Today in 1965: 2,500 people gather in New York City’s Union Square to witness the burning of draft cards, a violation of recently passed federal law, as an expression of resistance to the Vietnam War. Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, and pacifist leader A.J. Muste spoke, identifying with the “crime” about to be committed. Gordon Christianson, chairman of the Committee for Nonviolent Action and a World War II combat veteran, used his lighter to burn the cards.
A counter-demonstrator shot a fire extinguisher at those ready to burn their cards, but they still ignited. And the counter-demonstrators shouted, “Burn yourselves, not your draft cards!” At trial, those who were arrested conceded the prosecution’s case, submitting footage of the action shot by a supporter. They made a defense under the First Amendment to the Constitution, arguing that the burning of draft cards in such a context was an act of symbolic speech. The trial judge found them guilty and sentenced them to six months in federal prison.
It’s today’s Action Calendar!
This Thursday, there will be a free Weatherization Class in Monroe. Project Home, a nonprofit organization serving Dane and Green Counties, will hold this class from 6 to 8p.m. at the Monroe Public Library. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Please call 608-246-3737 for directions and to register. Visit projecthomewi.org for more info.
Registration is now open for “Partnering for Healthy Communities,” a Capital Area Planning Conference. This will be 8am to 5pm on November 14th at Monona Terrace. There is a cost for the conference and scholarships are available. There is also a free half-day workshop on Thursday, November 15: Crafting Pathways for Change and Performance Indicators for the Capital Region. To register and for more info, visit capitalregionscrpg.org.
The Parental Stress line helps prevent child abuse by connecting parents who are stressed or feeling alone with volunteers who talk with them by phone. Training is necessary. Call 241-4888 extension 26 for details.