June 29 – students support war resister Lt. Ehren Watada

Report on the event organized by the Campus Antiwar Network and Not In
Our Name in NYC for the national day of action supporting war resister
Lt Ehren Watada on Tuesday:

We had over 50 people outside the Chambers St military recruiting
station in New York, engaged in a number of activities. Many handed
out hundreds of fliers about Lt Watada. Some collected messages of
support for him; over 60 people walking by stopped to write him
postcards expressing their support for his stand, and others signed
petitions. We chanted in front of the recruiting station (chants such
as “They’re our brothers, they’re our sisters, we support war
resisters”) and received considerable support from passersby, both
drivers and pedestrians.

One of the benefits of the postcards — printed specially for the
action, reading “Thank you for saying NO to war in Iraq,” with a peace
sign in the NO and space for people to write their own message — was
that it gave people going by something concrete that they could do to
express their antiwar feelings and make a difference to someone who is
taking a brave stand against the war. This, along with the inspiration
of Lt Watada himself, helped to counter the sense that many antiwar
people have that there is nothing that they can do that will make a
difference. Some people who signed postcards were also students at
Borough of Manhattan Community College, an overwhelmingly working
class and non-white school a block from the recruiting station, who
signed up to get involved with CAN. Since we have tons more postcards
(we ordered a lot in the hopes that there will be many more war
resisters!), perhaps they will want to organize another, similar
action outside the same recruiting station or on their campus.

The mood was summed up well at the end when, during a wrap-up
discussion between participants of what we had accomplished, someone
pointed out that the support we are showing Lt Watada will also raise
the confidence of other soldiers to do the same thing. At that point,
one woman turned to the recruiters — who had been standing outside
their station watching us the whole time — and said, “If you decide
to resist later on, then we’ll support you too.”

– Elizabeth Wrigley-Field
CAN coordinating committee / NYU student