus with tentacles that impact other peoples and nations in the Asia-Pacific region. We also discussed how Ke Awalau o Pu’uloa, once a rich fishery and source of food and peace for O’ahu island has become a symbol of war, tragedy and contamination, and ventured to discuss how it might once again be restored as a source of life. We ended the tour at a farm and learning center on the shores of Ke Awalau o Pu’uloa where we planted trees towards the creation of new ‘bases’ for peace, justice and sustainability. ”

INDIANA: IndianapolisAmerican Friends Service Committee

MAINE: AugustaVeterans for Peace / Union of Maine Visual Artists / Raging Grannies

“It was a great day in Augusta. We had long planned our day to hold a rally calling on all elected officials in Maine to demand that we Bring Our War $$ Home. Due to bad weather last Friday we were asked by the Union of Maine Visual Artists to share our rally permit with them. Without hesitation we agreed and by the end of the day 400 people had turned out to take part in a protest double-header.

The Bring Our War $$ Home campaign led off the event with an hour of speakers and music. One stirring moment occurred when the fiery Mayor of Biddeford, Joanne Twomey, joined us and took the microphone to say that she is tired of cutting jobs and social programs in her city. She said that at the last city council meeting she brought up cutting war spending as an alternative to these cutbacks and then told the roaring crowd “I offer a challenge to every mayor in Maine to say we need to Bring Our War $$ Home.” Maine public radio aired some of her strong words in their evening news report from the capital.

The rally began with singing by the Raging Grannies and then Dud Hendrick, president of Maine Veterans for Peace, underscored the importance of the day as it was the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. who many believe was killed because he spoke out against the Vietnam War – calling it a war on “programs of social uplift” as well as morally bankrupt.

Following a quick change of signs the chanting crowd switched gears and gave their full attention to speakers lined by the Union of Maine Visual Artists who came to protest the controversial decision by our new governor to pull down a labor oriented mural from the walls inside the state Department of Labor. You can see some news coverage of the rally here

Today was a good example of group solidarity and connecting the dots between the issues. I was proud that the Bring Our War $$ Home rally showed how addiction to war is tied to our addiction to oil. Our speakers linked climate change, militarism, social spending cuts, attacks on labor and civil liberties, and the need to protect one another.

In my opening words I said the following: “We’re at a crucial time – No more going it alone – no more of the ‘business model of organizing’ where everyone/every group just looks out for themselves. Those days are over. They will pick us off one at a time if we continue to do that. We are all in this together now – it’s gotta be all for one and one for all…..or nothing. It’s time we showed the links between all the issues and put out an alternative sustainable vision for the future.”

Press coverage of the Maine event to be found here and here.

MARYLAND: College ParkStudents for Peace

“We had Jean Athey come speak about the costs of the militarization of America, and we also did a flag display showing the amount of additional money needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals vs. Military Spending for one year. Each flag represented a billion dollars, so we used close to 2 thousand flags! We gave out fliers with more info on the display, a graph on discretionary spending, and websites for War Resisters International and National Priorities Project. Many people stopped to talk. The majority of those people asked questions, thanked us for doing the display, and agreed with what we were doing. A few people stopped who were offended and felt that we were insulting the military and America. We engaged these passerby, gave them facts, and listened to their opinions. One woman who had stopped at the display asked one particularly angry guy if he had ever served in the military. He admitted that he had not. She revealed that she had served for 5 years and had seen first hand the waste and misdirection of funds. She spent the next 30 minutes calmly listening to the angry man, sympathizing with his feelings, but standing firmly in support of the display and message.”

MISSOURI: Kansas CityAmerican Friends Service Committee

A group of citizens held a vigil in downtown Kansas City to highlight the harmfully high portion of government spending that goes towards the military budget.

More news coverage of the event with photos here.

NEBRASKA: LincolnNebraskans for Peace

Excellent rally featuring a well-known former state senator and dozens of activists:

More media coverage here and here.

NEW YORK: AlbanyUpper Hudson Peace Action

“Upper Hudson Peace Action, based in Albany, New York, participated in the Global Day of Action on Military Spending by holding a noon time vigil in front of the New York State Capitol Building. Eight of us vigiled. We held signs saying “How is the War Economy Working for You?” We also handed out fliers that included facts such as “39 cents of each dollar paid in taxes to pay for current wars, war preparation and the debt on past wars. That works out to be $9,645 each year for each household in the U.S. How much are you paying for war? The United States maintains 820 military installations in 135 countries around the world. Does this make sense?”

BrooklynBrooklyn for Peace

Brooklyn for Peace reached over 3,000 folks with our ‘The Cost of War is Killing Brooklyn’ flier at a number of locations on Tax Day – April 15.”

New YorkUnited Nations Office of the Chaplain

35 representatives from 25 different religious NGOs working at the United Nations attended a luncheon workshop on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending entitled: “What is civil society’s role at the U.N., in the streets, and in the pew/temple/gurdwara/mosque regarding militarism, militarization and military expenditures?” Hosted by the Office of the Chaplain and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, presentations were made by three faith-based organizations who are already actively programming and strategizing around this theme. Speakers included Hiro Sakurai from Soka Gokkai International, Dennis Frado from the Lutheran World Federation and Allison Pytlak from Religions for Peace. The goal of the program was to reinvigorate the conversation and action around this vital topic in a community which, while very involved in multiple agendas and coalitions, do not necessarily have military expenditures as a focus of work. As an outcome, participants decided to meet again to further analyze and explore how we can better link vital actions in this arena and work across the silos.”

OHIO: AkronOLE Peace Plus / AFSC

More coverage available here.

ColumbusPeace Action Columbus

“On April 12 we were at the Ohio Statehouse with visits to legislators comparing the cost to feed poor folk and the cost to feed the war fighting machine. We met with six freshman legislators, both Republican and Democrat.

“Our slogan is end wars, tax wealth, and expand public services.”

ClevelandPeace Action Cleveland

Full event debrief available here.

OREGON: CorvallisVeterans for Peace / Leah Bolger

“In Corvallis, Oregon we passed out fliers [view here] in front of our public library which used to be open 7 days a week, but has already been cut to 6, and will most likely be cut to 5 soon. We also took pictures of people letting us know how they would rather have their tax dollars spent rather than on war.”

Lots of great photos from this one!

EugeneTaxes for Peace Not War / Community Alliance of Lane County / Jobs with Justice / Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network / Industrial Workers of the World

“Activists gathered at the Eugene downtown post offices on Tax Day, April 18th, to challenge militarism and corporate greed and to call for the re-ordering of federal spending priorities from supporting war to meeting human and environmental needs. Close to 100 people were provided the opportunity to voice how they would spend their tax dollars when they took part in the ‘Penny Poll’. Participants were handed 10 pennies, which they deposited in jars representing a 6-category breakdown of the federal budget. Eugene taxpayers have clearly had it with the Iraq/Afghanistan wars and want their elected officials to do more to bring these wars to an immediate end. If Eugene residents ran the Federal Government things would be significantly different — their tax dollars would be funding social and environmental programs and not endless war. War tax resisters, who object to over half of their federal taxes going to the military, redirected their ‘war’ taxes to local organizations, including Planned Parenthood, Whitebird and Shelter Care, who were on hand to receive their donations.”

PENNSYLVANIA: Bryn MawrBryn Mawr Peace Coalition

“On Tax Day, April 18, in front of the Post Office at both morning rush and lunch hours, six members of the Bryn Mawr Peace Coalition (BMPC) held posters and distributed literature advocating the reduction of military spending and illustrating the distribution of income tax dollars. The morning crowd either accepted the material or neutrally declined, but the lunchtime crowd was generally very negative toward the cause. A welcome small minority eagerly accepted the handouts and thanked us for our efforts, but most folks walked by with surly looks on their faces and scowled when offered printed material. Many stated angrily that they knew how their income tax dollars were used and didn’t need us to tell them, or that they were ex-military or had family members actively serving in the armed forces; as though that automatically meant they supported current outrageous military expenditures. One man said we must be socialists or communists. A Post Office employee came outside to tell us they’d had several phone calls complaining that we were blocking access to the curbside mailboxes (which we were not) and asked us to move from the front of the building. What a sad awakening to the support this part of the world is giving to the current allocation of funds!”

Tough crowd in Southeastern PA… Keep up the struggle Bryn Mawr!

Lehigh Valley / AllentownLEPOCO Peace Center

“The LEPOCO Peace Center in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania in the U.S.A. held a walk through a community devastated by warped priorities that place the military budget over social spending. We visited several places that are suffering because of misused funds. The event was organized by the Nuclear Abolition Sisters, a working group of LEPOCO. We posted our photos from Tuesday’s “Stop Funding War! Fund Our Communities!” Walk for Peace to an album on Facebook. Included in the captions is the text we read at each stop.”

PENNSYLVANIA: GlensideArcadia Amnesty International

“We took photographs with signs that explained what we do with $1.6 trillion dollars. We also hung up posters up at Arcadia,” including the one below.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Sioux FallsPax Christi Southeastern SD

VERMONT: BurlingtonPeace and Justice Center

“Anti-war protestors gathered in Burlington Tuesday to send a message about military spending.

“Tuesday is the Global Day of Action on Military Spending. Protestors marched and rallied on Church Street to promote awareness on the amount of money the United States spends on the military. They say with the debate on government spending in Congress both Republicans and Democrats should look to reduce spending on war.”

Local news report available here.

MontpelierPaul Erlbaum and supporters

Distribution of military spending questionnaire.

WASHINGTON: SpokanePeace & Justice Action League of Spokane
“The Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS) organized a GDAMS event to distribute literature and collect signatures for their Bring Our Billion$ Home campaign. Volunteers distributed information from the SIPRI report as well as on the costs of war and the trade-offs for Washington State’s 5th Congressional District. This information was given to 100 individuals with 60 of them following up with endorsements for our Bring Our Billion$ Home campaign, which calls for the US to end war, occupation, and military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq; reduce the Pentagon budget; and shift spending to job creation, education, health care, affordable housing, environmental protection, an effective social safety net, infrastructure, new technologies, defense of Social Security and Medicare from threatened cuts and other efforts that enhance the common good of our society.”

Even the Easter Bunny is signing on!

WASHINGTON, DC / American University

“At American University we held a teach-in with professors, a former Department of Defense contractor in Iraq, an Iraq war veteran, and other peace activists. The discussion ranged from the issue of propaganda to how citizens are affected to what needs to happens next in order to realign spending with civilian needs. Outside we had an interactive component where we showed students what percentage of the budget actually goes to military spending. We also set up hundreds of little flags to compare military spending to the Millennium Development Goals. The flag representation was very successful in grabbing the attention of students and fueling an interest to learn more about military spending. ”

WASHINGTON, DC / White House / Lafayette ParkInstitute for Policy Studies

IPS and its DC partners (including the Washington Peace Center, CodePink, and representatives from local peace and human needs groups) gathered at Lafayette Park. We shared “flash facts” demonstrating the trade-offs between military spending and human needs spending interspersed with poems from six local poets. We then gathered for a quick photo op outside the White House.

RT’s report on military spending and the SIPRI numbers includes footage of this event, starting at about 2:03: