It can be a cold and lonely vigil for Jane Haldeman, president of the Indy Peace and Justice Center, and her husband Ron on those Friday afternoons. Every Friday at 4:30, since Sept. 15, 2001, they and whatever supporters show up have held a vigil across the street from the Federal Building downtown. Last week it was just Jane and Ron and their signs reading "War is not the answer." Jane Haldeman, president of the Indy Peace and Justice Center, and her husband Ron hold up signs during their weekly vigil protesting the occupation of Iraq.
But not all their vigils are that small. Thursday, Jan. 20, they hope to gather hundreds of supporters on Monument Circle for a protest during the inauguration of George W. Bush, starting at 11:30 a.m. and continuing until 1 p.m.
The keynote speaker will be a veteran of the Iraq war who served eight months in combat duty. "He doesn't have a lot of public speaking experience, but he wants to share what he knows with us," Jane Haldeman said.
They are not alone with their weekly protests; groups across the country hold silent vigils against the occupation of Iraq every week. And likewise, the Indianapolis protestors will be in solidarity with protests across the nation tomorrow, including large groups traveling to Washington, D.C. to make their voices heard.
"The focus is going to be on changes in Bush's policies, so it's going to be forward-thinking in ways that can help citizens," Haldeman said. "It's not just about Iraq. It's both an anti-war protest and a counter-inaugural demonstration."
Perhaps the most important purpose behind the demonstration, she said, is to remind people in power that opposition does exist.
"It lets people know that not everybody's in support of the policies," Haldeman said. "It's not just a small voice. A lot of people are against this. It's not the way you hear from the Bush administration and from the media, that everybody's one hundred percent behind them. We try to express ourselves so that people can feel free to do the same."
For more information about the counter-inaugural and other upcoming events check out www.indypeaceandjustice.org