Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rowdy in Pink

In the days before I had time to blog, I worked at a very cool conference center in Austin that threw some flat out amazing events. As manager of the team that pulled every one of those events right out of a magician's hat, I must honestly confess today that there were very few names more feared than this one when it came time to coordinate a meeting plan: Jodie Evans. She's the co-founder of:

Clearly, I had no complaint with the work of Code Pink and I was beyond delighted to be part of bringing the likes of Molly Ivins and Anne Lamott to our beautiful Texas hilltop when the group of peace advocates gathered. But, I'm here to tell you, as an eyewitness - these are not your laid back peace-niks. These women, lined up behind the energy and presence that is Jodie Evans, are demanding and wild and stubborn and just plain rowdy. Making a 3-day conference plan that fit into the little boxes of my banquet event orders and production forms was just not going to happen with this bunch. I spent the duration of both 3-day events we hosted with Code Pink wondering what had hit me and what was coming next.

Guess who got a dose of Jodie Evans last week? President Obama. And I think he had it coming.

Jodie had just returned from 10-days in Afghanistan, where she talked to people - real Afghans - about their visions for peace. In particular, Jodie wanted to hear from women. She came back to the US with thousands of signatures from those women...all of them asking the President of the United States to stop fanning the flames of destruction that are ruining their lives. You know what she did with the signatures? She bought herself a ticket to a pricey fundraiser...$15,000 for dinner in downtown San Francisco and a photo op with the President. Instead of a ball gown, Jodie wore a pink t-shirt with "End the Afghan Quigmire" stenciled on it. And, she had her moment with the President. It went something like this:
Jodie: The women there (Afghanistan) are really upset that they are not at the negotiating table.
President: What do you mean, I have Hillary?
Jodie: No the Afghan women want to be at the negotiating table.
President: Oh.
Jodie: I am here to remind you to keep your promises for peace.
President: You know we are not going to end the problem in Afghanistan any time soon.
Jodie: Actually you’re not going to solve the problem, they are.
Consider yourself introduced to Jodie Evans.

You know what? The peace movement is - perhaps - not necessarily peaceful. It may not be particularly calm and organized, timid or very soft-spoken. It mostly likely should be unruly...outside the lines and boxes and usual thinking and polite talking. Because peace takes courage. To put aside guns and walk into a place known to be hostile with nothing more than a plan to stay the course until the peace is successfully waged...that takes some guts. Ask the women of Liberia how it goes.

Today, you can log onto the Code Pink facebook causes page and pledge $10 to begin a run at sustainable peace in Afghanistan: $10 will pay for one of these critical services: * Food for one woman for 7 days * Medical care for one woman for one month * One dress for one woman * A young girl's school tuition for 15 days.

I am grateful for the gutsy women dressed in pink who are not afraid to speak their minds with congressmen/women, presidents, generals, or people in war weary countries. And I'm looking over my shoulder in hopes of finding Jodie Evans, in a wave of pink, stirring up life all around us.
Jodie Evans


Darlene Hello said...

WOW, thanks for introducing us to this amazing woman. Why is it that through the eyes of many men waging peace is a sign of weakness? Some of this is the differences in the way we deal with conflict as men and women. I do believe that most women of the world are more interested in peace for the simple reasons of love of family, while men are far more concerned with how something will appear politically or threaten their power. Let's pray for a new awakening of women worldwide to take up the cause of peace simply as a way to protect all those we love.

gay said...

Jodie must have made quite the impression on you. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

For Darlene - I am hope for an awakening of all people.

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