[saymaListserv] Friend Willoughby Goes to Jail

Steve Livingston nc_stereoman at charter.net
Thu Oct 21 13:26:34 JEST 2004


Dear Friends,

Lillian Willoughby was featured in the May 2004 issue of Friends 
Journal. If you haven't read this background story, it's worth your 
time to acquaint yourself with a steadfast and faithful practitioner of 
the Peace Testimony.

On March 20, 2003, she and several other persons were arrested in 
Philadelphia for obstructing the entrance to the Federal Courthouse. 
The following article was written by Joseph A. Slobodzian and 
distributed by Knight Ridder Newspapers.

=================

Bundled in two sweaters and a jacket against the biting wind as she 
sat in her wheelchair, 89-year-old Quaker antiwar activist Lillian 
Willoughby went to jail.

"I never dreamed I'd get this kind of send-off," said Willoughby, of 
Deptford, as she sat this morning in front of the U.S. courthouse in 
downtown Philadelphia surrounded by about 50 banner-holding 
members of the Brandywine Peace Community.

The gathering was both a peace vigil and show of support for 
Willoughby and five other demonstrators as they reported to the 
Federal Detention Center to begin seven-day sentences for blocking 
the courthouse entrance on March 20, 2003, the day after the Iraq 
war began.

"It will be worth it if it gets the message out and people start working 
for peace," Willoughby said.

Willoughby and the five other demonstrators - Michael Brix, 28; 
Marion Brown, 58; and Jason Fultz, 29, all of Philadelphia; and 
Cassandra Heino-Haw, 22, and husband Christopher Haw, 23, of 
Camden, N.J. - were among 107 arrested March 20, 2003.

The six were among the last to plead guilty to a misdemeanor 
charge and elect seven days in jail rather than a $25 fine.

But the presence of Willoughby, just three months shy of her 90th 
birthday, and husband George - active members of the peace 
movement for more than 60 years - brought an element of star 
quality to the event.

It was Willoughby's first arrest as a peace activist, and at times she 
seemed almost embarrassed by the attention.

"I have no worries whatsoever," said George Willoughby, who has 
been arrested many times in nonviolent demonstrations and was 
honored two years ago in India for promoting the precepts of 
Mohandas K. Gandhi. "She knows how to take care of herself and 
she is doing this for the right reason."

Also present at the vigil's start, in full dress uniform, was Marine 
Lance Cpl. Elliot Ruiz, recently returned home to North Philadelphia 
from Iraq. Though he chose not to speak publicly, Ruiz quietly 
thanked several demonstrators for promoting peace.

The group remained in front of the courthouse, on Market Street 
between Sixth and Seventh Streets, for 75 cold minutes handing 
leaflets to tourists and passersby and ignoring several truck-drivers 
who blew their airhorns in counter-protest, one of whom added an 
obscene gesture.

There were brief speeches by some of the six, including Brown, who 
railed at the government for starting the war the day her grandchild 
was born, and Brix, who pointed out his pregnant wife.

"I go to jail for my unborn boy because I don't want him, 25 years 
from now, to have to do the same thing I'm doing," Brix added.

Then it was time for the brief walk one block north on Seventh to 
Arch Street and the Federal Detention Center, where they will spend 
the next six days.

Detention Center spokesman Tony Alexander said staff were not 
making special accommodations for Willoughby: "We are a 
completely handicapped-accessible facility. We're well equipped to 
meet her needs."

With some difficulty, Willoughby was wheeled through the front 
doors and then transferred to a prison wheelchair. Her five 
associates joined her inside to a burst of applause and a chant from 
those outside: "We love you, Lillian!"




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