Who are the women in black?

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Observant members of the Swarthmore community may have noticed a group of women in black keeping silent vigil at the train station from five to six on Friday evenings. For the answer we went to Pat James, Director of the Lang Opportunity Scholars Program, who told us that “they are part of an international group of women who have weekly vigils in protest of war.”

The idea started in Israel in 1987 at the beginning of the Palestinian intifada, when both Israeli and Palestinian women began keeping weekly vigils in public places as a form of silent protest. Groups of women in other countries began to organize their own “Women in Black” vigils to show support for those in Israel; eighteen years later it has grown into a worldwide movement of women whose motto is “For Justice. Against War.”

Anyone is welcome to join the Swarthmore vigil to experience this powerful form of silent protest for themselves.

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