At this moment, updates on the action are coming in regularly. The latest is that, according to one of the defendant's lawyers, at least one of the activists is being spat upon by the guards. Guards are also encouraging other inmates to "mess with" and abuse the defendant. As soon as enough funds can be raised, the activist being spat on will be the next activist bailed out of jail.
Those conducting jail solidarity for the activists are asking that people from the Chicagoland area willing to help bail the activists out of jail monetarily contact Tim Salemme at (773) 759 - 8399 to arrange a donation or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now for those unaware of what started all of this or how several members of the antiwar movement in Chicago became involved in a battle to bail activists out of jail so they are not abused or "messed with", the story is as follows.
Six members of the anti-war group "Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War" staged a dramatic die-in on Sunday during the 11 AM Easter mass at Holy Name Cathedral. The group, in addition to calling for an immediate end to the illegal and immoral war in Iraq, decried Cardinal George's January 7th meeting with Chicago's Mayor Daley and President Bush.
Holy Name Cathedral is Chicago's largest parish and one where Chicago's most prominent Catholic citizens attend. The protesters knew these people would be in attendance and knew that press, which usually extensively cover the services, would be present when the "die-in" was conducted.
On Monday, the activists attended a hearing. The details show just how hard the system is working to make an example of these activists.
(The) hearing was in regards to charges of felony defacement of property at a place of worship in excess of $300; that makes the charge a Class III felony. The fake blood allegedly used in the action stained the auditorium's carpet and 14 chairs, incurring a $400 cleaning bill. According to the prosecuting attorney, the cleaning failed and the carpet will need to be replaced at a cost of $3000. Special conditions have been set for all the arrestees which prevent them from having any contact with Cardinal George, Holy Name Cathedral, or the area of 735 N. State Street.
The bond for Ephran, Regan, Mercedes, Ryane, and Angela is set at $25,000 each. Donte's bond is set at $35,000. In order to be bailed out, each arrestee needs to post 10% of their bond. All told, we need to raise $16,000.
All arrestees are scheduled to appear in court at Branch 42 on March 31st.
The six activists were put back in jail and people began mobilizing to get these young patriots out of jail. After all, as many will attest to, it was a nonviolent direct action. Being disruptive was the point and making a point, which they did, was also the plan. That this action was effective and that it has produced this editorial from Kathy Kelly is a testament of how great of an action it was.
The six activists who raised their voices, during Cardinal George's Easter homily in Holy Name Cathedral, recalled suffering and carnage caused by the war in Iraq. They screamed. They poured "stage blood." They fell to the floor.
Under U.S. occupation, and as a result of U.S. economic sanctions and military war waged since 1991, Iraqis have seen horrific bombings outside and within their worship places, along with the physical and social destruction of their country. Iraqis have endured mass killing, kidnappings, torture, incarcerations without cause, and an almost complete breakdown of vital infrastructure services including electricity, sewage treatment, and health care delivery.
In the U.S. and in Iraq, arms ache for loved ones who will never return. Yet many of us may feel numb, even forgetful, regarding the terrible cost of this war. The Easter Sunday action at the cathedral gave us an opportunity to remember that we are a nation at war and to consider ways to follow Jesus' teachings, --to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, heal the sick, love our enemies and bless the peacemakers.
Many thanks to the courageous folks who participated in the action at the Cathedral on Easter calling the church to take a real stand against the war, not just give it lip service.
Take Action Now --- Call Cardinal George and demand charges are dropped: 312-751-8230 and submit letters of support to the local newspaper, Chicago Tribune