Warwick's Women in Black resume weekly march in the village

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    WARWICK - Warwick's Women in Black are walking through the village again, more than a year after they had stopped marching. The group resumed their walks on Mother's Day, May 9, and held a vigil again on Sunday, May 16. According to Patricia DeBruhl, a member of the group, they plan to walk every Sunday. The group had been holding vigils regularly until last April, DeBruhl said. But during the latter part of the winter, and into early spring, an increasing number of counter-demonstrators had begun harassing them. In one incident, a counter-demonstrator damaged a camera that a man supporting the group was using to take pictures. "We were trying to hold a silent vigil, and they would drive alongside playing loud music, shouting at us," DeBruhl said. "We felt our vigils were stirring up hostility, and the atmosphere was not in keeping with our message of non-violence." During the past several months, members of the Women in Black group have been organizing a street theater group called "Drama Dragons." Women in Black began in Israel, with marches for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, DeBruhl said. The Israeli women wore black and covered their heads in the style of Arab women. From there the message spread around the world. "We want to highlight the escalating violence in Iraq," she said, "but there are wars going on all over the world." The women's motivation for resuming their weekly walks was the message of Mothers' Day, which began as a statement against war, DeBruhl noted. "We are walking in solidarity and sympathy with mothers who have lost a son or daughter in yet another futile war." They wanted to remind people of the original message, which has been lost in the commercialization of the day, she said. Among the activities of the Mothers' Day vigil was a reading of the original Mothers' Day statement by Julia Ward Howe in 1870. That statement reads, in part: "Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience." The statement calls for a general meeting of women from around the world "to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions and the great and general interests of peace." The group hopes to hold a vigil every Sunday, starting at 1 p.m. across South Street from the Warwick Village parking lot. New participants are always welcome, DeBruhl said.