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ISSUE 116 VOL 9 PUBLISHED 11/15/2002

Peaceful ambition: Community gathers for anti-war protest

By Julie Gunderson
News Editor

Friday, November 15, 2002

As one of the most influential black musicians of the 1960’s, Marvin Gaye’s famous lyrics "war is not the answer," spurred on a nation divided over military action in Southeast Asia.

Four decades later, with a new international conflict on the horizon, Americans are still divided when it comes to the subject of war.

Students and faculty from St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges, along with Northfield community members who agreed with Gaye’s anti-war motto, rallied for peace in Northfield’s Bridge Square on Nov. 9.

St. Olaf’s Peace and Justice organization, Carleton’s Social Justice movement, and Northfield’s People for Peace and Goodwill (PPG) organized the rally, which drew around 300 protesters.

An estimated 30 St. Olaf students, faculty,and community members gathered in Fireside Lounge to march in a procession to the rally in Bridge Square.

Kaitlin Boyce ‘05, one of the event’s organizers, hailed the rally as being a success.

"It was great way to draw the community together," Boyce said. "There was such a peaceful and inviting atmosphere. We stood shoulder-to-shoulder completely surrounding Bridge Square, inviting those that passed by to join us, even if that only meant with their thoughts."

The event was designed to draw the community together.

"We didn’t call it a protest against ‘Bush’s War,’" Boyce said. "It was just an opportunity for those who are against the war for whatever reasons to come together and rally for peace."

At the rally, Gates Avenue, a local band provided entertainment through musical accompaniment.

A lineup of speakers also addressed the protesters, of their hope for world peace and encouraged supporters of peace to not give up.

Phil Steger, the executive director of Friends for a Non-Violent World, spoke to the crowd after just having returned from his third trip to Iraq.

Chante Wolf and ex-military personnel who served in the Air Force during the Gulf War, John Maus a retired professor, and Phil Stoltzfus, a current faculty member and founder of the PPG, also spoke during the rally.

Students who participated in the rally agreed that the speakers delivered a good message and brought energy to the rally.

"The speakers were very dynamic and passionate," Elizabeth Henke ’05 said. "I feel very lucky to be here surrounded by these wonderful educators who are giving us such a great education on world affairs and how to deal with conflict peacefully."

The rally was started with a peace vigil of 15 minutes of silence.

The vigil, started by the PPG, has been taking place every Saturday at noon in Bridge Square since last year.

Boyce said she was encouraged by the growing peace movement on campus and within the Northfield community.

"It was something [peace movement] that I didn’t see at all last year," Boyce said. "The teach-in we had on Iraq earlier this year went very well, and I think that people just have a general desire to educate themselves and start looking at the world differently."

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