TAOS, N.M.: 2,500 march at Rumsfeld’s house

In solidarity with peace demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco on the first anniversary of the Patriot Act, an estimated 2,500 marched on the home of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, demanding a halt to preparations for war with Iraq.

“I don’t think there has been a time from Vietnam until now when people have pondered to such a degree what it means to go to war against another country,” said march organizer and civil rights attorney Jeffrey Haas. A couple of hundred people had been expected. The march stretched for a half mile.

The peace coalition is planning a public forum on Nov. 15 and tacked an invitation for Rumsfeld on his gate.

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla.: African-American Research Library & Cultural Center opens

On October 26 the country’s third African-American Research Library and Cultural Center opened here after a seven-year struggle. The center features 75,000 books, original manuscripts, 5,000 feet of exhibit space and a 300-seat auditorium. It rivals the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem and the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History in Atlanta.

AUGUSTA, Me., MONTPELIER, Vt., NASHVILLE, Tenn.: Marchers call for peace

Calls for peace rang out loud and strong as 2,500 gathered in Augusta to end the Bush war drive. Marchers, many with strollers, snaked their way to the statue of Samantha Smith, the heroic Maine school girl who helped to broker peace between the U.S. and USSR during the Reagan administration.

In Montpelier, a city of 8,000, police estimated that 1,000 answered the call from the American Friends, Citizens Concerned About Violence, formed Sept. 12, 2001, and other peace groups marching to the steps of the state capitol to stop the war with Iraq.

“People are concerned about a foreign policy that serves a handful of people,” said activist Diane Tetrault.

Ariel Goodman, 10, demanded that government money be invested in schools, like her 100-year-old building badly in need of repair, instead of war.

Led by the Women in Black, 630 combat veterans, union organizers, religious leaders and activists carried their signs to the Nashville Metro Courthouse protesting the war drive.

Vanderbilt University Divinity School Dean, Rev. Jim Hudnut-Beumler condemned the Bush administration’s pending war with Iraq.

ALBANY, N.Y.: Insurers must cover womens’ health needs

Starting Jan. 1, 2003, New York women workers will see their health insurance expanded to cover their reproductive needs. The new law, spearheaded by the Coalition of Labor Union Women, is a breakthrough for not just women workers, but their families as well, says CLUW President Gloria Johnson, a vice president of IUE/CWA.

Besides contraception, the new law orders coverage of other services including: The right to access to primary and preventive obstetric and gynecological care without going through a gatekeeper, annual mammograms starting at age 40, not age 50, coverage for osteoporosis – declining bone density – detection, prevention and treatment and a statewide breast cancer detection program.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.: Religious leaders meet on AIDS in Africa

Over 200 local religious leaders attended a conference at Vanderbilt University in mid-October focused on “AIDS in Africa, Science and Religion.” Volney Gay, professor of religious studies and organizer of the conference, said the goal was to inspire religious leaders to lobby the U.S. government to increase aid to Africa to treat, contain and halt the deadly disease.

“The Awake Project: Uniting Against the African AIDS Crisis,” is available from the University’s religious studies department and includes grassroots materials for federal action.

SANTA MONICA, Calif.: Voters to decide on living wage law

On Nov. 5, voters here will become the first in the country to consider a “living wage” law that covers private sector workers completely independent of state funding or working on state property. The ballot question, JJ, is designed to force luxury beachfront hotels to pay employees $10.50 an hour with health care or $12.25 an hour without health care.

A similar ordinance passed by the City Council a year ago.

So far, the hotel industry has spent $1.8 million to defeat the referendum.

NEW YORK: MIT on WTC collapse

The single-bolt connections in the framework of the World Trade Center popped and fell apart during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, causing the floors to collapse on top of each other, according to a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Experts have been disputing how and why the twin towers collapsed. A study by a Manhattan engineering firm said damage caused by the planes, and fires that broke out as a result, caused both buildings to crumble during the terrorist attacks.

At stake is billions in insurance liability claims and city building codes.