Fasting outside Sen. Feinstein’s Office

Posted by on July 7th, 2006

Day #1 & 2
Thursday, July 6

Today was our first day fasting outside our senator, Dianne Feinstein's office in downtown San Francisco. We had about 10-20 fasters throughout the day, and we lined the gate behind our vigil with pink banners and peace ribbons. We put out a big pink satin fabric and invited people to sign it with messages of peace that we can deliver to Feinstein. We put out a table with buttons and clipboards with the Voters for Peace pledge. Jes set up the Gandhi puppet prominently on the corner. Sureya and her 16 year old son, Jheeran, joined us. In the morning we had several TV stations visit our vigil, and one station, Channel 4, stayed for an hour, following me around throughout my interactions with passersby, and filming the interaction between Iraq war vet and peace activist Eli Painted Crow, and a bike messenger guy, who was also a military vet and initially was very opposed to our presence, and then had a really long discussion with us about how angry he is about the war. In the afternoon, Eli got on the microphone and started speaking to San Franciscans about her experiences in war, her life teachings, and why it is important to stand up for peace. When Eli speaks, people listen. In the late afternoon, Univision, the Spanish speaking news station, came out and interviewed us again. I got some food poisoning, I believe from a spoiled juice, as I was fasting, and I was throwing up between interviews and finally went home. I guess that was a cleansing way to begin my fast—getting it all out of my system! I slept very well that night, and dreamed that Gandhi was alive and walking through the streets of SF with us.

Day #2
Friday, July 7

Today we were outside Senator Feinstein's office for our second day of the vigil. We met many interesting people who work in the area or are tourists from faraway places. We collected hundreds of signatures on the Voters for Peace pledge.

We have realized two things about our fast after our first two days: we were so surprised by how many people were eager to sign onto our Voters for Peace pledge; and we had transformative conversations with people from all walks of life, including our new friend Sam who sells the Street Sheet and wore a pink shirt to our vigil on the second day, a tall man in a suit who saw the vigil and then rushed away and returned an hour later with photocopied pages from a book with essays on Gandhi by Tolstoy, a group of young people from the Ukraine who are working in SF for the summer and shared their experiences of anti-war rallies in their country with us, and a man who took out his cell phone and called Feinstein's office to tell her to stop supporting the war right there on the spot. We've also discovered a lot of apathy in our fellow San Franciscans, and frankly, some folks have no hope in Feinstein, saying that she's married to a war profiteer and she could care less about her constituents. Others are less informed on Feinstein's record, and more inclined to tell us that individually we don't have the power to change anything. One woman said that what Cindy did at Crawford last summer was really something, but now with the Bush admin. and the corporate media, nothing's going to change. These kinds of interactions really enforce my own beliefs about how important it is to not give into the fear-mongering this administration has become so good at. That's my favorite thing about CODEPINK—brave women (and allies) around the country standing up to the fear-based color-coded alerts and reclaiming the vibrant power of pink protest.

Midday we were joined by Marie, the CODEPINK Lake Tahoe coordinator, who took the train all the way down to spend time with us. Marie brought banners and a tea pot with green tea that she made with the heat of the sun. Marie always brings creativity and high energy to any action and we were very lucky to have her with us. Irene brought fresh lemons from her tree for everyone to put in their water. This is how our vigil has been—people spontaneously bring exactly what we need. I put out an email urgently asking people to help with the last minute details for our kick off action on Wednesday, and it all came together: Janet got the food, Vicki coordinated the speakers, Sam and Erin made press calls, Eli wrote a press release and picked up supplies, In the evening Sureya and I were interviewed by IndyBay for an hour. You can hear us on air by clicking here.