John Lennon Inspires Peace Activists

09Oct87 John Lennon Inspires Peace Activists

Daily Nexus

University of California, Santa Barbara

Friday, October 9, 1987

John Lennon Inspires Peace Activists

Weeklong Sleep-in to Begin on His Birthday

By Scott Savary

John Lennon would have been 47 today.

To celebrate the birth of the late Beatle, area activists will sponsor a seven-day/seven-night protest in Anisq Oyo Park to challenge the Santa Barbara County's ordinance against public sleeping. The week-long event will also promote global peace, according to its organizer, David Crockett Williams, founder of the Isla Vista-based American Peace Movement.

Lennon's birthday was chosen to kick-off the event because of his "commitment to world peace as an artist and musician," Williams said. "(American Peace Movement's sleep-in) is a direct spiritual inspiration of John Lennon's sleep-in during the sixties," he explained.

The sleep-in is intended to question the usefulness of Santa Barbara County's ordinance against public sleeping, which prohibits sleeping on public or private property not specifically designated for camping, Williams said.

"We are not specifically opposed to this (anti-sleeping) law, but moreover to the whole system of laws in the U.S.," Williams said.

Isla Vista Foot Patrol Officer Al Selander describes enforcement of the no-sleeping ordinance as a "low-grade priority," and unless the protesters cause problems "we will not hassle them," he said.

Williams' vision is "to have a week-long encampment with no arrests." However, there will be people seeking to be put in jail, he explained. "If people want to be arrested, we're going to make it as safe and sane as possible."

While the sleep-in will protest the no-sleeping ordinance, it will also promote world peace, Williams said. Each morning during the week, the protesters will walk to UCSB's eternal flame, as well as the "tree of peace" adjacent to Storke Tower. On Oct. 30, the flame, located between Ellison Hall and the UCSB Library, will be lit by Santa Barbara Mayor Sheila Lodge and the mayor of Santa Barbara's Soviet sister-city Yalta, Williams said.

The daily walks to the campus peace monuments will "get the message out" and prepare the community for the eternal flame's lighting ceremony, Williams explained.

The week-long event will also attempt to "get a number of peace messages to the public," Williams continued. Activities will "include speeches, workshops, meals, bands and various films...on world peace."

The sleep-in is one of several events leading up to a cross-country walk sponsored by the American Peace Movement. The nationwide trek is scheduled to leave Santa Barbara on Christmas Day and arrive in Washington DC on Halloween 1988, Williams said.