Activists and supporters of the peace movement can take it to the streets bicycle-style for the kickoff event in Nevada City for the Cindy Sheehan Tour de Peace bike ride.
Riders and activists will take off 12:30 p.m. Sunday from the Holiday Center parking lot at 1255 E. Main St. in Grass Valley and head to the Stonehouse building in Nevada City at 107 Sacramento St. From there, a peace rally will take place through Nevada City.
The program will run from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Stonehouse, where Cindy Sheehan and Sharon Delgado from Earth Justice Ministries will speak, and local musicians Jim Page, Nory Fussell and Anytime Band will play.
The event began after Sheehan’s son, Casey, a U.S. Army Specialist, was killed during the Iraq War, which led to her protest outside President George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, which lasted several weeks.
“In the summer of 2005, we were very effective in getting the message out, and we wanted to create something like that,” Sheehan said. “The event in Grass Valley is really important because we are riding from Vacaville to Washington, D.C., and it’s about the journey and talking to people about how the wars are still going on and trying to stimulate some kind of large anti-war sentiment.”
Sheehan was first introduced to the Grass Valley-Nevada City area after she was invited to a rally to commemorate the invasion of Iraq.
“When they found out I was doing this, they approached me to see if they could have an event, so the timing was that we could do it before the ride, so we decided to have it as the kickoff,” said Sheehan, who has a short commute from Vacaville for the kickoff event, she said.
The movement is not only because of her son’s death, she said, but to raise awareness of what she feels to be injustices by the U.S. government.
“Attention needs to be brought to what our country is doing, and it’s the people here in our country that are going to be able to stop it,” Sheehan said.
Sheehan said she also was frustrated about the soldiers who, like her son, were told they can join the military without experiencing combat, a sentiment she has shared with other parents of soldiers.
“I thought that was a kind of misrepresentation of what really happens in the military,” Sheehan said. “I have a radio show and was talking to a father yesterday whose daughter was sexually assaulted, beat and raped, and she was told the same thing, so we have to reach out to our young people and tell about the lies.”
The Tour de Peace bike ride across America will take place from Casey Sheehan’s grave in Vacaville April 4 and end July 3 at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
The kickoff organizer, Lorraine Reich, believes firmly in Sheehan’s message and wants to support the movement locally.
“If we had the ability to assist in making changes of our society, of our communities, we should do so,” Reich said. “Why I’m so invested in supporting these kinds of events and people is that I’ve educated myself, and I see how society is broken, and we’re spending trillions of dollars of our taxpayers’ money on military defense, and yet Americans are suffering,” Reich said.
“We just hope we can get as many people as possible out,” Sheehan said “I’m really looking forward to it.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.