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Thousands show support for Lee’s vote

By Yunji de Nies, Special to the Daily Planet
Monday October 22, 2001

Congresswoman opposed U.S. military action 


More than 2,000 people gathered at Frank Ogawa Plaza yesterday afternoon to rally in support of U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, who cast the lone vote Sept. 14 opposing the open-ended use of military force in the United States’ war against terrorism. 

The People’s Non-Violent Response Coalition of the East Bay, an ad-hoc group of East Bay elected officials, community leaders, artists and residents, organized the event, calling it, “A Community Gathering to Express Appreciation for Barbara Lee and her Courageous Vote.”  

Event organizer and Oakland City Councilmember Nancy Nadel said the gathering was, “to thank Barbara Lee for her courageous vote.” The event sought to support all families and innocent victims affected by the Sept. 11 attacks, including those in Afghanistan who are now under a military campaign that the United States began Oct. 7, Nadel said. 

Nadel said that the gathering was also intended to present alternatives to war, to end racial profiling of Arab-Americans and to honor the right to dissent. 

At the gathering, people held signs that read, “Barbara Lee for President,” as the American and world flag flew side by side. A variety of community leaders, including the Rev. Eloise Oliver of the East Bay Church of Religious Science, the Rev. Alfred Smith of Allen Temple Baptist Church, as well as Barbara Lee herself, spoke about the need for a mindful, rather than what Oliver termed, “impulsive” response. 

“God Bless you Barbara Lee for your courage to speak the truth, and your willingness to be all that God has designed you to be,” Oliver said. 

Celebrities, including Pulitzer-prize winning author Alice Walker and actor Danny Glover, also praised Lee’s vote. Glover read a Langston Hughes poem and ended by saying, “Thank you Barbara Lee for voting your conscience, for standing up for justice.”