Women in Black is an international peace network. Vigils were started in Israel with Israeli and Palestinian women in 1988, and were modeled on the Mothers of the disappeared in Argentina during the time of the Junta in the 1970s. Today, Women in Black are standing for peace worldwide.
Photo by Josiah Roe
In 2002, Angelika Johnson of Bisbee attended the Tucson Peace Fair and saw Tucson’s Women in Black booth. She returned to Bisbee determined to start a group here. She put out a flyer and three women showed up to talk about a vigil. They began standing for peace the following Friday. The group started as women only on April 19, 2002, with four women standing for peace, holding a sign reading “Women in Black – against war and violence everywhere.”
Men soon asked to be included, and they were accepted into the group. However, the group today is still primarily women. Women in Black has stood every single Friday since April 2002 including on freezing winter nights, in summer temperatures of over 100 degrees, and during monsoon storms.
We stand regularly every Friday from 5-6 pm right in front of the Western Bank building in downtown Old Bisbee. A few years ago, we decided to change our message to one more positive, and our new sign reads, “Women in Black – Standing for Peace.”
Women in Black started as a group of peaceful women who barely knew one another. It has evolved today into a community of politically active women. Through our circle of peace at the end of each vigil, we have initiated many political actions including a peace demonstration, several peace marches, a border vigil, and more. In addition to political actions, we regularly reward ourselves with social activities. Our group continues to bring the message of peace to the people of Bisbee as well as many of the people who visit here.
"During the pandemic we stopped standing for a while, but are back right now from 5 – 5:30 pm every Friday, mostly just 2 -3 people standing with face masks and still spreading the word about peace."