After eight loooooong years, progressives and activists have a great opportunity to get their voices heard in 2009 and to make some real progress in creating the kind of world we’d all like to see.  And this upcoming week offers a lot of opportunities to get started with great events all across St. Louis.

This week’s events:

Monday – Saturday.  This is the last week to donate to the Hands Helping Hands clothing drive.  If you have some clothes (or Christmas presents from a distant relative) that you don’t want, go to http://www.facebook.com/event…. to see where you can drop them off to make a great gift for someone who needs it.  

Monday, January 5, Today is the national and St. Louis Pink Out for LGBT Awareness.  All you have to do is wear pink!  Check out http://www.facebook.com/event…. for more details.

Also Monday, All this week, the St. Louis Instead of War Coalition is holding vigils calling for an end to the violence in Gaza.  Tonight’s vigil is at Channel 4 KMOV-TV on Market and Memorial from 4 to 6 PM.  Check in at http://www.insteadofwar.org for all the details.

Tuesday, January 6.  St. Louis Jobs with Justice, Missouri ProVote, ACORN, unions, community groups, activists and elected officials are holding a rally to call on Congress to quickly pass an Economic Recovery Package that puts people to work!  The rally is from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Missouri Career Center (East of Delmar and Euclid) and you can get more info at http://www.facebook.com/event…. .

Also Tuesday, All this week, the St. Louis Instead of War Coalition is holding vigils calling for an end to the violence in Gaza.  Tonight’s vigil is at Senator Claire McCaskill’s office at 5850 Delmar from 4 to 6 PM.  Check in at http://www.insteadofwar.org for all the details.

Also Tuesday.  West County Drinking Liberally is holding a “Last Call” for the Bush Administration. Hard to think of a better reason to celebrate than that!  The event will be from 7 to 9 PM at Mike Duffy’s at 124 W. Jefferson in Kirkwood.

Wednesday, January 7.  All this week, the St. Louis Instead of War Coalition is holding vigils calling for an end to the violence in Gaza.  Tonight’s vigil is at Representative Russ Carnahan’s office at Brentwood an Manchester from 4 to 6 PM.  Check in at http://www.insteadofwar.org for all the details.

Thursday, January 8.  Congressman William “Lacy” Clay was a leader of a major victory for civil rights in St. Louis when he took on Jefferson Bank in 1963.  He’ll be speaking at the Florissant Valley Branch Library at 195 New Florissant Road S. as part of the “Favorite Author Series” at 7 PM, and you can get more info at http://leftbank.booksense.com/… .

Also Thursday, The St. Louis Chapter of NORML is meeting from 7:15 to 9 pm at the Indian Trails branch of the St. Louis County Libraries, 8400 Delport St.   They’ll be discussing their annual meeting and an upcoming March to the Arch on May 2.

Also Thursday, all this week, the St. Louis Instead of War Coalition is holding vigils calling for an end to the violence in Gaza.  Tonight’s vigil is at Senator Kit Bond’s office at Hanley and Bonhomme in Clayton from 4 to 6 PM.  Check in at http://www.insteadofwar.org for all the details.

Friday, January 9.  Veterans for Peace and many other great groups are sponsoring “Voices of Torture”, an event that will highlight the personal experiences of torture survivor Deissie Abebe an Captain James “Yusuf” Yee who ministered to Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay.  The event is from 7 to 9 PM at the St. Louis Ethical Society at 9001 Clayton Road.  You can get more details at http://www.facebook.com/event…. .

Also Friday, all this week, the St. Louis Instead of War Coalition is holding vigils calling for an end to the violence in Gaza.  Tonight’s vigil is at Representative Lacy Clay’s office at Delmar and Euclid from 4 to 6 PM.  Check in at http://www.insteadofwar.org for all the details.

Also Friday, Author Bill Cleveland will be at the CWE location (399 North Euclid) of Left Bank Books to discuss his book “Art and Upheaval.”  Here’s the description: “Artists in communities in crises the world over are working to resolve conflict, promote peace and rebuild civil society. This book contains six remarkable stories of artists who heal unspeakable trauma, give voice to the forgotten and disappeared and re-stitch the cultural fabric of their communities. Bill Cleveland is an activist, teacher, facilitator, lecturer and the director of the Center for the Study of Art & Community.”  The event starts at 7:30 and you can find out more at http://leftbank.booksense.com/…

Saturday and Sunday.  The Instead of War Coalition is taking a bus up to Camp Hope in Chicago, a vigil near Hyde Park pushing for Obama to follow through on his campaign promises about the war, Guantanamo Bay, and several other important issues.  You can find out more and RSVP your spot on the bus at http://www.insteadofwar.org/si… .

Saturday, Jan. 10.  Black Bear Bakery is holding its monthly benefit for KDHX from 9 am to 2 pm.  The bakery is located at 2639 Cherokee and is currently hosting an exhibit “The Art of Resistance.”  

Also Saturday, the Instead of War Coalition concludes its week of demonstrations  to protest the violence in Gaza with a march through the Loop.  The march starts at University City Hall on the corner of Delmar and Harvard and goes from noon to 2 PM.

Sunday, January 11.  The Gateway Green Alliance is hosting a MLK Celebration Dinner with yummy vegetarian food.  The event is at 6 PM at the Black Bear Bakery (2639 Cherokee) and you can find out more at http://www.gateway-greens.org/…  Admission is $10.

Have a fun and meaningful week,

Adam