Event Report March 19 Sing Peace Vigil ~ March 20, 2005

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on November 15, 2005 - 4:21pm. :: | |

Event Report March 19 Sing Peace Vigil ~ March 20, 2005
Yesterday evening's "Sing Peace" event to commemorate the 2nd anniversary of the invasion of Iraq was a success, despite light rain and severe thunderstorm warnings an hour before it started.  This event was covered by several media outlets.

I thank each of you who came out to City Hall yesterday, in spite of the rain, for our "Sing Peace" event. For those of you who could not make it, I understand, but you missed a moving and wonderful tribute to the victims of the Iraq conflict (on both sides), along with some great songs and speeches. I thank the wonderful musicians and speakers, who provided the program for us last night.
I thank all of those who put in so many hours writing, editing, translating, and preparing for publication the "Iraq Notebook/Cuaderno de Iraq". I'm so glad we had this available to distribute to attendees at our event and for other events. It says so much about what's happening in Iraq that people never see on TV. Copies were shipped to peace activists in Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio last week for their Mar. 19 events, dropped off at KPFT, and we'll distribute additional copies to other groups, too. We'll have copies at future PAA events, so if you did not get a copy last night, you can get a copy at one of our monthly meetings or other events. The Iraq Notebook is also posted on our PAA web site in the Downloads section. Please let me or Lee Loe know if you want copies to give to others, as we printed a bunch of extra for this purpose, and we'd like to get them to any group who wants them.
I also thank all the volunteers to helped organize and publicize this event, and who helped set up and clean up afterwards. Even though the crowd was not as large as we hoped we'd have, the many flyers and e-mails that you distributed did serve an important purpose even for those who could not come -- to remind everyone that people do care about what's going on in Iraq, and that we want to both honor the victims of the conflict while we call out for peace.
Finally, I thank KPFT, for doing so much to help publicize our event, and for all the other work they have done to promote peace and justice and to keep us all informed about what's really going on in the world.

Request for Photos
Please let us know if you have photos of our Sing Peace event. I didn't see many pictures being taken last night, and most of mine did not turn out very good. The lighting and rain discouraged picture-taking, but we could use some photos for our web site, for Indymedia, and for posting on the national web sites of organizations who called out for actions on Mar. 19.
If you have digital photos of our event, showing the crowd with candles, the displays of Iraqi victims' names, the musicians or speakers, or other items of interest, please do this: E-mail Charles Lindahl at cyberchuck{at}gmail{doink}com, and let him know how many photos you have, what is in them, and their size (kB and/or megapixels (if known). He'll let you know which pictures to send him.

News Coverage
There was an article in today's Houston Chronicle which gave a brief summary of our event, along with the earlier rally and march, and the Dept. of Peace group's walking meditation.
I posted an article about our Sing Peace event on Houston Indymedia today. Also see followup comments posted by others at the end of that article, and other M19 stories on the Indymedia home page at http://houston.indymedia.org/ . If you want to contribute photos or a story to Indymedia, you can do it by clicking on the "Publish your news" link on the upper right hand corner of their home page. KPFT had hoped to broadcast the first hour of the Sing Peace event live yesterday, and Otis McClay had checked everything out for this the day before. However, due to technical difficulties, he was not able to get a connection from City Hall to the KPFT studio Saturday afternoon, and so the live feed had to be cancelled. Otis and Wally James did record the event for KPFT, though, and Wally plans to have portions of it on his show Thursday evening. I'll see if I can get a copy, too. Listen for coverage of the Mar. 19 activities this week on KPFT, on such programs as:

  • KPFT's local evening news Mon-Fri. from 5:30-6:30 pm (especially Monday for this weekend's events)
  • Houston Indymedia's Monday show from 6:30-7:00 pm (Mon. only)
  • Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, now on at both 7 am and 9 am each weekday (coverage of national and international events)
  • Flashpoints, Mon.-Fri. 7-8 pm
  • The Progressive Forum with Wally James, Thursday 8-10 pm - listen this week for portions of Saturday's events.

An umbrella with a floral pattern, left at our event last night. I have it. Let me know if it's yours or if you know who left it.

Final Notes
Please check our web site regularly for new events and updates. We'll be adding more Mar. 19 stuff during the next few days.
Thanks again, everyone. Let's continue working together to build the momentum for peace.


Bill Crosier
Progressive Action Alliance
paa{at}crosierbiomed{dot}com ~ 713-641-4941 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Amendment ~ Wed, M23
1. More thanks
In listing the speakers at the event, I neglected to mention that Emily Nghiem read, with such passion, a wonderful tribute poem, and I want to thank her for this. I believe it was adapted from the poem "Heroes in Heaven" on her web site at http://users4.ev1.net/~emailus .
I also forgot to mention that funding for printing of the "Iraq Notebook/Cuaderno de Irak" came from RESIST grant through the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). Besides Lee Loe and Theresa Keefe, who coordinated the writing/editing/production of the "Iraq Notebook/Cuaderno de Irak", I also want to thank members of Latinos por la Paz and the other volunteers for helping with this project, especially with writing and translating articles from English into Spanish.
I thank local members of Code Pink for the lead-up event they conducted on Friday evening, Mar. 18, downtown in the Theater District, to help bring more attention to the victims in Iraq (especially the Iraqis).

2. Copies of Iraq Notebook available
We got plenty of extra copies of the Iraq Notebook printed for distribution to other individuals and organizations. We'd appreciate any suggestions you have regarding where to distribute it, so send me your ideas (with contact name, phone or e-mail, and postal address, for out-of-town groups, please). We shipped copies last week to peace groups in Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio, and we can send copies to other groups here or elsewhere if they'll pay for the shipping. You can see each page of the Iraq Notebook on the Downloads page of our web site at http://progressiveactionalliance.org/ so if you speak with someone in an organization who isn't sure if they are interested, refer them there so they can look at it. To pick up copies for yourself or to distribute elsewhere, contact Lee Loe.

3. PAA Web site additions for Mar. 19
Soon, we'll add Sherry Glover's speech to the Downloads section of the PAA web site, along with a link to the original version of Emily Nghiem's poem. Sherry is the member of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) who spoke about what it's like to be the mom, wife, mother-in-law, and daughter of veterans, and how she has received hostility from both pro-war and anti-war individuals, even though all she basically wants is for everyone to embrace such universal values as love and peace. We'll add the text of the other speeches if we can get them. We already have some links to news reports noted below, as well as the Iraq Notebook.

4. More on press coverage
In addition to the press coverage I mentioned in the e-mail report that I sent you Sunday, here are some more specifics. KPFT covered the Houston-Galveston Mar. 19 events in some detail during their Monday evening news -- to hear it, go to http://www.kpftx.org/archives/kpftsignal/ -- on that page, see KPFT Local News, Mon. Mar. 21, 2005, 5:30 PM -- coverage of the Sing Peace event starts at about 25 minutes into that program and you can skip ahead directly to that if you want. Wally James also plans to play portions of the audio of our event on Thursday evening on KPFT on his show "The Progressive Forum", and this will be available in their archives after Thursday.
We'll try to get audio from the entire Sing Peace event on our web site later this week.
For reports of some of the many other Mar. 19 events around the country and the world on the 2nd anniversary of the invasion, go to http://indymedia.us/en/index.shtml . It's astounding what went on that day in so many cities, but which you never got to see nor hear on TV, nor read in the newspaper. It makes me feel good that there were so many events going on in so many cities, even if most of the press is trying to ignore them.
Local Mar. 19 events were covered on several local TV stations Saturday night in brief reports. Most of them spent much more time covering Bush's pro-war message, but some reported on the events by the PAA and other peace groups. See http://houston.indymedia.org/news/2005/03/38117.php for descriptions of their coverage, and also see the comments posted at the bottom of that article for audio from two of the local TV stations (KHOU-11 and KRIV-Fox-26) that had somewhat better coverage than the other stations.

5. Take Action
The limited coverage of Mar. 19 events by the local TV stations, vs. their thorough repetition of non-news like Bush's pro-war messages, is an EXCELLENT reason to contact those stations. LET THEM KNOW HOW YOU FEEL about their coverage. But first be sure to read and hear the Indymedia reports noted above.
To find voice and fax phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and web sites for local TV stations and other media, go to http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/ and enter your zip code about half way down the page where it says "Browse Media Guide". Then click on the link for the TV station (or other media you want to contact) to get the contacts for their news director and general manager.
As I noted when I spoke Saturday evening, we all need to contact our elected officials more often -- even the ones who have consistently supported the invasion and occupation. We need to remind them that there are people who do object to what the US is doing in Iraq, and we need to keep reminding them why we feel that way. Note that due to long delays in screening mail to Congress sent through the US postal system, it's better to contact them by phone (even their local offices), fax, e-mail, or with a web form.

To contact your US House Representative, go to http://www.house.gov/writerep/

To contact your two US Senators, go to http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=TX

6. Request for Feedback
Thanks for the positive comments several of you have sent about our Sing Peace event. However, I'd also appreciate constructive criticism from any of you, so we can make future events (similar or different ones) better. It's OK to tell me what you didn't like or what didn't go so well. Please send your comments to me individually, and indicate whether you mind if I forward them to others on our steering committee.