Think Pink

Pink snow-women parade in front of the White House. Homeless men
bring blankets, hats, and gloves to pink-clad women on a vigil in
Lafayette Park. Singers, drummers, Catholic nuns, Buddhist monks,
children, people of all ages and colors gather in a spontaneous and
ever-changing theater full of laughter and a lot of hot pink. This
is the face of Code Pink.

On its most prosaic level, Code Pink (Women for Peace) is an
ongoing fast and vigil in front of the White House. It was
initiated November 17 by a diverse group of women of all ages
connected to UnReasonable Women for the Earth, an activist group
founded by Nina Simons, co-founder of the environmental group
Bioneers, and Diane Wilson, a fourth-generation shrimp captain from
Texas (see Utne, Nov./Dec. 2002). The vigil will culminate
on March 8, International Women?s Day, with a march, a concert, and
other activities in Washington, D.C. Code Pink does not compete
with other peace activities. Its vivid, unmistakable color
theme?hot pink, on buttons, clothing, hats, posters, and signs?is
intended to raise the visibility of the movement as a whole.

Code Pink is a serious response to the threats of war, of
economic collapse, of the loss of civil liberties, of environmental
disaster. Yet it?s also a call for a playfulness, spontaneity, and
a sense of respect for what we seek to change that sets it apart
from old-paradigm protest. Code Pink aims to connect people rather
than driving them apart. It resonates with the knowledge that time
is too short and the risks too dire for anything but love.

I became involved in Code Pink (the name borrowed from the code
nurses use in hospitals to alert staff that a baby has been
abducted) last May during a conversation with Diane Wilson on a
rock in the middle of a stream at the first UnReasonable Women
gathering in Ojai, California. I was asking Diane about her life
and how she had become so clear about and committed to her
convictions when, much to my own surprise, I heard myself telling
her that I was going to do a fast with her.

What had prompted me to join her so quickly, I wondered. And
what do I really care about? What can I do to protect what is
precious to me? So when the plan was conceived for a fast and vigil
in front of the White House, I leapt at the chance because it was
time for me to step out of my comfort zone and to start living my
convictions more fully.

Since then, I have seen many glimpses of the potential of this
movement. Just as Diane?s willingness to take a stand galvanized me
to examine my own life, I have now watched hundreds of women (and
men) respond to the power of Code Pink. From the woman who saw my
button, stopped me in our local food co-op, and said her life
mission is to bring women and girls of color to the table around
issues of peace, to the Minnesota group that started with an e-mail
to 10 people and days later had mushroomed to more than 100, there
is an immediate and palpable affinity and ownership. And everyone
who has dipped into this Code Pink phenomenon has had similar
experiences?such is its magic. The color has a lot to do with it?it
is almost impossible not to see and respond to a splash of pink?but
there is also a deep and unmet hunger for peace, justice, and
environmental sanity in this country.

Code Pink activities have been covered in The Washington
Post
and Time, on CBS, C-SPAN, CNN, FOX, and Voice of
America, though none of these mainstream media outlets has actually
spoken its name. Even White House political chief Karl Rove was
heard to say as he passed a clutch of pink women in Washington,
D.C., ?You pink ladies are everywhere?didn?t I see you in Salt Lake
City last week?? Yes, and in Shreveport, Louisiana, and in San
Francisco and New York and rippling rapidly into lots of other
places. Code Pink is an invitation, a benevolent contagion, the
resistance becoming visible to itself. And it depends on you.

When I?or you?wear a Code Pink button, we are telegraphing that
we are willing to be visible. We are communicating our desire to
talk about and act on what really matters to us. And we are looking
for compatriots.

If you start by wearing a button (and, frankly, I?ve never been
one to wear buttons before), you will find yourself thinking and
talking about what is in your heart. It will become easier for
you?and all the people you touch?to find ways to act on your
convictions. Imagine a rising tide of pink: Code Pink?stamped money
and mail, Code Pink pamphlets and flyers, Code Pink armbands and
other regalia sparking conversations on the street, at work, in
coffee shops, everywhere. Imagine that we begin to recognize each
other, to inspire each other, and to give each other courage.
Imagine what could happen if enough of us declare Code Pink.

To get involved with Code Pink, go to
codepink.utne.com.

UTNE
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