A cheer rises and drums are pounded in exuberance as a man wielding a microphone speaks.
“Ultimately, if the war does go on for another 20 years, it may never be decided. […] We hope that people realize every day that We the People are the ones that will make peace.”
A crowd of about 50 people crowds around the doors of the Iowa City Public Library for this protest which is led by the group, Veterans for Peace. Later, many of those same people made their way to College Green Park for the third Occupy Iowa City meeting. One woman wearing the Iowa flag as a cape would later hang it from a gazebo in the park.
Upon arriving at the park, it was clear that the two protests were very much related. Signs urging Americans to vote, or criticizing the war economy were being thrust in the air, and many were the same signs that were raised in the prior protest.
Theresa Meeks-Mosley was present at both meetings, and felt very strongly about the importance of this movement.
“To me it’s about getting everybody revved up,” said Meeks-Mosley. “99 percent of us are pouring our tax dollars into a war.” Meeks-Mosley said she would rather have her tax money go towards educating children, and creating better jobs. “If we can get everybody [to vote], maybe we can get something done.”
Current West High student, William Blair ’12, and West High graduate, Jake Nolan ’08, stroll across the park searching for their friends before the protest begins.
“There are a lot of things I want to do [to help],” said Blair. Nolan added that their opposition to the war is moderate to strong.
The movement promised to be peaceful, according to various sources.
Iowa City resident Melinda Ragona said she was at the protest to show her support and see what all the hype was about. She said she felt very safe there, and had brought her young daughter along.
Ragona wasn’t the only person with a child at the event. Many people brought along their children, as well as their dogs.
One attendee, Megan Daly, intended to help those occupying have an easier time of it by providing food, water, and other necessities.
“I want to help get the message out there,” said Daly. “The occupy movement is very white and male.” Daly said she wants to represent women, and speak for minorities at these meetings.
A little ways away, Ashish, a Nepali man, attended the protest to show his support. This was his first rally, and Ashish said he was expecting more people to attend.
“[This is a] movement of young people,” said Ashish. “[Americans need to] get out of the war, and work to build their own country.”
The overall theme of this movement is togetherness, according to many people who had attended prior meetings. One man brought together a large group of people before the meeting with a speech. He suddenly raised his voice and started speaking to those around him, all of whom listened and cheered.
“You want to be a carbon copy of the corporation?” he asked. “Don’t just stand there on the sidelines! Where are you?”