The Daily Targum

Activists Aim To Knock On 1 Million Doors

The Daily Targum — Monday, September 22, 2008

Aviva Kushner / Correspondent

In the largest anti-war mobilization of this year, thousands of anti-war activists all over the country went door-to-door on Saturday with the goal of reaching one million people with their message ending the war in Iraq.

In Highland Park, about nine members of the New Jersey Citizen Action participated in the Million Doors for Peace campaign – each with the goal of knocking on about 40 doors. The NJCA organizes various campaigns that promote economic, social, racial and political justice. It also co-sponsors the Million Doors campaign with about 20 other organizations, according to their Web site.

"The idea behind Million Doors for Peace is that while peace movement demonstrations are an encouraging event, sometimes they don't get coverage by the press and not as much attention as they deserve," said Rutgers College alumnus of 2006 and Organizer of NJCA Atif Malik. "By going to people's houses, talking to them face to face, you are involving people who may have never had a chance to connect to groups that are fighting to bring the war to an end and peace to our country."

With 25,000 volunteers in all 50 states, the Million Doors campaign represents a new style of protest and spreading information, because it entails volunteers talking to people where they live instead of gathering in one place, according to the press release.

By mobilizing door-to-door canvassing, volunteers are also helping the peace movement to grow in size, making it more difficult to be ignored by legislatures and important political figures, Malik said.

Talking points of the volunteer's demonstrations included how the war is affecting ordinary people in day-to-day life. The war has drained U.S. taxpayers of at least three trillion dollars that could have gone towards investing in our economy and securing health care for our families, according to the campaign's organizational pamphlets.

The campaign aims to collect one million signatures against the war in Iraq, Malik said. The NJCA will find out Thursday if they reached their goal, he said.

The national coalition for Million Doors for Peace will be delivering the petition of the signatures to Congressmen this Thursday, Sept. 25, he said.

Information about the campaign was spread through e-mail, Malik said, and volunteers were sent canvassing information and tips via the Internet.

"The whole way it was set up online for people to do things on their own in the manner that they would like is something we've never done before," Malik said. "It allows people to do things on their own in the manner they would like."

NJCA is also campaigning for affordable Healthcare. Last week, the group hosted eight screenings of the Brave New Films' documentary titled "Diagnosis: Now!" in living rooms, congregations and union halls across New Jersey on Sept. 14.

The showings were part of a national campaign to bring affordable healthcare for everyone, Walsh said.

"Diagnosis: Now!" uses the stories of everyday Americans to illustrate how the health care industry continues to put profits before people's healthcare needs and highlights the urgent need for quality, affordable health care for everyone in America, according to an NJCA press release.

Insurance companies are making decisions about health care based on profit, not patients' health, Walsh said.

"Seventeen people stuffed into my living room," he said. "We ran out of chairs."

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