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Protesting In Pittsburgh
by Feyler (Jan.29.2003)

    We drove from Buffalo to Pittsburgh and arrived late on Friday January 24th. Saturday, we braved the bitter cold and demonstrated outside of the UU Church on North Avenue. Several people had gathered with signs, music and a positive energy. We received several encouraging 'Honks For Peace'. It was amazing for me to see that the local news media had come over to talk to the demonstrators. I had been used to Peace Demonstrations being completely ignored.

    There were several other events going on all day in the city. There were movies, peace poetry, speeches, legal training, workshops, and protest vigils. There was also a parade with creative costumes.

    Sunday was the big peace demonstration. People were gathering all over the Oakland area in groups to converge at the Pitt University Campus. There were creative characters at the demonstration and in the march including a giant earth, a giant Uncle Sam, and many great signs. There were also dogs who got involved with peace signs, 'Paws For Peace' and 'Puppies For Peace'.

    There were many excellent speakers at Pitt University before the March. The speakers included Rev. Tom Smith of the Baptist Church (Pastors For Peace), Hon Jim Ferlo the State Senator, Nia Edmondson of POG, Ceci Wheeler of the Anti-War Committee, Carol Lambiase of the United Electrical Workers, Br. Michael Bartko of the Islamic Council of Pittsburgh, Renee Wilson of People Against Police Violence, and Celeste Taylor of the Society of Friends and the NAACP.

    The march started off when all the speakers had given their empowering speeches, letting us know that our voices were being heard. We moved in masses through the cold around the blocks. We still received some 'Honks For Peace', and bystanders watched and thanked us for our efforts. There were very few people who called out that we were being 'Anti-American'. I guess they didn't pay attention when it stated that the people rule the government, and that it was up to us to protest when the government got out of line and acted without the interest of the public. At the end of the march, we stopped in front of the Pax Christi church and watched the Raging Grannies that were across the street in front of about seven policemen with batons and shields. Despite the intimidation, the Raging Grannies gave encouraging songs like, We Don't Run Run Run. It was great. Other speakers included Mike Epitropoulos of the Allegheny Green Party, Beth Daponte of the Squirrel Hill Chapter, Marty O'Malley of the Vietnam Vets Against the War, Mazin Qumsiyeh the Founder of Al-Awda, Tom Blancato, SOA Arrestees Group, and Moly Rush of the Thomas Merton Center.

    All in all, the entire weekend was full of empowering speeches, and positivity and hope, the elements of peace.
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