Members of Chelsea Uniting Against the War, a group of young women from the Chelsea Collaborative, peace activists from neighboring communities, Rhode Island and Vermont filled a bus from Chelsea City Hall to attend the Women’s March on the Pentagon on October 21. Other Chelsea residents came in large vans or cars.
The march was organized by Cindy Sheehan whose commitment against war and the military was sparked after the death of her first born son, Casey Austin Sheehan, an Army Specialist, who was killed in combat in Iraq in 2004. In an effort to talk to the President Bush, who refused to meet with her and to express her opposition to war, Cindy Sheehan set up camp outside of Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas in 2005. For three years, tens of thousands of people from the U.S. and internationally came to Camp Casey to show their support .
Cindy Sheehan’s activism has not wavered. She chose Oct. 21, 2018, as the date for women and others to march on the Pentagon to mark the 51st anniversary of the first March on the Pentagon. In 1967 over 50,000 people gathered at the Pentagon to demand and end to the war in Vietnam and to bring the troops home. The demands of this year’s march included the complete end of wars abroad, closure of foreign military bases, slashing of the Pentagon budget and the funding of healthy social programs and education.
Two women from Chelsea Uniting Against the War spoke to the crowd about the grass roots successful anti-military recruitment campaign at Chelsea High School. Every year since 2004 at the beginning of the school year, members of Chelsea Uniting Against the War welcome students and hand out English and Spanish leaflets in English and Spanish to each of the 1200 students to remind them of their right to withhold their contact information from military recruiters. In 2017, 70-percent of the seniors exercised their right to opt-out. Interest was expressed by many people in the audience to adopt Chelsea Uniting Against the War’s approach to educating students in their local high schools.
For some activists, the Women’s March on the Pentagon was their first national protest in the U.S.
As Juitiza Torres, a youth from the Chelsea Collaborative stated, “As a young Latina this march and the people involved encourages me to speak up and talk about what really needs to be talked about.” Dalia Juarez added “It was my first time in D.C. It felt like an amazing experience for me and it felt empowering to be there for something I feel very strongly about. It was an overall great experience to start the (school) year.”
The work of Chelsea Against the War continues with monthly meetings and events. For more information about Chelsea Uniting Against the War, contact us on FaceBook at ChelseaUnitingAgaistthe War (note there is an “n”missing) or [email protected] or 617-884-5132.
For more photos or to learn more about the Women’s March on the Pentagon, go to MarchonPentagon.com.