United for Peace and Justice grew out of a Washington, D.C. meeting of more than 70 peace and justice organizations from across the United States, including September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, that had gathered to coordinate work against the impending war in Iraq. The October 25, 2002 meeting at the offices of People for the American Way was temporarily recessed when word arrived of the crash of an airplane carrying Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, an outspoken opponent not only of the Gulf War but also of the October 11, 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. Wellstone, his wife and one of his three children died in the crash, and the movement against the war in Iraq war lost an outspoken voice.
Since that day, United for Peace and Justice has grown into a coalition of more than 1400 local and national groups throughout the United States joining their voices to protest the ongoing Iraq War and to oppose the U.S. government’s policy of permanent warfare and empire-building. September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows founding member Kelly Campbell was one of 35 people elected at the June, 2003 UFPJ National Strategy Conference to serve as the organization’s national steering committee. Peaceful Tomorrows’ current representative on the steering committee is Terry Rockefeller.
On the February 15, 2003, during a global day of protest, “The World Says No to War,” Peaceful Tomorrows founding member Derrill Bodley spoke on behalf of our group at a rally organized by UFPJ at the United Nations headquarters in New York City that drew more than 500,000 participants on one of the coldest days of the year. UFPJ helped coordinate and publicize more than 790 demonstrations worldwide that day.
On March 23, 2003, days after the bombing of Iraq began, UFPJ mobilized more than 300,000 people for a protest march down Broadway in New York City. To mark the one-year anniversary of the Iraq War, UFPJ initiated a call to action for a global day of protest on March 20, 2004. More than 2 million people worldwide took to the streets that day, holding over 575 protests in more than 60 countries.
From September 24 to 26, 2005, UFPJ organized a major three-day anti-war mobilization in Washington, DC. It included a 300,000-person march past the White House, a two-day peace and justice festival featuring 17 themed tents, an interfaith service organized by Clergy and Laity Concerned About Iraq, the largest pro-peace lobbying day in decades on Capitol Hill, with more than 800 participants meeting with over 300 members of Congress and/or their staffs, and a major civil resistance action at the White House in which more than 370 people were arrested.
In addition to its ongoing efforts to organize vigils, marches and teach-ins in response to the continuing war in Iraq, UFPJ has joined in solidarity with the anti-corporate globalization movement, supported the Declaration for Peace and Voters for Peace campaigns, called attention to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, participated in the Step It Up 2007 campaign to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 and joined in the first US Social Forum in Atlanta in 2008.
Visit the United for Peace & Justice Web site.