Shortly after I graduated college in 2000, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1325 which mandates women’s equal involvement in conflict resolution. While the U.S. participated in the unanimous passage of that resolution, it has failed to implement it in any of its military interventions. The result? Ten years into the U.S. occupation, Afghanistan remains the most dangerous country in the world for women.
Observing conflict resolution, you can see that when women are equal participants, peace has a chance to flourish. But when Western militaries try to “create peace” solely through the force of their monolingual armed forces, chaos ensues. That is why peace is a feminist issue.
CODEPINK hired me in March and my primary focus has been supporting the development of the Bring Our War Dollars Home Resolution for the US Conference of Mayors. When we announced the campaign, we invited individuals and organizations across the country to help us reach out to mayors to co-sponsor the resolution. This concrete, time-bound project has allowed us to deepen our connection with our fellow peace activists in Maryland’s Fund Our Communities Campaign, Women’s Actions for New Directions, Peace Action, Veterans for Peace, New Priorities Network, US Labor Against the War, Progressive Democrats of America, and many more.
Equally important, the resolution gave peace and justice activists a reason to connect with their mayors. As the resolution states, the financial crisis in the US is directly connected to the decision to continue the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It wasn’t always easy. Everyone from activists to mayors were leery of working directly with CODEPINK. The resolution was often referred to as “the CODEPINK resolution,” and many mayors refused to take a public stand before their conference, fearing association with our audacious organization.
When the original sponsor of the resolution pulled out, I had to quickly reach out to the co-sponsors to find someone willing to submit the resolution. I thank Eugene, Oregon Mayor Kitty Piercy for stepping forward. My only regret during this campaign is that the wonderful mayoral cosponsors who added their support after the submission deadline will not be formally acknowledged by their conference because its rules are both esoteric and not well understood.
You should read the resolution in its entirety – it’s one of the shortest proposed at the US Conference of Mayors, yet it does the best job of framing the particular crisis we face: the wars aren’t making us safer, 6,086 US military members and countless civilians have perished in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our cities are broke. Please note: amendments were added before the resolution passed, reiterating support for veterans and their families and adding direction to the President. Text on website will be updated as soon as official resolution is published by Mayors’ Conference.
We, the citizens of the United States, are demanding that the Administration and Congress end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring the money home to create jobs, rebuild our roads and bridges, fully fund education, and research renewable, sustainable energy. And now, our mayors are amplifying our voices through their conference, and the national media is picking up the drum beat. This is a historic moment. After all, the mayors’ conference has not taken an anti-war position since Vietnam. But our work doesn’t end when the mayors approve the resolution on Monday morning. We must remind President Obama, the Senate, and the House that the entire country expects them to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan quickly and bring the money home for domestic needs. Let’s use the resolution to galvanize more local demonstrations against the wars and to gather more local officials in denouncing endless war and demanding a nation-building program here in the U.S.
It took a village to bring this resolution to the U.S. Conference of Mayors. We thank Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy for submitting the resolution, and the 20 other mayoral co-sponsors for their leadership on the issue. Now let’s use this resolution as a bridge to demand a complete end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
C.J. Minster is the CODEPINK Bring Our War $ Home national organizer. She has a B.A. in Peace & Justice Studies from Wellesley College and previously served on the national and international boards of Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF). Follow her on Twitter @wardollarshome.
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