Tuesday, February 26, 2008

OPC to host "Not One More!"

For Immediate Release:
Contact: evan austin: 746-3750 day/eve
Coleen Ashly: 890-7813 day/640-8478 eve

Ojai Peace Coalition to Host
“Not One More!”

As the 5th anniversary of the war rapidly approaches many community members are feeling astonished at how long the war has gone on. Remember Donald Rumsfeld’s famous prediction in February 2003 of how long the war might last? “It is unknowable how long that conflict [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”

Now five years later and as Americans continue to die, many members of the Ojai Peace Coalition are feeling frustrated at their lack of success in bringing our kids home. “We’ve tried every option open to us as citizens”, said Coleen Ashly, a working single mom and activist residing in Ojai. “We’ve written letters to the editor, continuously contacted our elected officials, joined and formed groups, signed endless petitions, attended demonstrations, vigils, protests, donated money to organizations to try to change the political actions of our leaders and nothing has worked”.

The group’s Director, evan austin, has felt the same frustration. On the first anniversary of the war, he decided to take a bold step and added hash marks for every American Soldier’s death to his Ojai car to serve as a visual testament to the loss of life every day. He thought his protest would be short lived. Now almost four years later, there is no room left on his car, and he has also come to realize that a hash mark does not properly reflect the loss of nearly 4,000 American citizens.

So the group has decided to move forward with an event to honor each and every person who has died In Iraq by creating a living memorial at the fountain in Ojai’s Libbey Park on Friday, March 14th to Sunday, March 16th. During that weekend members of the community will be offered the opportunity to write the names of each Solider who has lost their life in the Iraq war in chalk, on the sidewalk. “We feel this visual action will remind people that the war is still going on and people are still dying every day”, says austin. “It’s important for our group to recognize the human loss and stop looking at body counts. We have lost real people, with real families and they deserve the honor and respect of all communities all over this country. The least we can do is speak their names”.

Individuals are encouraged to attend the event Friday and Saturday from 9am to 3pm and Sunday from 1pm to 7pm. Flag ceremonies conducted by local groups will be held at 9:30am Friday and Saturday and on Sunday at 1:30pm. Groups and Coalitions are encouraged to co-sponsor the event and attend at scheduled times, as groups, to sign names. Public officials and elected office holders are also invited to attend. The event will close Sunday evening with a Candlelight Vigil from 6:00-7:00 pm.

Every person signing will receive a Blue Ribbon for Peace to wear and will have an opportunity to sign a petition to the City of Ojai urging them to adopt a resolution calling for an end to the Iraq War. For more information or to schedule a time for your organization, group, or coalition to attend, please contact evan austin, 746-3750, or Coleen Ashly, 640-8478.

You may also visit www.ojaipeace.blogspot.com for more information.

The press is invited to attend.

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