Anti-War Rally at Penn State

By By U Wire

By U Wire

PHILADELPHIA?Eleven student activists from Penn for Peace made plans to attend an anti-war march in Center City, Penn., more than a week ago.

What they didn?t know when they planned the event, however, was that their march for peace would coincide with America?s first strike against Afghanistan.

?We all kind of knew it was coming,? University of Pennsylvania freshman Martha Cooney said. ?But it was still shocking and upsetting to hear. It just added to our feelings as we were marching and made us a stronger more cohesive group.?

The march was organized by a loose coalition of concerned citizens who met through the Philadelphia Friends Center.

They walked nearly a mile from the Temple University campus to the Philadelphia Friends Center located across from City Hall. Philadelphia Police aided their efforts by blocking traffic and providing security for the marchers.

The crowd of over 100 people?men, women and children of varied backgrounds?began their march at Broad and Diamond streets at 1 p.m. Since so many of them had been outside for hours, an announcement coming over a loudspeaker that bombs had been dropped on Kabul was a shock for most of the members.

The news drew a hush from the crowd, which had only moments earlier been chanting peace slogans as they neared their destination. Though they had heard mixed rumors throughout the morning, a confirmation was difficult to face.

?It?s not too late,? one woman whispered in reaction to the news. Others were angry, some were at a loss for words. Many found comfort by turning to one another in tears.

As the activists grappled with the news, Jeremy Matthew, professor of African-American Literature and Political Theory at Rutgers University, took the microphone to talk to the crowd about losing his father in the attack on the World Trade Center.

?The ruling class is pimping the death of my father to justify the slaughter they have planned,? Matthew said of the Bush administration, visibly upset by his own words and the news that had recently been confirmed.