in Black stand in silent vigil each Wednesday from 5:00-6:00 PM
at the East entrance of Burton Barr Library, (1221 N. Central) Central
and McDowell in downtown Phoenix.
Women in Black is an informal group and all women are invited to
join us as they are able. Please wear black when possible. Veils
For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or
Women in Black is an international peace network. Women in Black
is not an organization, but a means of mobilization and a formula
for action. Women in Black vigils were started in 1988 and are now
found in the United States, Israel, England, Italy, Spain, Azerbaijan
and in Yugoslavia. For more information, visit the Women in Black
The Women in Black stand in silent vigil to protest war, rape as
a tool of war, ethnic cleansing and human rights abuses all over
the world. We are silent because mere words cannot express the tragedy
that wars and hatred bring. We refuse to add to the cacophony of
empty statements that are spoken with the best intentions yet may
be erased or go unheard under a passing ambulance or the wound of
a bomb exploding nearby.
Our silence is visible. We invite women to stand with us, reflect
about themselves and women who have been raped, tortured or killed
in concentration camps, women who have disappeared, whose loved
ones have disappeared or have been killed, whose homes have been
demolished. We wear black as a symbol to mourn for all victims of
war, to mourn the destruction of people, nature and the fabric of
to the Security Council of the United Nations
Gila Svirsky, Women in Black and Coalition of Women for Peace
23 October 2002
protesters rally for peace, war alternatives
stand shoulder to shoulder, numbering anywhere from a couple to
more than a dozen, cloaked anonymously in black dresses or slacks
with veils covering their faces, handing out fliers from 4:30 to
5:30 p.m. They have been there every week since Sept. 19. That amounts
to 20 hours of silence.
we are standing against is unspeakable," said Beth Swadener
of Tempe, breaking her silence only at the stroke of 5:30.
in Black is a global network for peace and human rights created
by women in Israel in 1988 to protest the conflict in the Mideast.
The movement has spread to Italy, Spain, the United States, England,
Azerbaijan and Yugoslavia.
purpose of the vigils is to raise awareness of "who are the
victims of war," said participant Carole Edelsky, a professor
at Arizona State University. "So often, it's the poor, women
and, yes, soldiers."
to the Phoenix protesters has been mixed but mostly positive, the
women said. Sometimes children make fun of them. One library patron
pointed a finger at each woman and pretended to shoot her. On a
recent blustery day, another sniped, "I hope you all freeze
to death." But the protesters prefer to remember the young
woman who scrawled "thank you" on a tiny slip of paper
for each woman, or the young man who passed by, read a flier and
gave them a "thumbs up." One sympathizer sat and voiced
her support in a one-sided conversation. And a homeless man handed
them 13 cents, everything he had.
think it's cool," said Christine Tyler, 15, a freshman at St.
Mary's High School, as she left the library last Wednesday. Her
friend, 18-year-old Steve Sullivan, is planning to enlist in the
Marine Corps, but he too commended the women for their stance. "Everybody
has their own opinion," he said. "I'm not offended at
all. It's great they come out and protest."
in Black vigils began in Phoenix with two or three people and grew
as news spread. The same women do not gather every week, but someone
is always posted to hand out fliers, about 300 a day. The women
have little in common except commitment to their message: solidarity
with women around the world. They are educators, homemakers, social
workers, lawyers and saleswomen, and they range in age from teens
librarian Margery Leach is a longtime activist who marched for civil
rights in the 1960s. "We live such harried lives," Leach
said. "There's an hour (each week) when we can think, we can
pray. It's a precious hour." Women in Black is aligned with
the Arizona Alliance for Peace and Justice.
fliers refer to a Web site, www.
azpeace.org, and a phone number, (480) 894-2024. The
women plan to continue their vigils, said Kyrsten Sinema of Phoenix,
"till there's no more war."Reach the reporter at email@example.com
or (602) 444-8597.
Women In Black Website