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I recently went to go see a rally involving justice for Jamal Khashoggi. Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi journalist who spoke out against the Saudi government. He was said to have been brutally murdered by a group of Saudi authorities in Turkey when he was trying to get legal documents allowing him to marry his fiance. He entered the Saudi consulate and never came out. I have always found interest in political activism, and I did not realize that when I went to this rally, I would be learning about more than just Jamal Khashoggi.


When I showed up outside the White House where demonstrations happen every day, I saw a group I was not expecting. There were about 20 older people, mostly female, who were enraged by the injustice of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. The crowd included people wearing clothing saying “code pink”—something I hadn’t heard of before. Surrounded by press, these women held up signs saying “SANCTION SAUDIS CODE PINK” and well as “WHERE’S KHASHOGGI? CODE PINK”. They held cutouts of his head and a few older men were dressed up for the cause. These people were a force to be reckoned with. They had a list of demands and national coverage—and they were ready to use them.

I eventually found out that these people are mostly retired citizens who are professional activists who spend their time in retirement championing the causes of others. I was shocked by this—usually when you think of retirement, you think golf, knitting or attempts to learn how to use Facebook. But instead these inspirational people are making a difference every day while sharing their voices in front of the White House. I hope one day I can be anything like this amazing group of people.


Code Pink: Women for Peace is an internationally regarded nongovernmental organization (NGO).  Their goals are based around building a more peaceful world. I followed this particular march that included them protesting all the way from the White House to the U.S. Department of State. At the U.S. Department of State there was a featured guest speaker from Saudi Arabia giving insight to his life there and the treatment that Saudis receive from their government. This march was an inspiring sense of hope in a world constantly plagued by misfortune.  


These women were not afraid to walk the streets of Washington D.C. and chanted the entirety of the march, “We demand justice.. Jamal Khashoggi, we remember… Jamal Khashoggi!” I was not expecting to find an organization such as this when I went to the rally, but I am so glad that I did. They embodied everything we should aspire to be, while emphasizing the need for us to speak our minds and utilize our freedom of speech.


Images by Renee Lamarque, www.codepink.com

Renee Lamarque

Virginia Tech '21

Travel enthusiast, feminist, adventure loving free spirit
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