Transcript edited by Pierce Butler
This is the 26th in a series of transcript excerpts from the collection of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida.
Medea Benjamin was interviewed by Derick Gomez [G] in 2014; the first part of this transcript was featured in the March 2015 Iguana.
B: I moved to Washington, D.C. about five years ago after my children finished college. I put most of my focus onto issues of war and peace. But I also am involved in local things, like gentrification, where so many black families that have been there for decades are getting priced out of their own city.
Just this week, people came to town from around the country who were involved in fracking, and I went out at 7 [AM] to their demonstrations to say, right on! It was a lot of young people, and it made me cry to see them blocking the entrances of the Federal Energy Commission, locking arms and getting arrested. I think, that’s our future.
Transcript edited by Pierce Butler
This is the 25th in a series of transcript excerpts from the collection of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida. Part 2 of this interview will follow in the next issue of the Iguana out April 8.
Medea Benjamin was interviewed by Derick Gomez [G] in 2014.
G: You’ve been an activist for several decades now, and it’s impossible not to admire your strong code of morality, your strong code of ethics. Can you tell me a little bit about where that came from?
B: It’s funny, just coming into here, I saw the students outside with the ROTC, and they were practicing their different maneuvers with guns. It made me very sad to see, and I just kind of flashed back to many decades ago when I was in school and there was a draft, and people didn’t have a choice. They were forced to go into the military and to be sent over to Vietnam to fight. My older sister had a boyfriend who was drafted into the military. And he would write her letters. The letters got more and more disturbing as the months went by. And then maybe six months into his deployment in Vietnam, he sent her back an ear of a Viet Cong, and he said that this was a souvenir that she could put around her neck and wear as a necklace. I was just so shocked by it, just the whole concept that this nice boy who six months earlier was just one of us, had suddenly turned into kind of a monster, who would think that another human being’s body part would be a souvenir.
I got involved then, started an anti-war group in my high school, started looking out to connect with tother grops. Got involved in politics ‘cause there was a acongressperson who was running for office on an anti-war ticket and I started volunteering on his campaign. So at the age of 16, I was suddenly an activist, and I guess I’ve been an activist ever since.
The March 2015 issue of the Gainesville Iguana is now available online, and it’s got lots of good stuff (city election endorsements, Chomsky on ISIS, oral history interview with Medea Benjamin, and more!). You can also pick the issue up at any of our distribution spots, which you can find here.
by Jacque Betz, Code Pink Gainesville
In early November, the Gainesville chapter of Code Pink organized a series of events featuring the co-founder of Code Pink, Medea Benjamin.
Code Pink is a woman-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S. funded wars and occupations, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs.
Also a co-founder of Global Exchange, Medea is a visible leader in the peace movement, not shy at all about raising her voice and carrying out creative protests at public event and governmental hearing (as any viewer of CSPAN can attest).
Her events included a meeting at the Women’s Studies Center at UF entitled “Empowering Women in the Peace Movement,” a discussion on “Justice for Palestine” at the Mennonite Church, taking part with local activists in a Drone Warfare Protest at Main and University Avenue, which included a march to Prioria Robotics, a local drone maker, and a talk at the Civic Media Center entitled “Drone Warfare, Killing by Remote Control.”
Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CodePink, Women for Peace, will be speaking in Gainesville on Nov. 6–7.
On Nov. 6, she will be at Ustler Hall, University of Florida, at 6:30 pm with a reception to follow. The title of her talk is Empowering Women in the Peace Movement.
On Nov. 7, there will be a protest from 3-5 pm starting at Main Street and University Avenue, and proceeding over to Prioria Robotics for a demonstration at 4:20 pm.