Midtown’s Colony Square will be the site of Friday’s 10th Anniversary 'Stand for Peace' vigil that is expected to feature appearances from U.S. Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, and Mrs. Evelyn Lowery.
The vigil, which will include a wide array of community members with signs, banners and bullhorns in hand, is hosted by Georgia Women's Action for New Direction (WAND) and will be opposing the United States’ war with Afghanistan and occupations abroad.
WAND's mission is to empower women to act politically to reduce violence and militarism, and redirect excessive military resources toward unmet human and environmental needs.
The history of vigil dates to Aug. 27, 2003. Spurred by a change.org call for citizens across the country to ask their senators to vote against a U.S. attack on Iraq, a group of Atlantans attempted to schedule a meeting with former governor and then Senator Zell Miller, at his Colony Square office. Sen. Miller's office refused to make an appointment with the group. In turn, five activists later pegged "The Atlanta Five" refused to leave and were arrested.
The larger group committed themselves to stand at the corner until the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were over and the troops came home. According to a press release, "Aside from a short pause after President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, the group has gathered, rain or shine, every Friday since August 27, 2002."
According to event organizers:
"The war in Afghanistan has become America's forgotten war, but 80,000 American troops are still fighting in Afghanistan and they're dying at a rate of one per day (AP). The most recent American death toll is 1,968 (AP) These casualties are in addition to 2,332 deaths of Afghan civilians since the start of the war (Guardian). We stand to put an end to unnecessary violence and death. We stand for reductions of military spending and funding instead for human and environmental needs. We will continue to stand until all the troops come home."
Friday’s event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. outside Colony Square, located at 1197 Peachtree St.