Mr. President, meet your closest neighbor: Concepcion Picciotto.
The tourists come and go on Pennsylvania Avenue; the presidents, the inaugurations, the dignitaries and the political scene is always changing. But some things remain the same in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House in Washington, D.C.
She stands directly in front of the White House; she has been called "The Little Giant", a paradox, a mystery.
Concepcion Picciotto is one who stays; through the rain and snow, the arrests, the abuses and threats; through the years. Since 1981, Concepcion, or 'Connie' to her friends, has continued a vigil for world peace against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction ; and against all odds that she would still be here 16 years later.
"A Piece of History"Conchita's Personal History
The Vigil: Past To Present
The following excerpts are from the many articles that have been written by sympathetic and malicious reporters alike to give you a real
PIECE OF HISTORY:
I'd like to take this opportunity to Thank the many publications and supporters over the years who have contributed their ideas, energy, and compassion to keep the vigil going. Any representation of articles is for the purpose of exhibiting the TRUTH, and to tell the story only, not for any personal gain. This web site has been contributed by friends. Sincerely, Concepcion Picciotto.
March 1, 1997.
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Reflections of the Past: The Early Years
In The Beginning: (Just click the article name
if you want to read the rest of the story.)
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
By Kathleen Tyman
The new, carefully painted signs on the White House fence read "Wanted: Wisdom and Honesty," among other noble but obscure demands. They are the property of William Thomas, one of three self appointed protesters- in- residence.
Thomas and Concepcion Picciotto have been in their chosen spot on the sidewalk everyday for more than a year...on June 17, they held their ground and were arrested.
WASHINGTON TIMES STAFF
A FAST FOR LIFE, LIBERTY
AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
by William Thomas
The purpose of my life is to acquire wisdom and attain moral perfection.
I live as a penniless wanderer and a pilgrim
Wisdom compells me to recognize that moral perfection is impossible for a member of an amoral nation-state.
Then Concepcion and Thomas met their good friend and mentor, Norman Mayer, click picture below for story.
Norman gave them the courage to make more and bigger signs:
"After Norman died, we painted even more signs," said Concepcion. "I don't remember how many signs there were, but they reached about three-fourths of the way down the White House sidewalk," Thomas said.
Houston Chronicle March 13, 1983
BY MONA MEGALLI
United Press International
Sympathizers with demonstrator who was slain at White House continue their anti-nuclear vigil
WASHINGTON -- A guard at the gate calls them the regulars. the ones who sit, stand or pace Pennsylvania Avenue nearly every day picketing the White House.
People for or against nuclear war, abortion, the Vietnam War, budget cuts, and many other issues have made the northern front of the White House their forum.
"Whatever makes the headlines one day, there's someone who comes in the next day to file for a First Amendment permit. It goes in cycles," says National
Park Police spokeswoman Sandra Alley.
Some protest there for a few hours, others persist in their cause for years. Most remain anonymous. Norman Mayer didn't.
On Dec. 8, Mayer, 66, who had demonstrated daily before the White House against nuclear weapons since June 1982, besieged the Washington Monument for 10 hours before he was killed by police.
Something else happened after norman's death, the Park Police were worse than ever. It became apparant that new rules were being promulgated by the U.S.Park Police. Concepcion and Thomas fought them in Federal Court:
The Washington Times
THURSDAY, MAY 5, 1983
By David Sellers
Washington Times Staff
A federal judge yesterday struck down new National Park Service regulations that limit the activities allowed as part of demonstrations on the sidewalk in front of the White House.
U.S. District Judge William Bryant issued a temporary restraining order, explaining that he failed to find that an emergency existed and that federal officials should have allowed a 30-day comment period on the regulations instead of putting them into effect immediately.
"I don't think there's any justification for not having that 30-day period:' Bryant said. "There's no articulated exigency."
Although there are 20 days left in the comment period, Bryant's order is good for only 10 days. Lawyers for both sides acknowledged that they may be back before the court at a later date; but they said they would try to work out any differences among themselves.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Bates said he was not certain whether his office would appeal Bryant's order.
The new regulations, implemented April 22, prohibit individuals from exhibiting placards or signs on the White House sidewalk unless the person holds them at all times.
In spite of their resistance, the Park Police and the Secret Service won the battle, and the protesters were forced off the White House Sidewalk:
Concepcion salutes the Park Police, Hitler-style, as they take the signs away.
"It was disgraceful," she remembers.
Protesting on the White House Sidewalk had come to an end. A new way of life began for Thomas and Concepcion:
By Charles E. Wheeler
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Dozens of large protest signs have gone up in Lafayette Park since last year's National Park Service regulations restricting demonstrations on the White House sidewalk, and they're getting mixed reviews from locals and tourists.
THE NORTH IRELAND TIMES
THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 1985
Beaten, abused, living rough, they stand like some moral Maginot Line on a permanent White House peace vigil..
The man and the woman-Concepcion Picciotto and William Thomas - live under the stars, exposed to the rain and snow, summer and winter, without tent or sleeping bag. They feed like the pigeons and squirrels in the park, on what comes along, sometimes from the nearby McDonald's or Hardees bins.
It is a starkly contrasting picture in the capital of the world's greatest nation. On the south side, in the great mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue live Ronald and Nancy Reagan...across the street in Lafayette Park, without address or visible means of support, are Concepcion and William, with their messages of peace..
Word of Mouth,Inc. A Newspaper
Dedicated to the Population Majority
VOLUME III An International Publication Based in Jacksonville,Florida,USA
........ a very powerful advertising campaign was launched in Washington, District of Columbia, more than three years ago. The marketing director was one of the growing number of women in the business of public relations. Except that she was hired to do a huge campaign, -- with no prior experience! She got the job due to connections. So, she was offered only the experience of the job itself--with no salary.
She took the position anyway, knowing that its ultimate worth could not be measured in dollars; that its true reward would be in proving herself, opening doors only dreamed of by most of us. She experienced running an effective national campaign, and saw her work spread rapidly to a campaign of international repute.
Concepcion is the name of this woman. . Her name means "the beginning of creation or something"-- and she lives to conceive the idea of the real possibility of peace on earth through disarmament.
A LIFE OF PROTEST
By George Joseph Tanber
WASHINGTON: She's beginning her eighth winter in the neighborhood, yet she's never met the only other residents of the block.
"I've seen four presidents in my sixteen-year vigil, and not one of them have ever invited me or sent anyone in his name to talk to me. Other than the police harassment, and the defamations of character in the name of the law, I am ignored by them"
TOLEDO MAGAZINE, Decmber 4-10, 1988
Sunday, Sept. 19, 1993
From James Sarda
PENNSYLVANIA Avenue in Washington D.C. is home to two famous residents both located diagonally across from the other.
One is the most powerful men on earth-who exercises great influence from a secure and comfortable white-washed 1818 century mansion.
The other is a woman who braves the wind, rain, sun and snow in a lonely round-the-clock street vigil alerting people to the horrors of weapons and nuclear war.
What inspires this intelligent woman to stay there? Her answer
is quick: "I am in pursuit of Peace and Justice", says Concepcion, "to make people aware, so that they wake up to the reality that weapons of mass destruction threaten the extinction of mankind. The people have to make the change. The governments do not represent the people, they represent the corporations. We have to start from scratch. If the people lead, the leaders will follow. That's when revolutions happen, when the people cannot tolerate anymore," she concluded., "The people are in despair, the economy is crumbling, the crime is worse than ever, and the bombers are everywhere."
"People just want to be heard'" Concepcion added;
Concepcion has learned that if you keep trying, some people do listen:
Reflexion grafica por Sally Hanlon:
Revista Maryknoll, March 1992
Cargando la cruz ajena
Concepcion Piccioto, oriunda de Espana, lleva 10 anon dia y noche frente a la Cas Blanca en vigilia permanente por la paz?
Concepcion Picciotto, a native of Spain, has spent 10 years [97: now 16 years] of her life in front of the White House day and night in a permanent vigil for peace.
What will I contribute to peace?
Concepcion has been an inspiration to Peace Activists from around the world who come back year after year to have their picture taken with her and to hope they will be the next recipient of the beautiful and famous "peace rocks" she paints with the word "Peace" in several different languages, which she also speaks.
These people tell her, "Please don't give up,we need you here!", and "You do this for all of us, and for the children." That's why she does it, for the children.
"We must teach the children to respect and value LIFE, not material things. That's the only way we will have peace," she said at a recent interview in Washington. "The people must demand that the governments stop using the people's money to buy weapons, and use it for the people's needs, such as education, jobs, housing and health care; People need to live with dignity. If the people have what they need, there would be no reason to fight," added Concepcion.
No More Hiroshimas
One of Concepcion's Fliers depicts the little girl, Sadako Sasaki, who died on October 25, 1955, from leukemia, "the bomb sickness", which killed many for years after the war. This statue was erected in Hiroshima Peace Park, in 1958, in memory of Sadako and the thousands of children who died at Hiroshima. Sadako is holding a golden crane in outstretched arms atop a granite mountain. The legend in Japan is that if you fold a thousand paper cranes, the angels will grant your wish. Every year, on August 6 --Peace Day, children come from all over the world to place paper cranes at the base of the statue.
The White House Anti-Nuclear Vigil is one of those constant reminders that Free Speech is alive and well in the United States of America: even in Washington. Or, is it?
The "Regulations" being implemented by the National Park Service have slowly, subtly, consistently pushed the First Amendment frontliners to the back of the park, away from the White House and the tourists, but the Park Police don't let up.
After Clinton's second Inauguration, we moved the signs back to the front of the White House, as we have done since Reagan's second term. The Park Police were rude, and said, "No, you can't move those signs until the supervisor gives the order."
Well, the signs were moved, but we have suffered constant harassment since then. The police have locked the bathrooms, and they watch every minute to see if I leave the signs. Thanks to friends, I do get a break occasionally; and the vigil goes on...
Concepcion Articles (table)
Conchita Personal Story
The President's Neighbor
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