Cindy Sheehan's campaign to confront George W. Bush about her son's death in the Iraq War has gained a couple of local allies: protesters at Downtown's Federal Building and state Sen. Jim Ferlo in Crawford, Texas.
The senator was on his way to Sheehan's protest site outside the president's ranch as City Paper went to press on Aug. 15. Sheehan's son Casey was killed in Baghdad on April 4, and Sheehan began requesting a personal meeting with Bush on Aug. 6.
"Every time I talk to him," says Paul Svoboda, Ferlo's legislative assistant, "he's more and more torn up about the price we've paid for the war ... obviously the price in human life" as well as the cost in tax money.
Ferlo doesn't think the presence of a Pennsylvania legislator will be enough to draw the president away from his vacation routine, Svoboda allows. Ferlo is "just wanting to show a woman who has lost so much that she's not standing alone. He saw that as an opportunity to raise the profile of the discussion a bit."
Ferlo will find the national media discussion already elevated to Red -- and about 50 members of CodePink among the protesters joining Sheehan. The local CodePink -- a women's peace-and-social-justice group founded to protest the first Iraq War -- led a small rally on Aug. 11 and 12 in front of Downtown's Federal Building at Grant and Liberty. Among the banners: "George Talk to Cindy."
"We wanted to bring her voice here locally," says Pittsburgh CodePink Coordinator Francine Porter. Also joining the group were members (above, left to right) Kate Dahar and Edith Wilson, with longtime activist Marty O'Malley.
Porter says the group hopes to return on Thu., Aug. 18: "We're going to try to keep the momentum going here in Pittsburgh."