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[whitespace] Taking It Lying Down

Memorial meets antiwar protest in New York

By Sarah Phelan

IF YOU HAPPEN to be in New York's Washington Square on the morning of Sept. 11 around the time the first plane hit the WTC last year, chances are you'll see a bunch of people lying down on the ground. Julie Zuckerman will be one of them, participating in a New Yorkers Say No to War morning ritual.

Reached by phone in Santa Cruz, where the former local resident returns each summer, Zuckerman says New Yorkers Say No to War started Sept. 16 in the living room of Eve Ensler, of Vagina Monologues fame.

"We met weekly, every Tuesday, and talked about everything from the psychology of revenge to the Kashmir situation to Afghan women. These meetings involved professors, political people and organizations. And with 9/11 coming up, we asked ourselves, what are we gonna do to provide peace-promoting events during the anniversary?"

As a result, the Stand Up New York Coalition was born, which is organizing an all-night vigil from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11, primarily with the help of the Peaceful Tomorrows League, which is an organization formed by the relations of Sept. 11 victims. For the Sept. 11 morning ritual, participants will lie down from the time the first plane hit (8:47am) to the time the second tower fell down (10:40am.)

Meanwhile, Zuckerman, who teaches kindergarten and first grade in New York, has been engaged in another Afghan-related project. After the Afghan Women's Summit in Brussels, Zuckerman found an Afghan expatriate in New York's East Village who had been financing a school for boys and girls in a rural area the Taliban didn't control, at a cost of $20,000 a year for 1,000 kids.

"I thought that was something our school community could handle, and got together an Afghan NGO and a project proposal," she says. "In May, our school kids had a dance-a-thon and raised $8,000, and in June we raised another couple of thousand with a theater benefit. Any school, any town anywhere could do this. It's not a huge financial commitment, but something that will make a difference.

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From the September 4-11, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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