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The Daily Californian

National Women's Group Fights War With the Color Pink

Tamara Bartlett

For most, the color pink may be associated with spring flowers or newborn baby girls. But for members of the women's peace organization Code Pink, the color pink stands as a symbol for ending the war in Iraq.

"(We're) reclaiming pink as a powerful women's peace color," said Zanne Joi, a Code Pink organizer and activist in the San Francisco Bay Area chapter.0529 01

Code Pink, a grassroots women's peace organization, was started five years ago after the U.S. government issued the Homeland Security Advisory System, which color-coded threat levels within the U.S.

A group of women created their own color code by developing Code Pink as "a call to women all over the world to step forward, take over and to work for peace," Joi said.

Among the group's activities, Code Pink's San Francisco Bay Area chapter is involved in Pelosi Watch, an event held on the weekends in which participants camp out in front of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's (D-Ca) San Francisco residence in an effort to urge Pelosi to take a strong stance against the war.

The chapter also puts on the Passionate Hot Pink Rush Hour Bannering in Berkeley where members display banners on the University Avenue footbridge every Friday morning to reach commuters.

The event is called "passionate hot pink," because members are "passionately working to end war," Joi said.

While local Code Pink members create unique activities such as bannering, the chapter also joins in a weekly vigil every Wednesday evening with other Code Pink chapters across the nation to stop the war in Iraq and remember those who died in battle.

Code Pink also operates on a national level as the organization has a house in Washington, D.C. which is open to all members.

The two-story, five-bedroom house was given to the activists by an anonymous donor who contributed the rent for a year, Joi said.


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Code Pink activists moved into the house March 1 with some activists living in it full-time and others visiting for a short time.

The house, which is less than a mile from the Capitol, is used by the activists as a base from which they speak directly with Congressmembers, the military and other groups visiting Washington, D.C.

"D.C. is such the power center of our country," Joi said. "Everday, you have the power to influence so many people from so many walks of life."

While the organization has received a strong show of support through the anonymous donor and individual participation in local chapters, the response to Code Pink activities has not always been positive.

"Code Pink has a bad name because we act up and get in the media," said group member Kathleen Greene.

A number of Code Pink members were arrested in 2003, for example, when the organization led a march in Washington D.C. against the invasion of Iraq.

Despite the mixed responses, Joi said the group will continue to fight against war, joining other peace organizations in the "summer of protests" where peace organizations will continuously protest for peace.

"Women are much more likely to use words, value collaboration and talk things out," Joi said. "Those people who think we need war to resolve things, they need to step down and step away."

Tamara Bartlett is an assistant news editor. Contact her at

© 2007 The Daily Californian

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