Women in Black, an international peace organization, gathered at Pioneer Park in St. Petersburg today to hold a silent vigil opposing the war in Iraq. WMNF’s Amy Snider has the story.

Between the sparkling waters filled with luxury boats and the upscale shops along Beach Drive in St. Petersburg, 13 women, 4 men, a child and a baby held hands and stood in a circle, surrounding a small wooden casket adorned with black roses. Most of the participants wore black, despite the heat. Many dabbed tears from their eyes as they thought of those about to die in Iraq.

Diane Cardin Kamleiter is the co-founder of the local chapter of Women in Black:

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During the vigil, Gina Castellano beat a drum. She then prayed for the safe return of our troops. Her daughter, Erica Castellano, skipped school to participate in the vigil.

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Jackie Mirkin explains how Women in Black was founded.


The local activists are worried that war will devastate the environment. The recent testing of the so-called MOAB bomb in the Florida panhandle angers them. The effects of the MOAB on Florida wildlife have not yet been determined.

They also spoke of pregnant women in Iraq, who they say were forced to have cesarean sections to deliver their babies, to make room in Iraq’s hospitals for incoming war casualties.

The Women in Black are heartbroken that the US Government ignored the cries of millions in this country and worldwide that took to the streets to stop the war.

Activist Mark Camleiter:


Dan Rossi and Elizabeth Golden traveled from Lakeland to attend the St. Pete vigil. They are not worried about being branded anti-American now that the war has started:

Dan Rossi: Elizabeth Golden says the Internet should be used as a tool for world peace.


Despite the bombs being dropped, Golden does not feel that protest is futile:

For WMNF news, this is Amy Snider.

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