What is Code Pink?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2019
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Code Pink is a women's anti-war group which was founded in response to growing American involvement in the Middle East. Although the group was founded by female activists, people of all genders, races, classes, and creeds are welcome to participate in Code Pink events. The group has become well known in the United States for its creative and high profile protesting, especially in locations like Congress and in front of the White House.

The organization officially calls itself CODEPINK: Women for Peace, although most people know it by the more casual title of “Code Pink.” The name is meant to be a pun on the color-coded system used by the Department of Homeland Security to communicate the possible risk of terrorist attacks in the United States. In keeping with its name, many Code Pink activists wear pink during the organization's events, and the color pink is a dominant theme in the group's signage and designs.

The group was founded on 2 October, 2002 by several prominent activists including Medea Benjamin, Starhawk, Diane Wilson, and Jodie Evans. The women started a vigil in front of the White House in November of that year, and also led a march through the streets of Washington. Members of the group want to promote peace and social justice in the Middle East while also preventing the outbreak of additional wars. Members of Code Pink range from radical activists to the grieving parents of soldiers killed in overseas actions.


The group works in a number of different ways. In addition to engaging in creative and attention grabbing protesting, members also use nonviolent direct action as a tool, leading marches, rallies, and sit-ins to draw attention to their cause. In addition, many members of Code Pink value community involvement, and they are active both in their communities and in communities overseas; the organization has famously donated needed supplies to Iraqi civilians, for example.

Like any political group, Code Pink has detractors. Some soldiers and military supporters have been offended by Code Pink protest actions, especially outside military hospitals. Code Pink has also been involved in contentious situations outside the offices of military recruiters and some members of the government. The organization has also famously disrupted proceedings in Congress, blocked traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge, and “encircled the White House in pink” for International Women's Day.

Over 250 autonomous chapters of Code Pink are active world wide, organizing events and networking with other activists. Since no membership dues or official enrollment is required, anyone may choose to act as a member of Code Pink as long as he or she agrees with the principles of the organization.


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