How did we get started?
Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans, Diane Wilson, Starhawk and about 100 other women kicked off CODEPINK on November 17, 2002. We set up for a 4-month all-day vigil in front of the White House during the cold of winter.
The vigil inspired people from all walks of life, and from all over the country, to stand for peace. Many organizations joined us, including Global Exchange, Greenpeace, WILPF, WAND, Public Citizen, NOW, Women for Women International and Neighbors for Peace and Justice. The vigil culminated on March 8, International Women’s Day, when we celebrated women as global peacemakers with a week of activities, rallies and a march to encircle the White House in pink.
Over 10,000 people participated, and a group of 25 women, including Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, Susan Griffin, Starhawk, Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin, were arrested for taking our peaceful protest right up to the White House gate.
CODEPINK thus emerged out of a deep desire by a group of American women to stop the United States from invading Iraq. The name CODEPINK plays on the former Bush Administration’s color-coded homeland security alerts — yellow, orange, red — that signaled terrorist threats. While Bush’s color-coded alerts were based on fear and were used to justify violence, the CODEPINK alert is a feisty call for people to “wage peace.”
Since then CODEPINK has become a worldwide network of women and men committed to working for peace and social justice. We have become famous for confronting the warmongers, whether in the halls and hearing rooms of Congress, the national conventions of both the Republicans and Democrats, George Bush’s fundraisers, the publicity tours of Karl Rove, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and others, and Nancy Pelosi’s house.