Left Justified: Spring thoughts and activities

Warmer weather brings out the best in us. It also brings out the worst: chemical fertilizing and use of pesticides on our lawns. As bad as concrete is, Kentucky bluegrass (or whatever brand) is almost worse, keeping water from percolating down to replenish the groundwater. Replacing prairie or gardens with lawn makes for more floods. And more chemicals poured on lawns causes our groundwater to taste funny (and that is not “funny ha-ha”).

Spring is a time for new beginnings and new ideas. Here’s one: everybody should get a “living wage” who work. What’s a “living wage”? Find out this Monday, March 19, with a program at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St., titled “A Living Wage for All.” It’s co-sponsored with the local United Auto Workers Jobs Campaign and starts at 7:30 p.m. Bob Von der Ohe, professor of Economics at Rockford College, will advocate for a basic living wage for workers.

March is Women’s History Month, and my favorite program is watching the Womansong choir directed by famed Rockford vocalist Dorothy Paige-Turner. This year’s event is “Celebrating Working Women” and includes songs and readings offered by local “working women.” Reflections by Kathryn Engels Terasaki, arts coordinator for the Rockford Public Schools: Rev. Nancy Rethford, pastor of Cherry Valley United Methodist Church; organic farmer Kathy Spataro and attorney Gwyn Gulley (she was a candidate for judge during the last elections. She almost won!).

The “Celebration” is Thursday, March 22, 7 p.m., at Bethany United Methodist Church, 410 Eighth St. at Third Avenue. The Church is visible from Charles, kitty-corner to Swedish American hospital, just southeast of Nicholson Hardware. Of course, the program is free and open to the public, and a free will offering will be taken.

And finally, the war is celebrating its fourth anniversary with a number of local marches and demonstrations. DeKalb is this Friday, March 16 with an hour vigil starting at 5 p.m. at Memorial Park on the corner of First Street and West Lincoln Highway (downtown Dekalb). There will be speakers, poetry reading, and music. If weather permits, they’ll have photos of soldiers from Illinois killed in Iraq thus far (why don’t pro-war agitators appreciate this?).

Beloit, Wis., students host a demonstration at 3 p.m., Sunday, March 18, featuring Iraq Veterans for Peace at Riverside Park, which I believe is along Highway 51 just north of the college.

And the big march and rally will take place on the actual anniversary, Tuesday, March 20. The evening program starts at 6 p.m. people will assemble at 24 W. Walton Street in Chicago (no, I do not know why they picked that address.), and at 7:30 p.m. they (meaning hundreds of peace groups) will march down Michigan Avenue to Daley Plaza. Should be interesting, and I am sure the police will be more than helpful.

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

from the issue March 14-20, 2007, issue

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