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Charges Against Vermont Peace Activist Dropped
R osemarie Jackowski is a 69year-old grandmother, former schoolteacher, Air Force veteran, and active member of Veterans for Peace who was arrested at a peace demonstration in March 2003. A year and a half later she was finally tried and convicted. She faced two months in jail and a $500 fine. When the conviction was eventually overturned by the Vermont Supreme Court in the fall of 2006, it looked like she’d won. However, the prosecuting attorney announced plans to try her again.
Undaunted, Jackowski took up that next challenge. “I’m very willing and ready to go to trial again,” Jackowski told the Bennington Banner . “It will be much more easy for me this time. I will have experience at being a defendant in a criminal trial,” she said. “I don’t believe that I am guilty of anything.” Her supposed “crime” was taking part in a peaceful demonstration that blocked traffic for 15 minutes in downtown Bennington. Her act of resistance consisted of standing in silence while bowing her head and holding a protest sign on the first day of the “shock and awe” bombing in Iraq.
During her four-year trial, Jackowski continued her efforts as a peace activist and advocate journalist. She spoke to groups and wrote for websites. She also ran for attorney general on a thirdparty ticket and received 10,299 votes.
One result of all this was an ongoing series of articles in Vermont newspapers as well as letters to the editors. Her story was also told by supporters and posted on independent media sites. The publicity generated more interest. “Meet the anti-war movement’s newest folk hero,” read an Associated Press article published in over 80 newspapers across the country and around the world last December.
William D. Wright, the Bennington County State’s Attorney, had clearly gotten himself into a no-win situation, but he insisted on going ahead with the retrial. Perhaps he couldn’t see his mistake, but others did. A letter in the Rutland Herald read, “If it hadn’t been for these trials, most of us would never have heard of Rosemarie Jackowski. So maybe in a perverse sort of way the state’s attorney is doing a good service.”
When Wright retired at the end of January, the new prosecutor, seeing the perils involved in promoting more publicity for Jackowski, immediately dropped the charges. In an editorial titled “Good Move,” the conservative Bennington Banner called the new prosecutor’s decision “both expected and welcome.” The newspaper was no supporter of Jackowski, but it was extremely relieved to see the end of “what was threatening to become a long-running soap opera that essentially would waste the court’s time.”
Daniel Borgström is an ex-Marine against the war. He’s part of a small group that holds a weekly peace walk around Lake Merritt in Oakland, California. He also writes about progressive events.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.