Ten years ago, in March of 2006, a group of somewhat elderly women gathered together in a condo near the Art Museum to bemoan the war in Iraq. “We don’t want our grandchildren—or anybody’s grandchildren—to go to war,” they agreed. “What shall we do?”
The Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia was born! Our first action was on Tax Day when we gathered at the Post Office with a table holding three large bowls. One said “the military,” another said “health care,” and a third said “education.” We gave passersby coins and asked them, “Where do you want your tax dollars to go?” and they placed a coin in the bowl of their choice.
Our second action was in June, when eleven Grannies marched into the recruiting center, then at Broad and Cherry, and told the officers that they wanted to enlist. “We have lived our lives,” they explained. “We don’t want our grandchildren to lose theirs.” After talking to the military representatives at the center, the Grannies were asked to leave and refused. “We will not leave until we are enlisted,” they asserted. All eleven Grannies, including one in a wheelchair, were arrested for ‘defiant trespassing.’
At their trial the following December, the judge dismissed the case, claiming that the Grannies were not defiant, and were not trespassing – that the recruiting center was public space and they were entitled to be there.