Northbrook Peace Committee
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What we have done

Rally at the Cannon

On August 12, 2007 we gathered at the howitzer in Freedom Park in Northbrook to listen to veterans and their family members speak out against the war in Iraq.

Waukegan Immigration Rally

On July 16, 2007 we joined with the Hispanic community in Waukegan to protest that city’s anti-immigrant policies.

Independence Day Parade 2007

We marched in the Northbrook 4th of July parade.

We Awarded Another College Scholarship - May 2007

For the third year in a row, we awarded a college scholarship to a graduating senior from Glenbrook North High School. The recipient was selected because of the work he has done for peace and justice. (Left to right – Lee Goodman, recipient David Medansky, Ted Joseph).

We helped organize an interfaith organization

We helped form Interfaith Neighbors to object to inaccurate and offensive portrayals of Muslims in our community. As it’s first action, on May 29, 2007 the group distributed leaflets at an area synagogue asking people to critically evaluate what some so-called experts are saying in lectures they deliver to primarily Jewish audiences.

We dedicated our Fourth Peace Display

On March 17, 2007, as the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approached, we erected a banner at Triangle Park in Northbrook.

Keeping Artillery Out of Northbrook - January 2007

We appeared at a meeting of the Northbrook Village Board and asked that a World War II howitzer that was given to the Village by a veterans’ organization be donated to a museum instead of being displayed on the lawn of the Village Hall. The Peace Committee wanted to prevent a symbol of war from becoming a symbol of Northbrook.

Protecting the Great Lakes - Winter 2006

We helped form Citizens For Lake Safety to oppose the U.S. Coast Guard’s plan to conduct live-fire target practice on the Great Lakes. A number of our members testified against the plan at public hearings the Coast Guard held. After a vigorous two-month campaign we were able to convince the Coast Guard to withdraw its plan. In the photo we are discussing the issue with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Illinois State Representative Karen May.

Independence Day Parade 2006

We marched in the Northbrook 4th of July parade.

Impeachment Petition

On May 5, 2006, we delivered a petition with signatures from all over Illinois to Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Michael Madigan, in support of HJR0125 that calls for the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach President George W. Bush.

Rally and March on Michigan Ave.

On March 18, 2006 we joined with 7,000 people to rally and march on Michigan Avenue in Chicago in observance of the third anniversary of the Iraq War.

We Dedicated Our Third Peace Display

On March 4, 2006 we erected a public display counting down the days until the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.




Rallying For Peace

On February 18, 2006, we were among 175 people who marched with Cindy Sheehan and Juan Torres to the office of Congressman Rahm Emanuel to urge him to help bring an end to the war.


1000th Day of Iraq War

On December 14, 2005 we gave our congressman petitions asking for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Vigil for a Moral Budget

We joined with local clergy to encourage our congressman to vote for a budget that respected human needs and recognized moral values.

Protest Against Racial Profiling

On November 22, 2005 we asked Congressman Mark Kirk to apologize for his comments supporting racial profiling.

Budget Demonstration

On November 16, 2005 we asked our congressman to vote for a budget that helps people here in the U.S. and does not cut support for education and health care.

We Went to Washington, D.C.

On September 24, 2005 we rallied along with more than a quarter of million people from all across America, asking for an end to the war.

We Rallied With Cindy Sheehan

On September 8, 2005 Cindy Sheehan joined with us in a visit to Congressman Mark Kirk’s Deerfield office to ask him to support an end to the War on Iraq.

Public Forum Dedication

We helped our friends in Highland Park dedicate their new public forum. They erected a display of boots and shoes representing military and civilian deaths in the Iraq war.

Vigil With Cindy Sheehan

We held a vigil in solidarity with Cindy Sheehan, who has been camped outside President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas waiting for the President to meet with her to talk about her son’s death in the Iraq war.

July 4, 2005

We marched in the Northbrook Independence Day parade. All along the route people cheered us on.

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We Observed the 2d Anniversary of the War in Iraq

On the second anniversary of the War in Iraq, we joined in a demonstration in Chicago where we placed flowers on a flag-draped coffin. Each flower was attached to the name of someone who has died in the war.

We Observed the Second Anniversary of the Iraq War

Members of our group participated in a peace conference and joined in a vigil protesting the Iraq War, in Rockford, Illinois.

We Dedicated Our Second Peace Display

On January 8, 2005, we erected a “Stop the War” display at Northbrook’s Triangle Park at the corner of Walters and Shermer. In the Chicago SunTimes, Neil Steinberg told of encountering us setting up the display. He titled his column “Leafy Suburban Paradise Turns Out to be Hotbed of Dissent” and said, “Needless to say, ‘STOP THE WAR’ is a naïve sentiment. We can’t just stop the war. We can’t just bring the troops home. Because if we did, Iraq would dissolve into violence and anarchy and…OK, OK, maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all.”

Downtown Vigil

We joined hundreds of others on December 22, 2004 and marched along Michigan Avenue to the Chicago River, holding candles, carrying signs, singing songs, chanting and praying for peace and an end to the war in Iraq.

North Shore Peace March

On December 11, 2004 we marched to Glencoe from Highland Park and from Wilmette, carrying signs urging an end to the war in Iraq. We assembled at Am Shalom and talked about our hopes and plans for the future.

Post-Election Meeting

On November 30, 2004 we met at the Northbrook Public Library to talk about what we should do in the wake of the disappointing reelection of President Bush. Spirits were high, and there was great resolve to continue working both in the political arena and in other ways.

Meeting with Democratic Party

At their invitation, we met with members of the committee that is interviewing candidates to run against incumbent Republican Mark Kirk for Congressman in the 10th District. The district runs north from Wilmette to the state line. Over fifty people engaged in a lively discussion of issues, and talked about channeling our energy into mainstream electoral politics.

Greeting Our Congressman

On September 20, 2003 Congressman Kirk held his first public Town Hall forum in many months. The topic he chose for the forum was "Traffic Congestion." We showed up to let him know we thought there were more pressing issues to discuss, like the deteriorating situation in Iraq. Over twenty people from our group and other area peace organizations sat in the audience with signs that said, "No More Lies." We spoke up and elicited a remarkable statement from the Congressman. When someone asked about pollution caused by SUV’s he said, "If we are going to fight a war for oil in the Middle East," we should do more to conserve energy at home. Our thanks to the Congressman for finally revealing what he thinks the war is about.

4th of July Parade

We marched in the Northbrook Independence Day parade, carrying our Peace Banners and waving to a crowd that cheered us on. The applause and friendly greetings encouraged us to carry on with our work.

Memorial Day Parade

Although we were denied permission to march in Northbrook’s Memorial Day Parade, we observed the solemn day of remembrance from the sidewalk. We did not carry signs identifying ourselves. No one was able to tell from looking at the crowd who was and who was not a member of our committee. That was our message for the day, that we are like everyone else when it comes to honoring and respecting our veterans. We honor them as people, even though we did not support our president’s use of the military in Iraq. As we watched the parade and listened to the speeches, we reflected upon what our military has done, remembered the lives that have been lost on all sides of battles, and contemplated what we as a nation and as individuals will do next.

Voter Registration

More than twenty of our members have been trained as Deputy Registrars, which enables them to register Suburban Cook County residents to vote. Our first registration events were held at Glenbrook North and South High Schools, where we registered over four hundred students.

Freedom Committee Spin-Off

The Northbrook Peace Committee decided it wanted to keep its focus on War and Peace issues. So, some of our members who also wanted to address issues of freedom of speech, religion, privacy, etc. have spun-off a new group, the Northbrook Freedom Committee. The Freedom Committee’s first activity was to make a presentation to the Northbrook Village Board in support of local religious groups who want to be allowed to use their properties for worship services despite restrictions in the local zoning code.

Next-Step Planning

Following the announcement by President Bush on Monday, March 17, 2003 that the U.S. would invade Iraq within 48 hours, and his follow-up on Tuesday that we would invade whether or not Saddam leaves Iraq, 28 of our members gathered at the Northbrook Public Library on very short notice to begin the discussion of what our group should do next. The consensus was that further activities aimed at preventing the invasion were probably futile.

Although at the start of the meeting people were in a very somber and discouraged mood, by the end of the meeting people were looking to the future. Several main areas drew people’s comments.

• We do not get enough information or balanced coverage from the mainstream news outlets.
• We should continue to speak out against U.S. foreign policy in Iraq, because speaking out is the patriotic and proper thing to do.
• We should start now to work for changes in the next Congressional and Presidential elections.
• We should attempt to work even more closely with peace groups in other towns.

Peace Train

110 people boarded the train in Northbrook and other nearby towns to ride the Peace Train into Chicago on Sunday, March 16, 2003. We carried banners, which were sewn together from squares our members decorated, as we marched to the Daley Center Plaza, where we joined with thousands of others to demonstrate against the invasion of Iraq.

Lecture March 2, 2003

Doug Cassel, Director of the Northwestern University for International Human Rights, spoke to over seventy members of our group at the Northbrook Public Library. His topic was the dangers inherent in an American invasion of Iraq. Some of Mr. Cassel's points were these:

• If a ground war in Iraq becomes protracted and reaches Baghdad, there will be thousands of U.S. military and civilian casualties. We may see planeloads of body bags.

• Saddam has shown himself to be a pragmatist who considers his own survival of utmost importance. If Saddam is "cornered," Israel will be highly vulnerable to missile attack. With our ground forces in Baghdad, retaliation by Israel would become problematic if not impossible.

• Because of his strong survival instincts and the nature of his secular regime, Saddam has not trusted religious zealots with his weapons. An invasion by American forces would likely convince Saddam that joining forces with Al Qaeda, or another fanatical terrorist group, is preferable to being defeated by a larger, more imminently dangerous foe, the U.S. The threat of terrorist aggression would increase.

• The case made to invade Iraq has been unconvincing, and the philosophy that promotes the invasion is morally and practicably indefensible. The potential for loss of life make it a choice that is unwise in every way.

Demonstration February 15, 2003

Twenty two of our members joined with millions of people in New York, London, and all across the globe in demonstrating against the invasion of Iraq. The day was significant because it was the day after the United Nations inspectors reported that they had not found any new evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. We stood at an intersection in downtown Northbrook holding signs, chanting, and waving to get across our message that the inspections should continue and that war should not begin. Our efforts were reported on radio and television. Some of our members also joined similar demonstrations sponsored by other local groups that took place in Chicago and other North Shore suburbs.

photo by Zachary Lorden

Visit to Congressman Kirk’s Office

On Friday, January 24 mor than 100 people showed up at the Deerfield office of Congressman Mark Kirk to tell him they opposed the planned invasion of Iraq. This event was organized by the Northbrook Peace Committee and was co-sponsored by North Suburban Women for Peace, Neighbors for Peace, and the Chicago area chapter of Fellowship of Reconciliation. Before the event, Kirk’s office had told us that everyone who showed up would be allowed into their office and would be able to speak their minds. But when we showed up, they refused to let us in and had the police run us off the property.

So, instead of giving our message of peace directly to our congressman, we walked to the corner and stood with our signs in 10-degree weather, as passing motorists honked and waved to show they also opposed the invasion of Iraq. We took the quart containers of oil that we were going to present to Congressman Kirk as a symbolic message that war should not be waged for Iraq’s oil, and arranged them on the grass at the corner in the shape of a peace symbol.

Despite everyone’s dismay that our elected representative would lie to us, hide from us, and refuse to listen to what we had to say, there was a feeling of resolve to keep working for peace. We were especially thrilled to have so many new people joining us. Among our group were students from Glenbrook North High School, Glenbrook South High School, Highland Park High School, New Trier High School, and North Shore Country Day School. People came from Northbrook, Glencoe, Wheeling, Deerfield, Winnetka, Highwood, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Bannockburn, Buffalo Grove, Wilmette, Waukegan, and several other places. The spirit was strong among everyone in attendance.

Make Coffee, Not War Event

About 30 people gathered at Starbucks Coffee in downtown Northbrook on Saturday January 4, 2002. We used cell phones to call our Congressman and Senators. Although the offices were closed, we left messages letting them know we oppose the invasion of Iraq. We tried reaching the President, but the White House doesn’t take phone calls from citizens on weekends.

Greeting President Bush

While President Bush spoke at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Chicago on January 7, 2003, about 250 demonstrators, including folks from Northbrook, Skokie, Wilmette, DuPage County, and all over Chicagoland, stood outside holding signs and protesting the invasion of Iraq. Just as we have found at our events in Northbrook, the crowd included people of all ages. The president may not be listening, but our presence was reported by all the major news outlets, and a member of our group was interviewed briefly on the Channel 9 news.

Outreach to Area Clergy


A representative of our group met with the Northbrook Clergy Association and asked that their members speak from the pulpit in opposition to the invasion of Iraq.

Honk for Peace

On the last shopping weekend before Christmas, 19 of our supporters stood on Lake-Cook Road at the entrance to Northbrook Court Shopping Center with a banner that said "No To War With Iraq" and with other signs inviting passing motorists to honk if they support peace. Several thousand motorists passed by and saw our demonstration. We were very gratified at the number of people who honked and waved to show they also oppose the invasion of Iraq. One car stopped and the passenger shouted excitedly to us "We are from Iraq!"

Coffees for Peace

Recently a couple who were at one of our meetings asked our help in putting together a coffee for the people in her condo building, most of whom are senior citizens. We did and had a wonderful turnout (40 people). The discussion was far-ranging and touched on many important issues. Several people signed on to support our efforts against the invasion.

Due to the success of this meeting, we are encouraging others to hold coffees for peace. If you would like to host a coffee in your building or neighborhood, or for your friends, or if you belong to a club or organization that could host a meeting, please let us know and we will be happy to help however we can. There is no expense, and this is an excellent way to reach out to people who respect your opinions and who will welcome the opportunity to meet at a convenient location. It’s a very pleasant and fulfilling way to expand the opposition to the invasion.

Candlelight Vigil

On December 15, 2002, several members of the Northbrook Peace Committee attended a peace vigil and candlelight procession on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. The event was sponsored by United for Peace, an interfaith group of religious leaders. (See their statement on our website under Statements.) The vigil took place at St. James Cathedral (Episcopal). The church quickly filled to capacity, so some of the roughly 2000 in attendance listened to speakers over loudspeakers on the sidewalk. Well-supplied volunteers distributed candles and programs (with song lyrics!) to all.

Calls to prayer, prayers for peace, and statements were heard from an impressive array of religious leaders. We were energized by the Rev. Dr. Calvin Morris of the Community Renewal Society, heard a call to prayer by Mohammad Jarad of the Council of Islamic Organizations, and then were led in songs. Petitions tucked inside the program allowed participants to sign an "Iraq pledge of resistance" sponsored by The Campaign of Conscience. A Chicago Tribune headline on Monday stated that hundreds inside the church signed those pledges.

As we walked amidst throngs of holiday shoppers down Michigan Avenue, we sang so Chicago could hear as well as see us. There were many home-made signs and banners sporting anti-war slogans. Most of the marchers had candles, although a nippy wind made them very difficult to keep lit. The marchers were a mix of ages, with the majority being in the 40-60 range.

Arriving at Riverside Plaza outside of the Tribune Tower and across from the Wrigley Building, we heard a brief address by Bishop C. Joseph Sprague of the United Methodist Church. He asked the question we have all heard from more cynical friends and family – "Why bother? Isn’t this administration going to war no matter what we say?" His answer was an inspirational message that we ARE making progress. Citing the recent Tribune poll showing that 55% are against a military attack on Iraq, he said we ARE making a difference, that people are hearing us. We must continue our actions, both large and small, to bring attention to this issue and change the minds of others. The event ended with more songs.

Debate

Several of our members attended a debate at New Trier High School in Winnetka on December 12, 2002. The debate was jointly sponsored by the school and by the North Shore Senior Center.

Robert Cleland, a long-time anti-nuclear and peace activist presented the position against invading Iraq. Mr. Cleland stated that the President’s plan to invade was evidence of his administration’s Imperialist inclinations. He spoke at some length about the destructive capabilities of modern warfare enabled by satellite surveillance, targeting, and communications.

Joe Morris, a frequent spokesperson for the Republican Party and conservative causes, presented the position favoring invasion. Mr. Morris likened the present to the situation leading up to World War Two, saying the U.S. should be prepared to respond with force to a "dangerous" world. He said the U.S. has the opportunity, because it is the only remaining military superpower, to restructure the world’s governments the way it wants.

Two New Trier students who are involved in the school’s debate program gave short presentations summarizing the first speakers. The speakers took several questions from people in the audience. The presentations were very well prepared and presented.

Lecture

On December 7, 2002, the anniversary of the invasion at Pearl Harbor and the day that Iraq turned over its inventory of weapons to the U.N., we assembled for a short meeting in Northbrook and then joined the North Suburban Peace Initiative (an Evanston based group) for a program at the North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield. The speaker was David Cortright, PhD, president of the Fourth Freedom Forum (www.fourthfreedom.org) an independent foreign policy think tank whose goal is to create a more civilized world based on the force of law rather than the law of force. Mr. Cortright, is a visiting faculty member of the Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and is the author of several books about peace and justice issues.

Mr. Cortright summarized a report he recently published entitled "Winning Without War: Sensible Security Options for Dealing With Iraq". The report states that over the past decade, UN weapons inspections, sanctions, and military deterrence have reduced the threat that Iraq can or will use nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and ballistic missiles. Furthermore, nonmilitary means are available for protecting against aggressive action by Iraq. These include:

Improved monitoring of Iraq’s borders
Advanced monitoring technology
Establishing sanctions assistance missions
Improved cargo monitoring at the port of Aqaba
Incentives to gain cooperation of Iraq’s trading partners
Penalizing arms embargo violations
Tightening controls on Iraqi oil marketing
Requiring Iraqi oil purchasers to submit financial reports
Control or shut down of the Syria-Iraq pipeline
Strengthening collective deterrence against Iraqi aggression

Mr. Cortright also answered questions from the audience.

The program concluded with an open exchange, during which heard from others who are active in this locale.

Our First Rally

On Sunday November 3, 2002, fifty-five people got together and marched through Northbrook’s downtown shopping area. (This may have been the first-ever demonstration in Northbrook on a controversial issue!) Some of the signs we carried said:

"Make Sense, Not War"
"Patriots for Peace"
"Hands of Peace not Arms of War"’
"U.S. Be a Leader, Not a Rogue Nation"
"No War, No Way."

After the march we met at the Northbrook Public Library for an open forum. Some of the concerns expressed by individuals were:

• Invasion will cause death and suffering for innocent, powerless civilians in Iraq.
• The U.S. will have a difficult time "winning" the war.
• The war is not moral and is not a just war.
• The expense of the war will damage our fragile economy and will drain off money that could be better spent.
• The invasion is really about oil.
• President Bush is seeking revenge for Saddam’s threats against Bush’s father.
• If attacked, Saddam will attack Israel.
• Saddam will retaliate using biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.
• A preemptive attack by the U.S. would violate international law.
• The U.S. has not exhausted non-military options.
• War could lead to more terrorist attacks in the Middle East and in the U.S.
• Invasion will resurrect the draft.
• We will not be able to find Saddam.
• Whoever replaces Saddam may be just as bad, or worse.
• The U.S. will not adequately rebuild what it destroys.
• Our military will be in Iraq for years after the war.
• The U.S. will lose credibility with other countries.
• The invasion will undermine the U.N.
• The war is being forced on the American people.
• The U.S. Congress has abdicated its responsibilities and turned them over to the President.
• Iraq is no more of a threat now than at any time since the end of Desert Storm.

The consensus was that we should continue to work individually and as a group to oppose the invasion.

Display in the Park

\During November, we erected a coffin-shaped sign with the message "War = Death" in Triangle Park facing the Metra train station in Northbrook. The sign was flanked by American and Iraqi flags. The display was vandalized on seven occasions.

The display was intended to focus viewers’ attention on one central reality of war. No matter what else war is intended to do, it is deliberate killing. Comments about the display have been both positive and negative, as would be expected of an evocative piece of public art. Among the opinions expressed in letters to the editor of the Northbrook Star were the following:

"I am appalled that they would use public property to display their selfishness."

"Please do us all a favor and remove the disgraceful casket and Iraqi flag from our beloved Northbrook triangle. It shows a lack of respect for our community, our country and mostly our service men and women."

"It is a time to support the administration and our troops overseas, not a time for anti-war rhetoric."

The paper has run several articles about the display, and has also recently run a letter opposing the war:

"Now is not the time for panic and unilateral imperialism on the world stage or at home…Let us reenergize our great potential for diplomacy in the Middle East by working toward a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis rather than running off to war with Saddam Hussein."

The Chicago Tribune ran an article "Peace display sets off uproar."

The display seems to have served its intended purpose.

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Northbrook Peace Committee