Cost of war drives people into the streets with
colorful costumes & message of peace
WASHINGTON D.C. – Culver City peace activist Paulette
Navarro traveled to DC this week for creative protests
on the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq. As a
social worker at a local hospital in Inglewood,
Paulette has seen funding for health and social
services diminish significantly while over 1.2
trillion dollars have been spent on death and
destruction caused by the war, and 4000 US soldiers
and one million Iraquis have died. Outraged, Navarro
became an organizer with the Culver City Peace and
Justice group and is active with the Los Angeles peace
movement, gathering signatures on impeachment
petitions and educating the public on the war and
decreased social funding, and protesting military
Navarro, wanting to bring her activism to a higher
level, decided to take precious time away from work
and family to participate in the "5 Years Too Many"
demonstrations in Washington, D.C. She joined
protestors from 50 states and abroad who converged in
the nation's capitol to demand an end to the war. About 15
people from local Los Angeles area groups she belongs to helped
Navarro with her trip expenses, feeling that she was
representing them in the Capitol.
"We are seeing that Americans are willing to go the
distance, skip work and even spend precious time away
from their families to deliver the message to the
war-profiteers, the federal agencies that have
destroyed our Constitution and the Congress that we
are tired of their support for this war - we want them
to work for peace!" says Navarro. Navarro feels that she made a difference in
participating in the days of actions in Washington
D.C., and in addition she returns with renewed energy,
invigorated and inspired to continue the work of ending the war
and bringing peace to our country and the world.
On March 18th, Navarro marched with the peace group
CODEPINK in an event called "Restore the Constitution"
to shed a light on the assault on our nation's
Constitution by the Administration. From the National
Archives to the Justice Department and the IRS
Building, a group of 300 protesters, some of them
dressed in colonial attire, carried the Preamble of
the Constitution written on a huge banner.
On March 19, the day the war started, Navarro
joined CODEPINK and the larger peace
coalition - under the umbrella of United for Peace and
Justice - to participate in the March of the Dead,
a procession of people wearing black and
skull-like masks, which prompted people to imagine how
it would be if the dead civilians and military personel were to
return to seek justice in D.C. The same day, in front
of the White House, Navarro witnessed a waterboarding
demonstration, a torture technique used on prisoners. This convinced her that
one cannot stand idly by when torture is being
committed in our name and with our money.
Several groups of demonstrators staged demonstrations
in front of the so called "war profiteers":
corporations that are financially benefiting
from continuing the war. A mock "War Profiteer Award"
was given to the company that profited the most from
There was more than 640 events throughout the United
States to mark the fifth anniversary of the war.
Navarro quotes the historian Howard Zinn who wrote in
his book "A Power Governments Cannot Suppress," that
every significant social change in this country
happened not by the government but by a large movement
of people demanding change; and that is why she says,
"there is currently an urgency to increase the numbers
of people in the peace movement to build a critical
mass of people to create change."