Medea Benjamin

Date/Time
Date(s) - 11/20/2016
12:00 am - 2:00 am

Medea Benjamin on Creative Resistance and her latest book

sponsored by Women Against War

5:30-6:30 Community potluck before presentation

Join us in the Sanctuary’s 10th Year Celebration, as we honor the creative resistance of Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the women-led peace group CODEPINK and the human rights group Global Exchange. This is also a celebration of Women Against War’s 10 years of anti-war events at the Sanctuary!

Medea will speak on media activist strategies and her latest book about Saudi Arabia, hot off the press!

More about WAW

Women Against War brings together Capital District women to work for peace. WAW advocates for changed US foreign policies through lobbying, leafleting, vigils, media outreach & educational events. Our efforts in recent years have shed a lot of light locally on the world-power negotiations with Iran, assassinations with US weaponized drones, withdrawal from Afghanistan, support for veterans, military spending, and other important issues.

More about Medea

She has been an advocate for social justice for more than 40 years. Described as “one of America’s most committed — and most effective — fighters for human rights” by New York Newsday, and “one of the high profile leaders of the peace movement” by the Los Angeles Times, she was one of 1,000 exemplary women from 140 countries nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the millions of women who do the essential work of peace worldwide. She received numerous prices, including: the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize from the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Peace Prize by the US Peace Memorial, the Gandhi Peace Award, and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Award. She is a former economist and nutritionist with the United Nations and World Health Organization.


In 2000, she was a Green Party candidate for the California Senate. During the 1990s, Medea focused her efforts on tackling the problem of unfair trade as promoted by the World Trade Organization. Widely credited as the woman who brought Nike to its knees and helped place the issue of sweatshops on the national agenda, Medea was a key player in the campaign that won a $20 million settlement from 27 US clothing retailers for the use of sweatshop labor in Saipan. She also pushed Starbucks and other companies to start carrying fair trade coffee.

Since the September 11, 2001 tragedy,  Medea has been working to promote a U.S. foreign policy that would respect human rights and gain us allies instead of contributing to violence and undermining our international reputation. She has organized many protests against the U.S. interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. Medea has also been on the forefront of the anti-drone movement. Her direct questioning of President Obama during his 2013 foreign policy address, as well as her trips to Pakistan and Yemen, helped shine a light on the innocent people killed by US drone strikes. She published Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control in 2013. She also organized the first-ever international drone summit and lead delegations to Pakistan and Yemen to meet with drone strike victims and family members of Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

Her work for justice in Israel/Palestine includes taking numerous delegations to Gaza after the 2008 Israeli invasion, organizing the Gaza Freedom March in 2010, participating in the Freedom Flotillas and opposing the policies of the Israel lobby group AIPAC. In 2011 she was in Tahrir Square during the Egyptian uprising and In 2012 she was part of a human rights delegation to Bahrain in support of democracy activists; she was tear-gassed, arrested and deported by the Bahraini government. She is presently working on a book on Saudi Arabia and organizing a Saudi Summit in March 2016.

Benjamin is the author of eight books. Her articles appear regularly in outlets such as The Huffington Post, CommonDreams, Alternet, The Other Words, and TeleSUR. Medea can be reached at: medea@codepink.org or @medeabenjamin.

If you’d like to book Medea Benjamin for an event or have questions about an event listed below, please contact Andrea from the DC office at andrea@codepink.org.

What is CODEPINK?

CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs. Join us!
 

What we do

Founded in fall 2002 as a grassroots effort to prevent the US war on Iraq, we continue to organize for justice for Iraqis and to hold war criminals accountable. We actively oppose the continuing U.S. war in Afghanistan, torture, the detention center at Guantanamo, weaponized and spy drones, the prosecution of whistleblowers, U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine and repressive regimes.

How we do it

Rooted in a network of local organizers, online supporters and generous donors, with an emphasis on joy and humor, our tactics include satire, street theatre, creative visuals, civil resistance, and directly challenging powerful decision-makers in government and corporations. And of course, wearing pink!

Why women?

CODEPINK is not exclusively women — we invite men to join us — -but we are particularly eager to see mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters, female workers, students, teachers, healers, artists, writers, singers, poets and all outraged woman rise up and oppose the global militarism.

How did we get started?

Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans, Diane Wilson, Starhawk and about 100 other women kicked off CODEPINK on November 17, 2002. We set up for a 4-month all-day vigil in front of the White House during the cold of winter.

The vigil inspired people from all walks of life, and from all over the country, to stand for peace. Many organizations joined us, including Global Exchange, Greenpeace, WILPF, WAND, Public Citizen, NOW, Women for Women International and Neighbors for Peace and Justice. The vigil culminated on March 8, International Women’s Day, when we celebrated women as global peacemakers with a week of activities, rallies and a march to encircle the White House in pink.

Over 10,000 people participated, and a group of 25 women, including Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, Susan Griffin, Starhawk, Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin, were arrested for taking our peaceful protest right up to the White House gate.
CODEPINK thus emerged out of a deep desire by a group of American women to stop the United States from invading Iraq. The name CODEPINK plays on the former Bush Administration’s color-coded homeland security alerts — yellow, orange, red — that signaled terrorist threats. While Bush’s color-coded alerts were based on fear and were used to justify violence, the CODEPINK alert is a feisty call for people to “wage peace.”

Since then CODEPINK has become a worldwide network of women and men committed to working for peace and social justice. We have become famous for confronting the warmongers, whether in the halls and hearing rooms of Congress, the national conventions of both the Republicans and Democrats, George Bush’s fundraisers, the publicity tours of Karl Rove, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and others, and Nancy Pelosi’s house.

Pink action principles
    •    Nonviolence: We are committed to peaceful means of protest and resolving conflict when executing our actions, in coalition work, and within our internal process and relationships.
    •    Clear Goals: We will define CODEPINK’s unique niche in our community (creative protest, cultivating women’s voices, etc.) and set attainable goals for local projects that will further CODEPINK’s peace mission.
    •    Communication Guidelines:  We write, speak and listen with respect to all.  Disagreements or disappointments are opportunities to practice peaceful and productive communication with each other. We keep our criticisms concise, specific, constructive, and focused on future improvement. We affirm a culture of appreciation, thanking and valuing all our activists and acknowledging donations, co-sponsorships, and other support.
    •     Responsibility and Teamwork:  We work in teams, sharing tasks and responsibilities, and building skills, together. We agree to be responsible for something only when we’re 100% sure we are going to do it.
    •    Diversity and Tolerance: We embrace feminist principals of cooperation, problem-solving, critical thinking, compassion, analysis and processing.  We will speak up against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ageism, and other forms of oppression and prejudice.  We will work towards a deeper understanding of our own power and privileges, and seek to cultivate a diverse local group with connections to the array of social justice groups in our cities. We highly recommend that every activist read this piece about recognizing privilege, entitled “Unpacking the Invisible Backpack.”
    •     Resource Sharing: Our logos, photos, and the downloadable resources on our website are free for local groups to use.  Central staff can help send email alerts for local organizers. Local groups can endorse or cosponsor local events without seeking permission from the central staff. Local groups are autonomous and are encouraged to take on national campaigns.
    •    Messaging: We will work to make the messages on our banners, flyers, and public/ social media statements clear and potent. We aim to amplify our work through positive media coverage  — for example, sending press releases, conducting press calls and liaising at events, providing talking points for participants, media training for local groups, etc.
    •    Global Community: CODEPINK’s work to end the war in Iraq was shared by 250 local groups in the US and a dozen international groups.  The solidarity between CODEPINK-ers in the US and overseas strengthens our work to end US wars and drone strikes, curtail government surveillance, bring justice to war victims, and reduce militarism worldwide. CODEPINK has taken delegations to Cuba, Iran, Israel-Palestine and other conflict zones to promote global and cultural engagement and awareness. We also participate in the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, international forums on war and peace, and other peace and diplomacy-building events.
    •    Long Term Vision: We commit to working for a better world, for the long haul. We want to build what is called a “peace economy”: global community that cultivates a sense of respect for all people, and takes responsibility for the suffering we see in the world. We can begin by strengthening our relationships at home through our interactions and activism.  In the words of CODEPINK Cofounder Medea Benjamin, “Activism is good for our health and spirits—it keeps us engaged, active, upbeat, and passionate. Ending war may take a long time, and we can use that time to inspire ourselves and each other with positive, creative actions that embody the world we want to see!”

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