BERKELEY -- On the evening before President Obama's talk Tuesday night to the nation on a possible military strike against Syria, Moveon.org spearheaded 165 community vigils in 41 states to oppose the military action, including two in Berkeley.
Chanting "No war/No bombs" and "Out of the cars and into the streets," around 40 people lined part of the heavily trafficked commute route on Tunnel Road beginning at 5 p.m. They were greeted by honks and waves.
Across town, Virginia Hollins-Davidson was among 80 or so people attending a 7 p.m. candlelight vigil on Hopkins Street near Monterey Avenue.
"It's time to talk and work things out," she said. "We set a bad example for our children. If children try to resolve everything on the playground by fighting, we tell them that's not right -- that's not going to work. Why can't we set the example?"
Lucy Urvano, 12, agreed. "I think sending missiles isn't the answer," she said. "You can't send violence to a place where there's already violence. It's just going to hurt more people."
Homemade signs in the crowd such as "Healthcare, not Warfare" and "Childcare Not Warfare" reflected Leah Mazel's thoughts. "More than half of our discretionary spending goes to the military," she said. "That leaves a whole lot less money to do important things like health care and education and taking care of our homeless population. We definitely don't want our money going there or the devastation it will bring to the Syrian people."
Lura Dolas said actions such as the vigil will help.
"I think it might do the same thing it did when we all stood up against the war in Vietnam," she said. "If enough people feel the same way, maybe someone will listen."