Sunday, September 11, 2011

October 2011: Places I'll Remember . . . .

The 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan is a month away. I'm involved in promoting a major demonstration in Chicago, and actions are planned in other cities as well: Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, Bloomington, IN, and Trenton, NJ.

That said, there are cities that haven't been heard from, and I'm having trouble imagining that there will not be major antiwar protests in many other places.

I think about Massachusetts: Cambridge, where I went to school, and where we marched around the administration building to protest South African investments; and Lexington, where I used to crisscross Battle Green taking my kids to their after-school activities. Do you really mean to tell me that the Boston area will be silent in October 2011?

I think about Philadelphia, where I lived for 10 years, and where I used to take visiting groups of Chinese business people to see American shrines like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall; and Washington Square Park, where I used to pause to read the inscription, "Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness," every day as I walked to work ... Do you really mean to tell me that Philadelphia will be silent in October 2011?

I think about Little Rock, where I spent one endless summer helping form a community organization for ACORN. (When I lean back and close my eyes, I can still picture the streets I canvassed and feel the July Little Rock heat.) Even in 1979, Little Rock was already legendary for its role in the history of the civil rights movement and desegregation; though at that time only a very few perceptive observers imagined that within a few years Little Rock would be contributing a native son to the White House ... Do you really mean to tell me that Little Rock will be silent in October 2011?

These are just a few of the places that have been important to me. All of us have places like this. Do you mean to tell us these places will be silent in October 2011?

My prediction is that by the time I am marching in the demonstration in Chicago on October 8, I will also be marveling at just how many other communities in the country have stood up together with us to oppose the Afghanistan War!

What will your community be doing to stand up to war in October 2011?