The sun is out and so are the skateboarders. There is a beat of leisure in the steps of the lunch-bound crowd. Barbara W stops by on her way to round up support and supplies for next Wednesday’s KNIT-IN. Edith has her table and Eva-Lee is packing a camera. Caroline, jet-lagged but glowing from her trip to Iran, Phyllis, Barbara H, Owen and Fran are on hand. Our table is a rainbow of colors – pink, green, orange, yellow and blue leaflets flutter in the breeze. It’s Phone-A-Thon time!
A big man, with a sweet smile and calloused hands stops by. He shyly informs us that he just became a citizen and will vote this November for the first time. He has moved, and we help connect him with his new congressperson. A squad car cruises by and stops. A woman in an EMS jacket stops to talk. She is a 9/11 survivor and is now on disability with a bad case of asthma and worse post-traumatic stress syndrome. She is furious that her pain – and the pain and loss of so many others – was manipulated into this terrible war.
A Brooklynite with attitude to spare makes calls to both senators – informing them that neither one has a ‘blank check’ and it is time to bring some relief to our local communities. Impeachment is something that resonates with this crowd. We also note that the cost of war is on people’s minds and the concepts of filibuster and cloture filibuster are gaining steam. That squad car is still there, so never one to miss an opportunity, Phyllis engages the officers in conversation and persuades one of them to take some of our literature.
As we start to pack up and head out for some chow, a woman with a worn face introduces herself. Her son is on his second tour of duty in Iraq. On his first tour, his vehicle was destroyed in a roadside bomb. Four men in his unit were killed. He was left with a limp and the loss of hearing in one ear. In spite of these injuries, he was called back and now she is holding her breath, waiting for this tour to be over in six weeks. When the war comes home to us like this, it’s hard to breathe.
Over lunch, we mull the day. Calls were made; folks were engaged. But we were also struck with how many people – especially young folks – seem indifferent. With a bit of probing, what we heard was an undercurrent of disgust and distrust. The endless carping and squabbling amongst ‘presidential’ candidates topped with the tawdry news from the Governor’s office has spawned a terrible malaise that manifests itself with a wry “what difference does it make” attitude.
So it’s time to roll out the Granny Power. Put on your t-shirt, pin on those buttons and get out there and engage anyone you can in discussion. We Grannies can’t allow for any “Citizen Drop-Outs”. And please plan to join us on Wednesday, March 19 either here in NYC or in Washington to mark the fifth anniversary of this illegal and immoral war.
KNIT-IN FOR PEACE – Wednesday, March 19 – Noon
Times Square Recruitment Center
7th Avenue between 43rd & 44th Streets
IN WASHINGTON, DC:
Veterans Affairs Office
810 Vermont Ave
Not a knitter? No problem! We have a full program planned with room for any and all participation. So come join us. Now, more than ever, we need to ‘keep on keeping on’ and show the world that ‘Democracy is not a spectator sport!’
To our sisters who are taking the KNIT-IN to Washington, travel safe, get a good night’s sleep, then get out there and show your stuff! We will look forward to hearing all the details on your return and know you all will be in our thoughts as we rally in Times Square. How wonderful it is to know so many others around the country are rallying in solidarity in their own cities. Hopefully, these folks will be sending us their stories so we can share our experiences and learn more for the next wave.
In Peace…and action,
The Legislative Committee & Friends
Fran Sears with, Eva-Lee, Phyllis, Caroline, Barbara H, Edith, Barbara W., Molly and Owen
P.S. The Granny Peace Brigade joins the Raging Grannies (to sing) and Grandmothers Against the War (to vigil) and we welcome women and men of all ages to work with us for peace. Check the Granny Peace Brigade website for a calendar of events.