Chicago demonstrators call for no war with Iran

By Yun Hao
Medill Reports

“Having a dual citizenship — it’s like my parents are getting divorced,” said Negin Goodrich, an Iranian American who came to the anti-war demonstration with a sign featuring a photo of herself and her 75-year-old mother living in Iran.

The peaceful demonstration to denounce any move toward war with Iran took place Thursday afternoon on the Lincoln Park Pedestrian Bridge overlooking Lake Shore Drive.

“I love America as much as I love Iran, and I don’t want to see both of those countries in war,” Goodrich said, adding that she was very worried about her friends and family back in Iran. Her family is too anxious to sleep at night due to the threat of war, she said.

“This is a symbolic picture. It shows that we Iranians are like my mother. They’re not terrorists. They’re not very dangerous, Goodrich said. “They’re just regular people — very peaceful, very kind, and they don’t deserve to be treated like that.”

Photos by Yun Hao/Medill

Goodrich’s mother has a green card but cannot come all the way to the U.S. by herself because of her age, and her sisters and friends who can help her mom were all denied access to the U.S. due to the travel ban that included people from Iran. “I don’t have plans cause I can’t,” said Goodrich, who has lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years., coordinator of the nationwide demonstrations opposing war with Iran, organized more than 370 protest sites across the nation, including the one in Chicago and four others in the Chicago area.

The Chicago demonstration, held from 5 to 6 p.m., brought about 80 people to the Lincoln Park Pedestrian Bridge. They faced the traffic stream heading north from downtown along Lake Shore Drive with their protest signs.

More than 480 people had signed up for the demonstration but many people came and went as space on the pedestrian bridge filled up.

The protesters chanted “No War with Iran!” “US out of the Middle East!” and “Hands Off Iran!” Passing cars honked in response through the hour of protest.

“There’s a sign of ‘No War On Iran’, and that’s why you’re hearing all those honking (cars). I think many people agree with us,” said Linda Maschek, a member of Indivisible Chicago, a grass roots organization that sponsored the Chicago demonstration.

“I am a pro-peace person and I believe that (President Donald) Trump is making the wrong decisions regarding attacking Iran,” Maschek said.  “I look at Trump’s actions with a lot of trepidation and fear.”

“This is the sign of peace,” Maschek said, referring to the shared hand gesture of “V,” for peace. “It can date back to the ’60s, and I’m old enough to know it,” she said, laughing.

An eye-catching orange swim ring served as another sign. Owner Karin McKie has quite a history of using swim rings this way. “They’re usable. They’re foldable. They’re waterproof,” she said. “I knew that I would be protesting a lot for the next few years after the election so I just bought a whole crate of them.”

“We want to bring awareness. We want to show our city, our state, our country and the world that we have nothing against the Iranian people and I know that the people (there) have nothing against us,” McKie said, while still gesturing “V” facing the traffic with her sign calling for “No War.”

“You poke a bear, and then you say I’m not gonna poke him again,” said Marj Halperin, a board member of Indivisible Chicago commenting on Trump’s Wednesday statements that the U.S. is ready for peace with Iran.

“We do not need another needless, costly, dangerous war for our country right now,” she said. The protest took Indivisible Chicago a few days to organize, and Halperin said that they are ready for more protests if needed to get the message across.

“It’s a great turn out, and I think it shows how angry and frightened people are when they see how erratic our president is and how he’s endangering our own national security with actions that everyone calls reckless,” she said.

Many of the demonstrators stayed showing their signs even after the protest ended.

Photo at top: Iranian American Negin Goodrich holds a photo of her and her mother, who lives in Iran, at the anti-war demonstration overlooking Lake Shore Drive. (Yun Hao/Medill)