The following is from Nathaniel Batchelder, director of Oklahoma City’s Peace House:
As thousands of advocates for peace in Iraq gather in Washington DC on Saturday, Jan.27, to participate in national demonstrations, Oklahomans will gather for the same purpose at the Oklahoma State Capitol. A “Rally for Peace in Iraq” will take place from noon to 1 pm, Saturday, on the south steps of the State Capitol plaza, NE 23rd and Lincoln Blvd. “Everyone is invited, regardless of the weather,” said Nathaniel Batchelder, one of the rally organizers.
Speaking at the rally will be former Governor David Walters, State Senators Connie Johnson and Andrew Rice, Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers, mother of an Iraq vet Jeri Reed, father of an Iraq vet who killed himself during his second Iraq tour Warren Henthorn, and Iraq vet Brendon Jackson. Senator Johnson will be announcing a resolution she plans to introduce to the State Legislature opposing escalation in Iraq.
“Many of us opposed this war before it began and have watched with horror the miscalculations which have cost America more than 3000 lives and hundreds of billions of dollars,” said Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Peace House in Oklahoma City.
“Forty nine Oklahomans have been killed in the Iraq conflict,” Batchelder said, “and we know of four Oklahomans who committed suicide during or after their Iraq tours of duty. “It is our sincere intention to honor those who have served, been wounded, or been killed, by calling Congress to bring this war to an end,” Batchelder said. He said that names of Oklahomans killed in the conflict will be read at the rally to honor and respect their sacrifice.
Four Oklahoma City citizens and 16 from Tulsa are travelling to Washington DC to participate in the national demonstration. One is Dr. Katherine Schierman, MD, who recently completed 20-years of service as a doctor in the US Air Force. Shierman has said that now that she is a civilian she wants to oppose the war and express her concerns that the US may be preparing for war in Iran. Wes Bledsoe, an Oklahoma City advocate for protection of the rights of elderly people in care facilities, is also going to Washington DC. “I am offering my voice and services now in the interests of peace,” he said.
Tulsans representing the Tulsa Peace House are driving to Oklahoma City to participate in the State Capitol rally.
Saturday’s rally is sponsored or endorsed by The Peace House, Oklahoma Veterans for Peace, Oklahoma Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Oklahoma Department of Peace Campaign, Oklahoma City Codepink, and Spiritual Walk for Peace. More information is available on the Peace House website www.peacehouseok.org, or by calling 524-5577 or 840-0244 in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City CONTACTS:
Nathaniel Batchelder 424-5577
Darla Shelden 840-0244
Rex Friend 326-7458