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Women in Black stopped protests

I'd like to know what happened to the Women in Black that used to hold war protests at Vogel Plaza in Medford a few years ago. I haven't seen them for a while. Maybe I just haven't been downtown at the right times.

— Brad L., Medford

The local chapter of the Women in Black are no more, Brad.

Organizer Beth Baker, who helped bring the protest to Medford, said age and waning interest by those involved brought the protests to a close around two years ago.

"The median age of our group was between 70 and 80 years old," Baker said. "It simply became too hard for them to stand out there in the heat and cold for long periods of time."

The Women in Black is an international peace movement that started in Israel in 1988. The movement conducts silent protests by women clad entirely in black.

The group's fame increased shortly after the Iraq War began in 2003.

Somewhere between six and 12 women would take to Vogel Plaza in protest, often enduring taunts and vulgar curses from passers-by, Baker said. "We also had a lot of support from the community," she added.

Membership lowered as the years passed, with one member dying and another becoming ill, Baker said.

"After a while we decided to end it," Baker said. "They were very, very dedicated."

Baker, 50, said one member would stand in the summer heat with her walker for hours.

"Some people would drive by and tell us to get a job," Baker said. "I always thought that was interesting because most of us were well over 60 and had worked all our lives."

Women in Black was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.