The Declaration of Peace Campaign ~
Delegation Makes Anti-war Presentations Despite Being Denied Access to Sodrel's Office
September 18, 2006
Despite being denied entry to Congressman Mike Sodrel's Bloomington regional office, a delegation of Indiana 's 9th Congressional District constituents made informed and heartfelt anti-war presentations to Sodrel's Deputy Chief of Staff, Chris Crabtree. The meeting took place on Monday, September 18, 2006 at 1:30 p.m. on the front porch of Sodrel's regional office, 812 South Walnut Street, Bloomington .
The purpose of the visit was:
· to deliver over 4,450 signatures collected in support of House Concurrent Resolution 35 (H.Con.Res. 35), calling for ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq, by developing and implementing a plan for U.S. troop withdrawal;
· to state, through numerous presentations, the wrongness of continuing the present course of U.S. policy in Iraq ; and
· to remain in the Congressman's office until a signed copy of the Declaration of Peace Congressional Pledge had been received from Congressman Mike Sodrel.
On the rainy Monday afternoon, delegation members came together in front of Sodrel's office, gathering signatures on the letter to be presented to Sodrel, and gathering thoughts in expectation of more than an hour of presentations and dialogue. After ringing the doorbell, the "End the War" delegation of 23 persons was met, not by a welcoming invitation to enter the office, but, by Crabtree coming around the side of the building saying, "We'll meet out here. I don't want you camping out on the office floor tonight."
The (District of Columbia) Capitol Police had, obviously, been monitoring the Declaration of Peace website, and were aware of this planned action. Capitol Police shared with Bloomington , Indiana police that the delegation intended to remain indefinitely in the Congressman's office. Bloomington police in turn informed Sodrel's office.
Twenty members of the "End the War" delegation made thoughtful and impassioned presentations on the office's covered porch, while it rained throughout the 75 minutes with Sodrel's staff.
After not receiving any commitments from Congressman Sodrel's staff that the Congressman would support "Out of Iraq" legislation or initiatives, two-thirds of the delegation departed.
Eight members of the anti-war group remained holding large banners on the office property, stating: "End the U.S. Occupation of Iraq," "Out of Iraq Now!" and "Stop Killing the Children of Iraq " until after the office was closed at 5:20 p.m.
Sodrel's deputy chief of staff said the group was welcome to spend the night on the porch. He had no intention to call the police or allow a news incident to occur from this visitation. The remaining activists left at 5:25 p.m. after standing in the rain for nearly three hours.
Bloomington Peace Action Coalition organizer, Timothy Baer said about the visit and intended 'sit-in', "We made our presentations, which were bold and compelling and informative. We showed our commitment to ending this illegal, immoral war and occupation. Despite our diligent efforts, we were not allowed to meet with our Congressman directly, and we did not receive from Sodrel, his signature on the Declaration of Peace Congressional Pledge. However, many among us were inspired, by each other's presentations and resolve, to commit to deeper involvement. Ideas began being excitedly shared about future actions, as we stood in the rain, holding our banners. We got good coverage from the independent media, but regrettably, not from mainstream media."
Organizer, Bloomington Peace Action Coalition
Local organizer, The Declaration of Peace Campaign
Phone: (812) 336-0360