Monday, March 20, 2006

Successful rally and meditation vigil

My volunteer work for Portland Buddhist Peace Fellowship has been keeping me busy lately. Yesterday we put our own small effort into the Portland rally, End the War, Begin the Peace with a meditation vigil.

I was just looking online to see what the media had to say about the march yesterday. While all accounts say "8-10,000 people," several people I talked to said it had to be more like 15-20,000. Myself, I had no clue because I stayed at the opposite end from the stage all day, at our meditation vigil. What I really liked about the coverage is that it is much more friendly to us peacemongers. They take care to show we are not marginal, that many mainstream citizens were out there saying this war is wrong, end it now and begin the peace.

Our group has a sweet little cameo. Thirty seconds into this segment on kgw, just as the reporter says "it's a sentiment shared by many Americans," there is a few seconds where the camera shows our banner in the march. One of our members bobs with hands palm to palm in a quick bow. (I did not march, but stayed behind with the meditation vigil.)

I have had several people thank me for hosting the meditation vigil (who did not themselves sit). A person told me today that it was "very beautiful". She was on the green fundraiser team, so she couldn't join us. I am grateful to all who participated and helped create a mobile zendo, a sweet container of calm and peace. At one point we had 13 or 14 people participating, including a couple of children. There were about 2 dozen people that came and went.

Today, I helped provide support downtown as a vibeswatcher for a small gathering of support across from the Federal Building in Terry Schrunk Plaza. While supporting clergy gave statements in a press conference, the main event happened high up in the Federal Building at Ron Wyden's office. Fifteen people trickled in over the space of a half hour, heading up to his office, where they regrouped and at 11:30 am entered with a petition for Senator Wyden. They carried with them this petition. (If you haven't seen this petition, do follow the link. It is a beautiful bit of lobbying for peace.)

Since they couldn't be sure they could all get in, the civil resisters had several scenarios they were prepared to deal with. As it turned out, they all got in to the office, where they were met by the Senator's chief of staff. They had a short conversation, were put in a conference room, and told a meeting with the Senator would not take place. They were also told that they would be arrested at 5 pm. (closing time) So as of this moment, my friend Tina, among others, is likely being booked, and I hear that since it is late in the day, will not likely be released tonight.

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