Peace & Justice Blog: Nina McLellan’s International Womens’ Day speech

This is the first entry in our new Peace & Justice Blog. It will feature mostly local writers, as well as Peace Action position statements.
We can’t think of a better place to start than former CPA Co-President Nina McLellan’s inspiring keynote speech, at Cleveland’s 2019 International Women’s Day  observance, March 8th, on the Cleveland City Hall steps. 

Radical women launched International Women’s Day early in the last century.  They fought for women’s rights.  They also fought for labor rights, sanitation, child care, and for peace.
I’m 83 and grew up in 40’s and 50’s. No one talked about women’s rights or celebrated International Women’s Day.  Back then, we girls were taught to be compliant and obedient.   Times have changed. Are you compliant and obedient?  No!  Are you activists? I see activists who envision better world and are angry at injustice! Yes!  
I’m angry about constant war. In the whole history of our country, we’ve been at war most of the time. Only 17 years of peace in since 7776! Women know that to bear and nurture children, to raise the next generation, we must have peace and security in our homes, neighborhoods and countries. War brings rape, death, destruction, displacement, traumatizing terror.    
Women and children are starving now in Yemen amid the destruction from the bombs we supplied to Saudi Arabia.  Here in Cleveland women and children are are homeless and hungry while the Pentagon can’t track it’s billions and war contractors rake in profits.  
If you’re angry like me, join Peace Action and Code Pink. Let’s rise for diplomacy and peace! Rise for Peace!
I’m angry that Trump sent U.S. troops to our border and trumped up an emergency to fund his racist wall. Never mind that the U.S. has repeatedly intervened, militarily and covertly to support U.S. business interest in the Central America countries from which desperate people now flee. And our government pays profit-making corporations to run abusive immigrant detention prisons like the one run by Core Civic Corp. where I demonstrated with IRTF.  
At the heart of so much violence and injustice is corporate power and greed perverting our democracy and sucking up the nation’s wealth. Privatizing what should be public, like health care, like education. Profiting from war and incarceration.  
If you’re angry too, Join Move to Amend to help pass the We the People constitutional amendment to ensure that political money is not protected speech and corporations do not have human rights under our constitution.   
What do we want? We want Women’s Rights including reproductive rights. We want peace and justice in our homes, work places, our courts, our communities and all around the world! Let us rise for peace and justice! 
Think of the women who founded International Womens’ Day standing beside us.  You, women of today, can and will lead!  Thank you! 

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