A Call to Action for Peace

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Our government has stolen from us the time to grieve.

They have made it clear they want war — on anyone, at any price, with seemingly no thought for the consequences.

Government officials speak openly of going after “high-value” targets such as capital cities in countries that “harbor” terrorists. There are calls for carpet-bombing a country of 25 million people. In a world where no objections are raised in the halls of power to such plans, our task is clear:

We must fight for the soul of our nation. We have no choice but to begin speaking out and organizing for peace as we grieve. The best way we can honor those who have died is to make sure no more innocents are killed, here or abroad.

If we win, there is the possibility of a new movement for peace, a new hope for justice. If we lose, the escalating cycle of hatred may usher in a new era of unending war.

Officials think they have the support of an angry, blood-thirsty public, and many in the United States are calling for vengeance. But there is also great fear, not just for our own safety but for what such a war will unleash in the world.

Military actions that kill civilians will also multiply tenfold the number of people willing to die to wreak havoc on the United States. We have already paid a terrible price. What will happen when we arouse further anger with a blatantly unjust and destructive retaliation?

Many, even in the peace movement, are saying, “Now is not the time to talk politics; the country needs time to heal.”

Just the reverse is true: Now is the time, before it is too late.

We, the undersigned organizations, are calling for Sunday, September 23, to be a National Day of Action for Peace with Justice. We will call for a peace based not on terror and death but on recognition of our common humanity. In each locality, people concerned about the drive to destruction should gather in public, as close to 2 p.m. as possible.

We will gather — in churches and in parks, in homes and universities, public squares, streets and living rooms — with banners and signs, with black armbands and candles, in fear and in hope.

While a single gathering will not itself change policy, it signals the mood of the public and will help build a movement. September 23 will be not the end, but the beginning of more vigorous organizing for peace and a just world.

We have already seen spontaneous demonstrations of thousands of people across the country. There is new interest in the consequences of our foreign policy. People are listening.

Now is the time: For action. For organization. For change.