The color pink: Code word for a more peaceful world |

The color pink: Code word for a more peaceful world

Amy Hadden Marsh

Pink, a color not often taken seriously, has become something to be reckoned with.

On March 8, 10,000 people from all over the country took to the streets of Washington, D.C., after an inspiring rally featuring Noble Prize-winning author Alice Walker, writers Susan Griffin and Maxine Hong Kingston, physician and anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott, journalist Amy Goodman, National Organization for Women president Kim Gandy, Granny D – who at age 90 walked across the nation promoting campaign finance reform – and many others.

The crowd was awash in pink: pink clothes, pink buttons, pink umbrellas, pink flags. The event was organized by CodePink: Women’s Pre-Emptive Strike for Peace.

While some have associated CodePink’s moniker with hospital alerts of physician harassment and infant abduction, Jodie Evans, originator of the movement, says that association became popular only after the initial CodePink vigil in front of the White House last fall.

In May 2002, after talking with activist Diane Wilson and Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange, during a gathering in Ojai, Calif., Evans dreamt of a women’s community in pink surrounding the White House.

The dream sparked the idea of an international movement based on the values of creativity, care and concern.

CodePink is really a call to stand up, speak up, and make visible the call to peace, she explains.

Bush calls Code Red for terror, fear, war and destruction. Women call Code Pink for compassion, peace, caring and nurturing.

Men are not exempt from pink. In D.C., men – some in pink – and women marched and sang together, celebrating life, community, and a solid, safe future for our children.

Andre Carothers, founder of the Rockwood Leadership Program in Berkeley, Calif., Jed Swift and Will Keepin of Boulder’s Satyana Institute, and, locally, Gary Robertson of the Springs Foundation, are helping us tend to our hearts and souls, to identify within ourselves that which contributes to a peaceful world.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was pink. Gandhi was pink. You get the idea.

Nor is government exempt from pink. Nancy Nadell, city councilwoman from Oakland, Calif., and speaker at the rally, encouraged towns across the nation to pass resolutions against the war and to bring the troops home and use that money to fund education and rebuild our cities.

“Unlike our president, many of us were elected by a large majority,” she said. “The more cities that pass these resolutions, the more courage we give to our congresspeople.”

While not exactly a tent city of women on the White House lawn, Evans’ dream is growing. A vigil that started in front of the White House last November culminated in a week of organizing and public education, of delivering pink slips to members of Congress, such as Hillary Clinton, for supporting Bush’s rush to war, and finally in a circle of pink, five blocks long and four blocks wide, around the White House.

CodePink vigils are blooming across the country. No longer satisfied with polarizing power struggles and angry protests, women from Seattle to Hartford are making pink prevalent.

Pink is action. Pink is creativity. Pink is love and compassion.

And, like the CodePink march in D.C., pink is very, very visible. So, if you’re wondering how to be the change you wish to see in the world, think pink.

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Amy Hadden Marsh is a writer, therapist and peace activist in Glenwood Springs.

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