A City Against the War
In early 2003, as the Bush administration pushed us closer and closer to war with Iraq, citizens in my town of Urbana, IL organized in reaction. The most common form of protest was a series of regular demonstrations, some of which I captured in my Protests Against the War project. However, two other actions stood apart from those demonstrations. Each was much more heavily attended than typical protest actions, and each was the subject of widespread discussion in the media. I photographed both extensively, seeing my efforts as part street photography, part activism, and part documentation.
The online action site MoveOn.org organized a Global Candlelight Vigil for Peace to occur on Sunday, March 16, 2003, just three days before the war began. Beginning with New Zealand, the the vigils rolled across the globe, each begining at 7pm local time. Urbana was one of the 6000 cities that participated. I captured the above photo and posted a gallery of the event online at the time. The photograph was exhibited on the MoveOn.org site, and was used in numerous other places, including the site for the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center.
Cities for Peace
In January of 2003, Urbana City Council member Danielle Chynoweth brought forth a resolution opposing the imminent war in Iraq. The introduction of the resolution sparked heated debate within the community, pitting war supporters and the local newspaper against Ms. Chynoweth and others opposed to the war. During the many weeks of deliberation of the issue, I photographed each stage of the process. The above panoramic photograph represents how things felt and looked at the time. The resolution eventually passed and Urbana became one of a handful of cities to join the Cities for Peace movement.