Labor Advocate Online
Some E-Mail Responses to An Open Letter to the Kansas City Peace Movement
Brad Grabs is chair of the Iraq Task Force
Thank you very much for your thoughtful feedback about our rally. Your points are well taken, and I agree with much of what you have said. I certainly agree with your observation that we need to focus on what unites us--opposing this unjust war. It has been our goal all along to welcome all people, young and old, of any faith or no faith, of any ethnic background or even any political ideology. We really want every person who shares our opposition to this war to feel safe, respected, and welcome at these vigils.
We invited numerous people to speak at last Sunday's rally, including women and people of different ethnic backgrounds. The four men who spoke were the ones who accepted our invitation. Our instructions to them were to talk for 3-5 minutes, addressing the question of what Dr. King would say and do in response to this war, as it was a celebration of his life and witness. Obviously, some speakers spoke longer than we had agreed to. And some speakers drifted off into other partisan issues that would clearly divide our group, to some degree. Once we hand the microphone to the speaker, we have little control over what they say or how long they talk. We learned that we need to emphasize more strongly to the speakers to be conscious of time, and to stay focused on the anti-war message. Perhaps we could have some form of subtle "time-keeping" as well.
Regarding the religious tone of the speakers' messages, I think it was appropriate given the theme of our vigil. I'm no scholar of Dr. King, but from what I know about him, his faith was the very foundation of his life and mission.
It would have been difficult, and probably less than genuine, to address folks about what Dr. King would say and do in these times without mentioning faith. That being said, please know that we have had and will have other rally speakers who do not come from a faith background. There are plenty of very legitimate reasons to oppose this war, and faith is only one of them.
Bill, I hope this addresses some of your concerns. I do appreciate the time and thoughtfulness that you put into your comments. Please know that we would very much like to work with the KC labor movement in our efforts to oppose this war. Please don't hesitate to contact me at any time in the future with any questions or concerns.
Kansas City Iraq Task Force