Makeshift paper gravestones and performance artists in orange coveralls set the scene for the anti-war rally held Thursday night at Seattle Central Community College.
Each gravestone listed the name of someone who had been killed in Iraq. One, made on the back of a "No Iraq war" poster, read "Saad Agel Gbar Haef -- 5-year-old boy, tank attack."
The rally was sponsored by several local social action groups, including UW's Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker service group.
Rally speakers included the Rev. Paul Benz of the Lutheran Public Policy Office, who denounced the "ridiculous war" in Iraq, and said that the United States needs to work on fighting global poverty and "terrorism on people of color in this country."
Aaron Dixon, co-founder of the Black Panther's Seattle chapter, also spoke.
The speakers focused on problems facing minority groups in the United States and the ongoing Iraq war.
To Roberto Alviso, Ace/High School Outreach Co-Chair of MEChA, the rally was about "getting people united again against injustices," he said.
Iris Holiday of Freedom Church performed several songs and led the group in "This Little Light of Mine."
Despite the temperature in the 40s, the crowd sang and clapped along, and some people even danced.
Several speakers led the crowed in chants such as "The people united will never be defeated" and "No more war!"
Although each speaker made it clear what the rally was protesting, few articulated a clear plan of action.
Dustin Washington of the AFSC warned listeners to beware of "wolves in sheep's clothing," perhaps ironic, considering Bush's recent TV ad entitled "Wolves," which likens the canines to terrorists.
"We have a wolf in the White House," he said, "and his name is George Bush."
Francesca Barajas, co-chair of MEChA, said that although it was nice to blame Bush, it was "not addressing the root of the problem."
"The system does not work for everyone," she said. For Barajas, the most important issue addressed at the rally is that there is a war going on at home. We need to work to fix the injustices here, she said.
Several people escaped the cold by watching the event from the second-floor library windows, as speakers urged rallyers to vote against I-892, and led the crowd in booing the initiative's sponsor, Tim Eyman.
Oscar Rosales Castaneda, Barajas' co-chair, said he felt the rally was important because it was about "getting outside the context of the University, getting away from books."
Those in attendance at the rally included members of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, people stumping for Ralph Nader, representatives from the Radical Women Freedom Socialist Party and around 20 to 30 police officers who surrounded the site on bicycles and motorcycles.
Many in the group carried signs that got many honks from people driving past the rally. One from the Freedom Socialist Part read "Iraq is not our colony. Stop U.S. imperialism."
Speaker Kim Russell-Martin, a UW senior, summarized the emphasis of the event by saying, "War is bad."