Progressive Democrats of America in Santa Barbara rallied on the corner of Garden and Carrillo streets last week to collectively ask congressional Rep. Lois Capps to stop voting for war funding.

Signs spread around the street corner during the demonstration, which took place Wednesday, March 17, bore such messages as “War funding can stop here” to “No $$ No War.” Extra signs, for passersby or late-coming group members, stood ready and waiting for eager sets of hands.

“Our message is very simple, we want the war money that is funding the wars in the Middle East to end,” explained organizer Lois Hamilton. “Wars are not keeping us safe,” she said. “They’re making us more unsafe.”

The Progressive Democrats of America describes itself as a grassroots organization that works both with and against the Democratic Party to insure “a permanent, progressive majority.” Though mostly maintained online, Hamilton said the PDA has organized similar protests at “80 congressional offices across the country … every single month since the beginning of the year.” She elaborated, “We’re just asking them to do this over and over and over till we get our way.”

Since January, these “Brown Bag Vigils” have been taking place on the third Wednesday of each month, at the same location, and they will continue, Hamilton said until congressional leaders “stop voting for these war funding bills.”

The vigils aren’t the only means group members are using to get their message across either; Hamilton noted that they are constantly calling legislators, sending letters, and signing petitions. “Anything to stop the war,” Hamilton said.

The picketers stood united in their efforts and each listened carefully to the others’ various thoughts and feelings regarding the wars. The reasons they vocalized for opposing war were various and included environmental sustainability as well as the money that could be spent on education and health care. Cars drove by honking their support and drivers waved thumbs up while the small group slowly gathered more members and signs.

Though Hamilton was pleased with the support, she said, “We’d like to have more of them out here on the street.”


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