Concepción Picciotto

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Concepcion Picciotto
Concepcion Picciotto June 15,2010.jpg
Concepción Picciotto on 15 June 2010 at the White House
María de la Inmaculada Concepción Martín

15 January 1936
Vigo, Galicia, Spain
Died25 January 2016 (aged 80)
Known forActivism

Concepción Picciotto (born María de la Inmaculada Concepción Martín; 15 January 1936 – 25 January 2016), also known as Conchita or Connie, was a Spanish-born, United States-based peace activist. She lived in Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. on the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, in a peace camp across from the White House, from 1 August 1981 in protest of nuclear arms until her death.[1][2]

Picciotto carried on the longest continuous act of political protest in the United States,[3] with her camp having been nicknamed by her supporters as "1601 Pennsylvania Avenue".[4]

Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington D.C.'s delegate to the House of Representatives, noted that many of Picciotto's goals were accomplished during her protest including a reduction in atomic proliferation.[5]


Picciotto claimed to have been orphaned in Spain and raised by a grandmother. After arriving in the United States in 1960, she worked as a receptionist for a Spanish government commercial attaché in New York. She married an Italian immigrant (whose forename is unknown) and lived in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn, New York. She reportedly adopted an infant daughter, Olga, in Argentina in 1973.[6]

Concepción Picciotto at the White House Peace Vigil, June 2010

Picciotto was inspired by fellow activist William Thomas (died 23 January 2009), who originally began the White House Peace Vigil on 3 June 1981.[3][7][8] They began protesting on the sidewalk by the White House fence. National Park Service rules moved them across Pennsylvania Avenue. She was sentenced to 90 days for violating rules. They are moved for inaugural parades.[9]

During her life she was assisted by members of Occupy Peace House[10] where she resided.[11]

She was reported to be in discussions with Ellen Thomas to remain in the Peace House, a house in Washington D.C. which Ellen had inherited from her late husband, William Thomas.[12]


Picciotto died on 25 January 2016, 10 days after her 80th birthday, at N Street Village, a non-profit organisation that supports homeless women in Washington. The cause of death was not immediately known but she had recently experienced a fall.[13]


Concepcion Picciotto in 2012

Picciotto was featured in Michael Moore's 2004 film, Fahrenheit 9/11, as well as in veb-films Route 66 mockumentary. The Oracles of Pennsylvania Avenue (2012) by Tim Wilkerson, a documentary commissioned by the Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, recounts the life of Picciotto, William and Ellen Thomas, and Norman Mayer.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tanber, George Joseph (4 December 1988). "A life of protest". The Blade. Google News Archive. p. 12. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
  2. ^ Associated Press (4 November 1992). "For some, the vigil isn't over yet". Times-News (Hendersonville, North Carolina). Google News Archive. p. 8A. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
  3. ^ a b Mathes, Michael (15 March 2009). "Washington protester who outlasts presidents". Agence France-Presse. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
  4. ^ "The President's Neighbor". Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  5. ^ Roberts, Sam (27 January 2016). "Concepcion Picciotto, Who Kept Vigil by White House for Three Decades, Dies". New York Times.
  6. ^ Rogin, Josh (19 January 2009). "Mr. Obama, Welcome to the Neighborhood". CQ Politics. Retrieved 5 July 2010.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Lee, Andrea (15 August 2008). "Pennsylvania Avenue's other famous couple". CBC News. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
  8. ^ Coronado, Kris (30 January 2011). "Whatever Happened To... ... the protesters at Lafayette Square park?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  9. ^ Montgomery, David (3 June 2006). "A Long Wait for Peace". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  10. ^ Occupy Peace House website Archived 2012-05-29 at the Wayback Machine; accessed 27 January 2016.
  11. ^ Walther, Konstanze (27 June 2009). "D.C. vigil keeper gives peace a chance, shift by shift". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Richmond Times-Dispatch. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
  12. ^ John Kelly (4 November 2011). "For 30-year peace activist, a new battle". The Washington Post.
  13. ^ Caitlin Gibson, Concepcion Picciotto, who held vigil outside the White House for decades, dies, The Washington Post, 25 January 2016; retrieved 27 January 2016.
  14. ^ "The Oracles of Pennsylvania Avenue". Al Jazeera World. 18 April 2012. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012.

External links[edit]