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News :: Peace & War

Mother's Day for Justice?

Activists gather to celebrate mother's day in Norfolk; local African American activists challenge white peace movement.

Activist and poet Queen Sheba of Norfolk, VA publicly chastized white activists last Saturday for not supporting the work of local African-American activists and for decrying war abroad while ignoring violence, poverty, and racism at home. Queen Sheba was speaking half-way through the annual Mother's Day for Peace and Justice Rally in Norfolk.

The rally drew about 150 people from Norfolk, Charlottesville, and Richmond. Queen Sheba and other members of "Word Up", shared their critique of both white activists and of the empire as part of a 2-hour line up of speakers, musicians and puppetistas. Food Not Bombs served a meal.

After the rally, about 50 people and several large puppets marched about a mile up the road to a Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial and held a closing rally.

As peace rallies go, this one is kid friendly, has interesting speakers, good food and isn't far from the beach.

The march, however, was long and pretty lacadaisical, with most folks tired from the rally. By the time we wrapped it up, it was 6pm, a long time after the 1pm lunch.

This is an important place to be and a good mother's day example, but my hopes for next year include a shorter rally, a livelier march and some concrete way to address both the militarism and the racism of the city of Norfolk. Meanwhile, Queen Sheba's challenge hangs in the air.


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