20 years ago on International Women’s Day 2003 10,000 women marched from MLK Jr. Park to the White House to find it encircled and blocked by police; Alice Walker was able to affect an officer who opened a space for the women to enter the lockdown. Walker stated “The best substitute for war is intelligence, and we have it . . . and we have good hearts…We have to believe we have good hearts, that we don’t have to murder to change minds.” That was the day of her first arrest along with all the women who followed. Fellow protestors, such a nuclear disarmament activist Helen Caldicott, “carried a barrage of signs reading, “Diplomacy, not bombs” and “War is extremely costly, but peace is priceless,” while many chanted things like “Women, united, will never be defeated.” 20 years later after 20 years of a war on Terror and $21 Trillion of taxpayer dollars stolen to pay for it while killing over 1.5 million people. It is beyond time to stand in the face of this extraction, destruction and oppression and say no more.
This year for IWD 2023, in the midst of the Ukraine war and as the US continues to beat the drums of war towards China, CODEPINK and its global partners made a call for Diplomacy and an end to war. We joined together in disrupting the status quo that accepts and supports war and weapons instead of peace and cooperation. We made visible the costs of war, the needs of the planet and people- using our IWD toolkit to engage folks with ideas. By using #IWDEndWar, IWD events across the country adopted the call for peace, diplomacy and cooperation. Inspiring those who stand for peace around the world to engage.
In Chicago, the day before International Women’s Day, CODEPINK, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Chicago Area Peace Action dropped a banner over the Chicago river that read: Feminists Say No to War with accompanying signs demanding negotiations in Ukraine and cooperation with China.
On March 8th, 2023, peace activists in DC made a large human peace sign in the rotunda, a banner demanding “Peace NOW” was unfurled from an upper level. The group in the rotunda formed a human peace sign donned with pink parasols and peacefully sang “Give Peace A Chance.” The human peace sign and the “Peace NOW” banner were followed up by office visits to Congresswomen who initially signed the Progressive Caucus letter to Biden demanding he pursue a path to negotiations to end the Russia/Ukraine War. The Progressive Caucus retracted their letter. Today in honor of International Women’s Day, CODEPINK activists revisited the women signees pressuring them to once again pursue negotiations and peace. Olivia DiNucci, one of the day’s organizers, explained the importance of the action on International Women’s Day, “I’m a feminist calling for an end to war and the addiction to the military industrial complex here at home and abroad on International Women’s Day and every day. We brought a symbol of peace into congress because the warmongering that goes on inside the building needs to be resisted.’
We also held online actions throughout the day for those who could not make it out on streets. CODEPINK hosted a series of feminist voices for peace webinars that we came together to discuss the core values and missions of a feminist foreign policy, what we as feminists need to do in the ongoing rise of violence, hatred and environmental crisis and how we can engage locally and globally to stand in solidarity with one another. Some of our notable speakers included: Alice Walker, Q’orianka Kilcher, Zainab Salbi and more!
Originally published: https://www.codepink.org/iwd2023blog