Camp Democracy Set Stage for November Elections
By Melody Drnach, Action Vice President
NOW staff photo by Jennifer Roystone
Panelists at Camp Democracy (including NOW Executive Vice President Olga Vives, third from right) answer participants' questions about achieving peace at home and abroad
NOW, in coalition with a number of peace organizations and anti-war groups, hosted Camp Democracy in Washington, D.C., during the month of September. Over the course of several weeks, activists called on Congress and the Bush administration to end the violence in Iraq, to halt spending on weapons and bombs, and to rebuild Iraq using Iraqi labor and Iraqi companies.
NOW and CodePink co-sponsored events to highlight the devastating effects of the war in Iraq, appealing for a serious, civilian-led inquiry into the rape and sexual assault of women serving in the military and of Iraqi women and girls. The nearly month-long camp ended with a rush-hour march in the streets of Washington declaring "Give Peace a Vote."
Voters heard the call, demanding that the candidates they supported and worked to elect would agree to a prompt timetable for withdrawal and closure of bases, a peace process for security, reconstruction, and reconciliation and to shift the funding of the war to meeting human needs both in the United States and in Iraq.
"Reasonable people believed that voting for candidates committed to these principles would bring us closer to much needed change in our country," says Melody Drnach, Action Vice-President. "We spent ample time talking to Camp Democracy visitors about the importance of voting for peace, not only for the current war in Iraq, but in an effort to end all wars and conflicts. NOW activists' efforts to turn out peace voters in November paid off — for our nation and the world."
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