July 3rd, 2006 5:22 pm
Cindy Sheehan, Dick Gregory, Diane Wilson and hundreds more launch the "Troops Home FAST"
Women for Peace, Global Exchange and Gold Star Families for Peace will announce a historic hunger strike against the war in Iraq. At 5pm, they will sit down in front of the White House to eat their last meal and hold a press conference before beginning the fast at midnight. They will be present in front of the White House every day at 10am, starting on the morning of July 4.
"We've marched, held vigils, lobbied Congress, camped out at Bush's ranch. We've even gone to jail. Now it's time to do more," says peace mom Cindy Sheehan. "While others are celebrating July 4th with barbeques, we'll be showing our patriotism by putting our bodies on the line to bring our troops home."
Cindy Sheehan, legendary faster and comedian Dick Gregory, former army colonel and diplomat Ann Wright, and environmental activist Diane Wilson are among the long-term hunger strikers. Many others will fast for at least two weeks, including Iraq war veteran Geoff Millard, Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, Iraqi Raed Jarrar, and CODEPINK cofounders Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans and Gael Murphy.
Over 2700 celebrities, veterans, mothers, and concerned citizens across the country will also participate in a rolling fast over the summer, fasting as long as they are able and then passing the fast from person to person. Many will fast in solidarity from their hometowns, urging local leaders to stand for peace, including musicians Willie Nelson and Michael Franti, actors Danny Glover, Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon, Gulf War vet Michael McPherson, writer Alice Walker, and labor leader Dolores Huerta.
The organizers call on a long history of fasts for political purposes, claiming their place among the Suffragettes, Mahatmas Gandhi and Cesar Chavez. In honor of this rich history, the fasters will gather at the Gandhi memorial statue a Massachusetts and 21st NW on July 3 at 3pm, then march to Pennsylvania Avenue for the meal and press conference at 5pm.
Diane Wilson, who has engaged in several hunger strikes in her history as an environmental activist, says she will not set an end date to her fast. "My goal is to bring the troops home. I don't know how long I can fast, but I'm making this open-ended," she says. "I plan to take this as far as I've ever taken anything in my 58 years. I fear our future is at stake, and I'm ready to make a major sacrifice."
The rolling fast will last until September 21, International Peace Day, when activists around the country will initiate a week of nonviolent actions against the war as part of the Declaration of Peace.