Temple University affiliates of all ages linked up with over 3,000 people Saturday.
The Human Chain for Peace, a national anti-war movement involving 11 regions across the country, was held in Philadelphia over the weekend. The event was organized by United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of over 1,300 local and national groups who oppose the War in Iraq.
The chain stretched from the Veterans Administration Hospital at 38th and Woodland to 6th and Market St. The march, which began at about 1 p.m., cut off traffic for a short time before it ended at the Independence Visitors Center.
Several Temple organizations braved the rain to attend the event, including the Environmental Club, Student Labor Action Project, Temple College Democrats, Temple Association of University Professionals, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Temple Association of Retired Persons.
Like many others protestors, senior film and media arts major Andrew Mendonca, a member of the Temple College Democrats, got choked up when describing friends
who were currently deployed.
While discussing the current administration, he called President Bush, “King George.”
“The only thing evil needs to triumph over the world is for good men to be
silenced,” Mendonca said.
Several other students voiced their discomfort with the Bush administration
including Kali Acerra, a junior university studies major.
“He made our bed and now we have to lay in it. It’s not fair to put
something like that [the issues surrounding the war] on our entire generation,” she said.
The rally, which lasted for about three hours, included speakers and singers
from all walks of life. Most in attendance expressed anti-war sentiments and their desire for Congress to cut off war funding or consider impeaching Bush.
Al Zappala, father of Sgt. Sherwood Baker who was killed in Baghdad in
2004, came with Gold Star Mothers and Military Families Speak Out. He said
Americans against the war have to give Congress the courage to stop funding
the war by continuing to protest.
Differing from the anti-war expressions of most speakers was the Temple University Student Peace Alliance, a new group on campus committed to methods of non-violence to render social and political change. The group aimed to balance anti-war sentiments with pro-peace spirit and informed protesters of HR 808, a bill in the House of Representatives that calls for a department of peace within the federal government to balance the nation’s Department of Defense.
Art Hochner, a member of TAUP and an associate professor of business and human resources, said every student should express their opinion.
“Doing things collectively has the most effect” he said.
According to Frank Eidman, director of special events at the Independence Visitor Center, more than 200 First Amendment activities per year are scheduled at Independence Mall, a historical site considered to be the birthplace of American democracy.
Sarah Fry can be reached at Sarah.firstname.lastname@example.org