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Archive for November 18th, 2010

Connie holds a sign showing William Thomas, the co-founder of the Peace Vigil. (photo: Reed)

193 days ago I shared with you the story of Start Loving who I met in front of the White House.  He fills in tending to the Peace Vigil that Concepcion Picciotto started with William Thomas in 1981.  The vigil can never be left unattended and they must not sleep while there.  It is remarkable to think that she has been there every day, with a few exceptions, since I was seven years old! 

The other day I wandered over to Lafayette Park which is in front of the White House and saw Connie, as she is often referred to, talking to some tourists.  I waited patiently and then approached her.  Our conversation lasted about 45 minutes and weaved back and forth from English to Spanish.

"I've learned a lot about inequalities in our society." - Concepcion Picciotto (photo: Reed)

Originally from Vigo, Spain (on the west coast just north of the border with Portugal), she came to the US in the early 60s.  Although she told me that she lost count of the years when I asked her how old she was, some sources online claim that she is 65.  

She has an amazing story.  In addition to the $10, I gave her $15 for a book that she sells to help support her efforts.  Almost all the information in the book you can find here online.  It is worth checking out.  It spans her immigration to the US, troubled marriage, the adoption and loss of her daughter, etc.  

The part about her daughter really touched me.  She couldn’t have children so they ended up in Argentina trying to buy a baby from a variety of doctors.  It sounded a little shady; doctors showing up in cars with newborns in their arms.  The short story is that in 1973 she finally made it back into the US with a baby girl, Olga.  But ended up losing her 20 months later when her husband gave her away while Connie was being kept in a hospital.  To my knowledge the two have never been reunited.  You can listen to a heartfelt letter she has written for Olga.

Picture courtesy of Connie's website.

Connie said she was going to use the $10 to help either print more books or possibly come out with a new book with additional material.

I believe that Connie has suffered a great deal in her life and my heart goes out to her.  She told me stories of her being beat, subject to harmful chemicals and tortured.  “I lost my teeth because of chemicals they have used on me,” she says referring to the government and military.  “I now have the teeth in a jar.”

I caught up with Nature Boy during his "office hours" in Lafayette Park.

I really enjoyed meeting her. I gave her a hug when I left and cut through the park where I ran into my friend Elijah Alfred Nature Boy Alexander Jr. from Day 185…check out this picture.  I love it!  And if you look closely at his legs you will see hundreds of scratches from squirrels that were climbing on him!

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