“Raging Grannies” Head to Washington, D.C.

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(Host) About two hundred activists from Vermont are in Washington this weekend. They’ll join thousands of others taking part in marches and rallies to highlight a variety of concerns. One small but unusual group of protesters took the train yesterday.

VPR’s Steve Zind was there for the sendoff.

(Zind) A dozen women dressed like Granny Clampett of the “Beverly Hillbillies” entertain well wishers waiting to see them off at the Montpelier Amtrak station. Like others in her group, Esther Farnsworth wears a colorful print dress and a hat festooned with plastic flowers:

(Farnsworth) “We’ve tried to have some educational programs and get our message out of non-violence for a long time and often people didn’t listen to us, so we decided to form this group called the Raging Grannies and we do kind of humorous political satire.”

(Zind) The Raging Grannies formed ten years ago when members of the local chapter of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom heard about a group of singing activist grandmothers in Canada. While their mood is festive, their message is not. This weekend in Washington, the group plans to take part in demonstrations and meet with representatives of Vermont’s Congressional delegation. They’ll present a series of demands on the war in Afghanistan, the Middle East conflict, racial profiling, economic justice. Paige Wadley-Bailey says the Raging Grannies’ list of causes is long and varied:

(Wadley-Bailey) “I rage all the time. I rage about racism, I rage about ageism, I rage about adultism and homophobism and looks-ism. I rage about anything there needs to be some raging done about. That’s why I’m going to Washington. Hit or miss, hook or crook, I’m on the train to Washington.”

(Zind) Esther Farnsworth says the Raging Grannies usually confine their activism to Vermont. She says because of the situation in the Middle East and the war on terrorism, she feels it’s important for her group to travel to Washington.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind in Montpelier.

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