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County residents join San Francisco peace march

...
County residents join San Francisco peace march

<www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2003/January/19/local/stories/04local.htm>

January 19, 2003
By JEANENE HARLICK
Sentinel staff writer

Omar Kidwell, 81, of Santa Cruz took a careful step with his cane and
kept his eye on the bouncing sun.
Arm and arm with partner Gloria Semeres, 77, Kidwell had a group of
body-pierced men to his right and the smell of pot all around him.
But the couple didn’t mind. As part of the local entourage of peace
marchers, the pair felt solidarity with those nearby and a new sense
of empowerment.
“Even if it doesn’t change (the Bush administration’s mind), at least
we feel we’ve done something,” said Semeres. “It makes me feel
hopeful that so many people feel the same way we do.”
“Hope” was a word oft-heard among some 500 area marchers who
traveled to San Francisco on Saturday to join in a massive anti-war
rally. The event, which drew tens of thousands of people, was
repeated in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and other cities
throughout the nation.
Local activists marched beneath the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition’s
trademark sun held high on a long pole to serve as a helpful
beacon. They joined a crowd noteworthy for its sheer breadth of
diversity with nearly all backgrounds, ages and races included, it
seemed.
“Fairies!” shouted a man in leopard print fur to the gay men behind
him, pulling up alongside the area’s delegation. Replete in ballroom
jewelry, elegant scarves and waving costume fans, the “Radical
Fairies” marched next to locals most of the way.
Old almost outnumbered young in the Santa Cruz crowd. Not far from
Kidwell and Semeres, another elderly couple waved signs and
chanted, their sunspotted, wrinkled skin covered with painted peace
signs. And just in front, a woman with a walker a nonlocal marcher
made her way down Market Street. Further down the street, “The
Raging Grannies of Sonoma County” advanced steadfast.
But the very young were also out in full force, with many wide-eyed
kids sitting on Pop’s shoulders, the best view in the house.
Others too old for the ride climbed trees, light poles and traffic signals
to view the sardined crowd below. Rallyers shook tambourines and
sang old folk songs while trying to keep warm in the cold. Musicians
at street corners kept the rhythm going with hand drums.
“George Bush, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side!” the
crowd chanted. “No blood for oil” was another popular refrain.
“It’s unbelievable, isn’t it it reminds me of the old days,” said one
marcher.
Periodically a wave of whoops and yells spread through the crowd,
wordlessly proclaiming its power.
In fact, with there being little chance the rally will sway Washington,
the march’s biggest payoff seemed to be the empowerment it
brought.
Said Susan Zeman of the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition, who organized
the local company: “We’re going to go home, and we’re going to be
strengthened.”
------------
Contact Jeanene Harlick at jharlick (at) santa-cruz.com
 
 


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