Left Justified: Spring has sprung, where’s da flowers?

Nothing like the first snow of spring to remind oneself about Rockford weather. And we all can use a good blizzard to shake us from our doldrums and scare away the fears of global warming. (A friend of mine who enjoys these warm winters says, “If this be global warming, then bring it on!”).

And I know you gardeners out there concur.

In honor of the growing season, BlackHawk Sierra Club hosts Tom Spaulding from Angelic Organics Farms Monday, March 27, 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St. Tom will give us hints about growing food without pesticides and using only natural fertilizers.

For those of us waiting for spring, I know we hope our neighbors will not spread harmful chemicals to make their lawns greener. Last year, Emmanuel Lutheran Church handed out little lawn signs that spoke to those concerns.

I enjoyed Women’s History Month as I enjoy any type of history celebration. Rockford College’s “UnCommon Lives” brought some extraordinary ladies to town, and I was happy to meet most of them. Rockford Urban Ministries will be celebrating its own Women’s History program, and you are invited!

It’s called “Reviving the Dead Ladies” a celebration in song and verse, to be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 30, at Brooke Road United Methodist Church, 1404 Brooke Rd., between Kishwaukee and 11th St.

The Rockford branch of the American Association of University Women will read selections from historic women’s writings, surrounded by songs from the Womansong Choir of Womanspace, directed by famed Rockford vocalist Dorothy Paige-Turner. Readings will be directed by joan e kole, and come from the 1850 Women’s Rights Convention in Brinley Hall, Worcester, Mass. Those “dead ladies” brought back to life include: Paulina Wright Davis, Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott, Abby Kelley Foster, Abby Price, Harriet Hunt, Elizabeth C. Stanton, Lucy Stone and Ernestine Rose (you win an ERA button if you recognize all those women). The program is supported by the League of Women Voters, and is, of course, free and open to the public.

And finally, the third anniversary of the war in Iraq has come and gone without much fanfare. George W. Bush is prepared to take his policy of “shoot first and ask questions later” into Iran.

I hope George W. holds off his invasion of Iran until June or July. (Really, I hope he never invades another country.) I’ve been accepted on a peace delegation to Iran. The tour is organized by the oldest peace group in America, the Fellowship of Reconciliation. After World War I, American, British and German veterans who’d fought in and hoped for the “war to end all wars,” founded FOR. They wanted to reconcile differences among their countries, and, though unsuccessful, they never gave up. In May of this year, I will join 18 other American peace activists who will travel through Iran speaking to religious and civic leaders. Our hope is to build some form of people-to-people contact, and demonstrate American concerns for peace. We hope to make it to Tehran before the U.S. Marines.

My only regret is that I will miss springtime in Rockford. The reason for putting up with northern Illinois winter is to enjoy May as it springs forth in the prairies.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

From the March 29-April 4, 2006, issue

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