About 70 people, mostly seniors, took to Jackson Heights Monday night to urge Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) to vote no on potentially bombing Syria for the government’s alleged use of toxic gas on its citizens.
“We have to take a different stance from Obama,” said Lebanese-Armenian Maria Bakhchyan at the hour-long candlelight vigil. “We’re tired of America going into all the Middle Eastern countries. It’s going to make things worse.”
“I am opposed to military intervention in Syria because killing more Syrians is not the answer to those Syrians who have already been killed,” said local organizer Judith Natkins.
A spokesman for Crowley said the Congressman is appreciative of New Yorkers’ engagement, but was attending a classified briefing on the Syria situation during the vigil.
Crowley supports a diplomatic solution to stopping chemical warfare.
The vigil came a day before President Obama addressed the nation on Syria. He asked Congress to delay a vote, which most analysts believed would be against a military strike.
He cited a possible agreement with Russia, a longtime ally of Syria, to work with international monitors to destroy chemical weapons. Working with Russia has stirred doubt among lawmakers, however.
Obama previously called for action, saying Syria violated international law by using chemicals that killed children and adults and therefore threatened U.S. security.
The event was part of a national day of action being organized by the progressive organizations MoveOn.org, Civic Action, CREDO Action, Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Win Without War. Similar vigils took place in nearly 100 cities across the country on Monday.
— reporting by Gabrielle Laurie