As I’ve said previously, I greatly enjoy getting out in public and promoting our message of reducing gun violence. It’s a chance to connect with others, the vast majority of the public, who share my concerns and wish to do something about the violence. As I pointed out in my last post, shootings in my area are increasing, year by year, and we have already met the number for last year’s record. All the more reason to engage others.
Last Saturday (August 27) was the parade for the Eugene Celebration, an annual festival held here in Eugene, Oregon, to celebrate the diversity and people of our town. Over the course of three days (Aug 25-28) they close off several blocks of downtown Eugene to motor traffic and set up all sorts of tents and music stages. The parade is one of the highlights of the event.
This year I wasn’t able to get around to setting up a table for Ceasefire Oregon, but I did at least have a car for Ceasefire Oregon in the Peace Train, in the parade. The “Peace Train” is a mock train engine, colorfully decorated, behind which trail a number of wooden train cars, each decorated with the name of a local peace and non-violence organization or chapter. I painted and pushed the car for Ceasefire Oregon. Other cars and marchers represented Million Mom March (which is part of the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence), Veterans for Peace, Beyond War, Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC), the Democratic Party of Lane County Peace Caucus, Women in Black, Commissioner Rob Handy, Eugene Mennonite Church, WAND, and others.
I am happy to say that there were also a couple additional volunteers there to march alongside and help with things (thank you!). My two young children rode the entire way inside the engine.
All along the parade route we got constant shouts of encouragement, thumbs up, and peace signs from the crowds. It’s incredibly encouraging. (It was good exercise, too).
HERE is a link to a video of the Peace Train that was made by one of our volunteers (thank you, Neil).
HERE is a link to the official parade video. Go to time 13:41 to see the start of the Peace Train. I didn’t attach a sign well, and it fell off just before that video was taken. Luckily, a volunteer (Neil) carried it alongside at that point.
I’m the guy in white in those videos, pushing the green Ceasefire Oregon car. I look forward to doing this again next year.
I’ll leave you with the song that is the namesake of the Peace Train: “Peace Train” by Yusuf Islam (previously named Cat Stevens): LINK