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State resolution highlighted at rally

Demonstrations by hundreds of war protestors in Ashland and Medford Saturday and Sunday culminated with an announcement at the Medford Central Library by State Representative Peter Buckley (D-Ashland) of the intent of the legislature to pass a joint memorial that would serve as an official state protest to the war in Iraq. Buckley said the legislature will pass the joint measure () on Tuesday, and it would then be sent to Washington D.C. Buckley is one of 29 legislators who have signed onto the measure.

The measure calls for the president to not increase the numbers of troops in Iraq. It directs congress to pass legislation prohibiting the president from increasing the numbers of troops without congressional approval, and calls on both the president and congress to withdraw troops from Iraq beginning this summer.

In Ashland, more than one hundred people gathered in Southern Oregon University's Britt Ballroom Sunday night to commemorate the 4th anniversary of the war in Iraq with song and a presentation by Gandhian scholar Michael Nagler, Professor Emeritus of Languages at the University of California, Berkeley and founder of the school's Peace and Conflicts Studies program.

The event dubbed "Operation Iraqi Freedom," began with a welcome from Peace House Executive director Holly East, who expressed the mission of the evening. The audience received pre-written letters to Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Gordon Smith and U.S. Representative Greg Walden expressing a desire for the end of the war in Iraq. Attendees were given the opportunity to sign the letters, which Peace House plans to mail to Washington D.C.

Performances by the Children's Peace Choir, the Youth4Peace Choir and the Rogue Valley Peace Choir followed, led by directors Dave Marston and Katy Anderson. The children in Youth4Peace addressed the audience with a poem to sum up their feelings about humanity.

"Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, it is that we are powerful beyond measure," they began.

Nagler delivered the keynote address following the choir performances.

"We need a total and profound change in the mentality of the world," he said. "I don't think that we just need prayers, we need to act to change things." The Peace House-sponsored event completed an entire weekend of peace gatherings throughout the valley and across the country.

Saturday morning in Medford, honking horns and chants of "No more war!" filled the air as hundreds of protestors gathered to express their opposition of the war in Iraq. The event, sponsored by the Medford-based Citizens for Peace and Justice, began with a demonstration on the corner of Barnett Road and Riverside Avenue, and was followed by a march to a "Peace Forum" at the Medford Central Library. The event drew protestors of all ages and togetherthey marched with signs and banners that promoted peace and an end to the war.

Arlene Rogers of Ashland, who carried a sign that read "Peace Now," expressed disappointment at the behavior of some motorists passing the scene.

"Here you see people marching, and then there are people in their cars who give us the finger," she said. "It's just so divisive." A member of the Jackson County Democrat Central Committee, Rogers said she couldn't understand why troops entered Iraq in the first place.

"It is so hard to imagine that there are people that still support this war &

but there are," she said. "It just boggles my mind." At the Medford Central Library, a number of speakers expressed their feelings on the situation in Iraq. State Representative Peter Buckley addressed the crowd about the power that they have to take action before announcing the legislative measure protesting the war in Iraq to be voted on Tuesday.

"Your voice is heard." he said.

Along with Citizens for Peace and Justice, a number of other organizations set up booths and demonstrations, including an interactive children's display to show the growing cost of funding the war in Iraq. Monty Walters of Peace House summed up the mood of the day.

"If we want peace, we are going to have to make it."