GTU Students Lead Mother’s Day Protest of Iraq War

Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday May 12, 2006

“While some mothers will be receiving flowers on Mother’s Day, there will be those who will be in tears.” 

With these words began the Mother’s Day Hour of Mourning and Reflection, observed 

in prayerful solidarity with all mothers impacted by the war in Iraq on the San Francisco City Hall Steps on Wednesday. 

The rally was led by students from Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness from City Hall to the War Memorial Veterans Building garden in San Francisco. 

The rally featured 13 giant saint and prophet puppets. Created by seminarians at Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union, the project was part of the GTU class, “Liberation Art: Saints and Prophets in the World.”  

According to Sally Hindman, associate faculty member, “The class looked at how liberation theology might enter into the arts—inspiring faith-based art for social justice in solidarity with those on the margins. It culminated in the decision of class participants to work with formerly homeless seniors from St. Mary’s Center in Oakland and Latino immigrant workers in making giant puppets of saints and prophets who would want to speak up in mourning for all the mothers directly and indirectly impacted by the war in Iraq.” 

The specific saints and prophets the class picked included: Miriam, Rabbi Hillel, St. Francis, a transgender Spirit, St. Martin de Porres, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Rosa Parks, Queen Esther, Job, Nelson Mandela, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Virgin de Rosio, and St. Jude. 

“We are here because we think that the billions that is going into the war in Iraq could be used to do away with problems at home, problems like homelessness, poverty and deprivation,” said Sarah Vecci, a volunteer from St. Mary’s Senior Center in Alameda. “It’s rather unfortunate, that while some mothers have the best of everything, there are those who don’t even have roofs over their heads, whose children are dying in wars being fought thousands of miles away.””