At least 38 islanders gathered at the four-way intersection of Bank Road and Vashon Highway last Thursday night to call for “No War” as part of a national day of grassroots action in opposition to further escalation of conflict with Iran.
Their action followed the Trump administration’s assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani by drone strike earlier this month that pushed U.S. relations with Tehran to the brink, resulting in an Iranian-led missile attack on American bases in Iraq last week.
Indivisible Vashon led the island protest in partnership with The Backbone Campaign and Vashon SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice), coinciding with similar demonstrations in communities across the country.
“The rally was thrown together with extremely short notice, and even so, we still had a really decent turnout show up through different networks,” said Suzanne Greenberg, organizer of the demonstration who belongs to the leadership team of Indivisible Vashon. “That reflected the urgency and fear that people all across the country were feeling about this escalation and possible war.” She added that several congregations also sent word out to their memberships about participating in the protest.
At the four-way stop, islanders held signs and chanted while anti-war anthems played on a speaker, and a microphone was available to those who felt compelled to speak out.
Islander Doug Sharp attended the protest wearing a white t-shirt with the handwritten message “End War Now” on the front, reminiscent of the days he spent organizing and participating in marches against conflict decades ago.
“You’ve got to do something. You’ve got to show up,” he said, adding that the act of coming together on an issue he is passionate about inspires him.
“I’m an eternal optimist. When I see people singing together, it gives me hope.”
This version corrects the number of islanders who attended the protest and organizer Suzanne Greenberg’s affiliation with Indivisible Vashon.