email from unitedforpeace.org
From time to time, our movement gathers in mass mobilizations (as we will on April 29 in New York City). As dramatic and inspiring as those events are, the heart and soul of the peace movement is community-based, local work, which is why United for Peace and Justice has called for nationally coordinated local actions on the third anniversary of the Iraq War.
On the first anniversary of the Iraq war, events were held in at least 319 communities nationwide. Last year, for the second anniversary, that number more than doubled, with at least 765 communities throughout the United States hosting peace events. This year, the third anniversary of the Iraq War, is a crucial opportunity to deepen and broaden that grassroots work still further â¦ and make this the last anniversary of this war that never should have happened.
It's not too late to organize something -- or to expand your existing plans. Below is a list of ideas for activities you can undertake locally to mark the third anniversary of the war from March 15-22.
Many activities are already being planned, from the Veterans and Survivors March for Peace and Justice From Mobile to New Orleans to Philadelphia's "Mourning to Resistance" vigil and peace ceremony to the Peaceful Priorities human chain protest in Boise, Idaho. Visit UFPJ's third anniversary calendar to find out what's in the works for your city or town -- and be sure to post any event you know about, however large or small, so we can have a full tally of the remarkable work being done nationwide, and to get the word out about your activities to potential participants and to the media.
If you're not already part of a local anti-war group, now's a great time to join one -- check out our online directory of peace and justice organizations. There are also many ways you can take action as an individual.
We'll be posting additional suggestions for action and organizing resources on our website in the days to come, so be sure to check www.unitedforpeace.org for more ideas.
1) Plan a day or weekend of intensive antiwar visibility.
* Organize a tabling, leafleting or postering presence in a location that has a lot of pedestrian traffic, someplace you can have direct contact with people. Be sure to bring a sign-up sheet to gather email addresses of people who would like to get more involved (if you're not part of a local group, send the addresses to us at
and we'll add them to this action alert list).
* Hang a banner over the side of an overpass of a busy highway, ideally during the morning or afternoon rush hour in order to maximize your visibility.
* Display "End the War" lawn signs all over your community (click here to order).
2) Plan a vigil, picket, or protest in front of the district office of your Senator and/or Representative to Congress.
* Monday, March 20, has been designated as a nationally coordinated day of legislative action. It's not mandatory that you hold your event on this day, but doing so will help amplify the power of your action.
* Visit our legislative action page for details on current war-related legislation and tips on how to approach your Senator or Representative.
* Download a scorecard in Excel spreadsheet format showing how your legislator has voted on the war.
* If your member of Congress has been especially strong in their support of the war, you might consider organizing a non-violent civil disobedience action at their office.
3) Place an anti-war advertisement in your local newspaper during the week of March 15-22.
Click here for a comprehensive guide on placing your ad, plus suggested text.
4) Speak out against the war in your local media.
On Friday, March 17, UFPJ is calling for a coordinated grassroots effort to bring the often-silenced voice of the anti-war majority into the mainstream media all around the country. Organize people to make calls to radio talk shows and discuss your opposition to the war, or send letters to the editor of your local paper for publication on this day.
5) Plan a community meeting or forum that addresses the local costs of the war.
Invite speakers who can address how your community's tax dollars are being drained for the war effort, as well as the loss of first responders and other people in your community who have been sent to Iraq. (For data on your community, visit the website of the National Priorities Project.) Be sure to invite the local media to cover this event.
6) Ask religious leaders in your community to deliver sermons on the weekend of March 17-19 with an anti-war message.
See if the social action programs at your local religious institutions can invite a speaker during the week of March 15-22. Iraq veterans, military families and veterans of other wars are often very powerful speakers. To find out more about how to invite someone to speak, contact Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, Gold Star Families for Peace, or Iraq Veterans Against the War.
7) Launch a local "Cities for Peace" campaign.
Add your community to the growing list of cities and towns nationwide which have passed resolutions against the war. The week of the third anniversary would be a great time to have a resolution introduced or voted on in your community. Visit the Cities for Peace website for much more information.
8) Pass an anti-war resolution in your union local, PTA chapter, or other organization.
For information about resolutions that have already been passed in union locals around the country, visit the U.S. Labor Against the War website.
9) Ask for a meeting with the editors of your newspaper, TV or radio stations.
Tell them you want to discuss their coverage of the war in Iraq, as well as coverage of your anti-war activities.