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Say Yes to Peace Solidarity Vigil to Be Held
at UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: March 7, 2006

EAU CLAIRE — In conjunction with International Women's Day, several campus groups are sponsoring a Say Yes to Peace Solidarity Vigil at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 8, at the clock tower on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Central Campus Mall.

The event will include a candlelight vigil, music and art, poetry and prose readings, and a chance to write letters and make donations for Iraqi women. Participants will also be asked to join the CODEPINK global call for 100,000 petition signatures to call for peace.

According to Karen Pope, a member of the UW-Eau Claire Staff and Faculty for Peace and Justice, participants in Eau Claire will join thousands of women around the globe in calling for an end to the Iraq war and for full participation by women in the peacemaking process. They are among more than 50,000 women who have signed the Women Say No to War Urgent Call for Peace, which will be delivered to the White House as well as U.S. embassies around the world on International Women's Day.

"Iraqi women have paid a huge price for the war in their country, and this is an opportunity for us to raise our voices in unison with theirs to call for an end to the escalating spiral of violence," said Pope. "The majority of Iraqis and Americans believe it's time for the US military to come home from Iraq. Now we call on our elected leaders to listen to the will of the people."

Women Say No to War events are being held in more than 50 U.S. cities and a dozen countries, including Australia, England, Canada, Italy, Egypt and Pakistan. They range from candlelight vigils to peace walks to protests outside Congressional offices and U.S. embassies. In Washington, D.C., a delegation of Iraqi women will join with American women, including Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan, in calling for the U.S. troops to be brought home from Iraq.

The events are part of the Women Say No to War campaign launched in January by the women's peace group CODEPINK. Supporters include Nobel Prize winners Helen Caldicott and Rigoberto Menchu; actors/performers Susan Sarandon, Eve Ensler, and Margaret Cho; authors Arundhati Roy, Alice Walker and Barbara Ehrenreich; and elected officials such as Hugo Chavez, U.S. Congresswomen Barbara Lee, Canadian Member of Parliament Libby Davies, and European Parliament members Caroline Lucas and Monica Frassoni. Iraqi women endorsers include Yanar Mohammed of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq and Hana Ibrahim of Iraqi Women's Will.

The Women Say No to War Campaign urges a shift in strategy in Iraq, from a military model to a conflict resolution model. It calls for a withdrawal of all foreign troops and foreign fighters from Iraq, for the full representation of women in the peacemaking process, and for a commitment to women's full equality in the post-war Iraq.

Local sponsors of the event include the Women's and Gender Equity Center, Students in Black, the Progressive Student Association, UW-Eau Claire Staff and Faculty for Peace and Justice, and Women in Black.

For more information, contact Karen Pope at 836-2959 or popekj@uwec.edu.

-30-

KP/NW

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