Category Archives: Our Work

Global Days of Action on Military Spending

Military Families Speak Out is joining with organizations throughout the country and the world in support of the Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS).  This year, April 5-18, have been designated as days to support moving the money from out-of-control military spending to life-affirming, sustainable human needs. 

Our special role as members of Military Families Speak Out is to point out the human costs of these wars, as we know them personally.  This campaign raises awareness about the insane amounts of money spent on wars and weapons demanding it be redirected to care for our veterans and the needs of our communities – jobs, education, health care, infrastructure improvements, climate change and other pressing human needs. 

There are many ways interested members can participate.   Here’s a fun one!!     

Between now and April 15th  Post a Selfie – Telling Us What You Think!  We invite you to:

1)      Take a photo or video of yourself holding a “Taxes – What Are They Good For?” or “What They Are Not Good For” sign with your message in the blank space. Perhaps in front of what you want to fund. (Blank signs are available online or make your own.) Or just type your comments and post them on our TAXE$ Facebook event page at this link.

2)      Post your photo or comment on our “Taxes – What Are They Good For?” event page with notes you want to add. (http://bit.ly/TaxesWhat )

3)      Invite friends and others to post their messages on the Page. (http://bit.ly/TaxesWhat)

4)      Come back to the Page and see what others are posting. 

 

Members can also organize an event in your community or work in coalition with other organizations on an event such as a rally, meetings with elected officials, forums, etc. 

National Priorities Project (www.Nationalpriorities.org ) has excellent resources for information about our overwhelming military spending at the expense of Americans needs here at home.  For example, if you go to that website and go to data/tools, then click on trade-offs, you will see a chart. You can get information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and its financial cost to taxpayers in the United States, your state, your county, and in your city. This information and other data on the website can be useful for a flyer, a fact-sheet, a class at a school, a poster, or elsewhere.

Please notify Pat Alviso (mfso-oc@earthlink.net )of any events you are planning so they can be posted on the MFSO Facebook page and website. Take pictures and write a short article for the next MFSO newsletter. Send those toPaularogovin3@gmail.com.

April – Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) is committed to supporting and raising awareness for our service members who have experienced sexual trauma during their time in the military. Sexual assault and harassment that occurs during military service is referred to as Military Sexual Trauma (MST).

A 2014 study found that about 1 in 20 women and about just under 1 in 100 men have been the victim of MST during their time in the military. However, many of those who are affected by MST while serving do not report and are oftentimes worried about the stigma attached to their suffering. This fear can cause increased isolation, making it hard to reach and treat those who have survived MST. 

If you or someone you know has a history of Military Sexual Trauma, please contact IAVA’s Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP). Our trained social workers are available to connect veterans to best in class resources with care and sensitivity, and will support veterans every step of the way. To get connected to RRRP, please call 1-855-91-RAPID, emailtransition@iava.org, or click here.

Activists in Teaneck call on U.S. to take in refugees

TEANECK — Local residents and activists who have protested U.S. military action in the Middle East and Afghanistan weekly for a decade turned their attention on Wednesday to refugees, calling for the nation to take in people who have been victimized in conflicts in those areas.

The activists, who include local residents and military veterans, said the United States should help because of its tradition of humanitarianism and welcoming immigrants, but also because of this country’s role in conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

“Republican candidates and governors have said we don’t want refugees from that region, but U.S. policy has actually created a lot of the refugee crisis,” said Paula Rogovin, co-founder of the weekly vigil, which marked 539 consecutive weeks on Wednesday.

She added, “It’s a terrible thing to say that your country is responsible for creating such a crisis, but it’s true and we have to take responsibility.”

The vigil was held outside the Teaneck Armory at the corner of Teaneck and Liberty roads, where eight people stood with signs and a bull horn, getting some honks of support from passing cars. The vigil participants included members of the Bergen County chapter of Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace, Chapter 21.

The group also chose to focus on refugees to counter the heated rhetoric about those coming into the United States from Syria, participants said. Some governors and Republican presidential contenders, including New Jersey’s Chris Christie, have argued that the United States should not take in Syrians because terrorists could be hiding among them and because they don’t trust the screening process.

The Obama administration, though, has argued that refugees must go through a long and thorough vetting process and that the United States has a moral obligation to help.

Norman Fisher, of Teaneck, who was at the vigil, agreed that the country should offer help. “That’s what this country is about – people coming here to better their lives,” he said.

Frank Wagner, a Vietnam veteran, said the Iraq war sent millions of people fleeing to neighboring countries while the war itself “created monsters over there with ISIS.”

The people fleeing just want safety, he said. “They’re human beings,” Wagner said. “Whether they’re from another part of the world, who cares?”

Gov. Christie has said he does not want Syrian refugees placed in New Jersey due to security concerns, but he has acknowledged that he does not have the power to stop their resettlement because immigration is handled by the federal government and not states. So far, around 80 have been resettled in New Jersey since the start of the conflict there nearly five years ago.

Altogether, millions of people have fled fighting in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan amid war, bombings and the spread of the Islamic State extremist group.

Article first published on NewJersey.com 

First American Killed in 4 Years in Ground Combat in Iraq

We are very sad to hear that that since the recent influx of troops and airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, the first US soldier was killed today. This soldier’s is the first American to die in combat in Iraq in four years. And so another American has died in this administrations futile attempt to stabilize a country that we never should have attacked in the first place.

Before more troops and airstrikes were sent to Iraq last year, MFSO warned this administration that if more troops were killed in Iraq, it would likely cause us to slide down that “slippery slope” of deepening our involvement in Iraq. And although Press Secretary Peter Cook called the raid “unique” and said, “US forces are not in an active combat mission in Iraq”, they actually are in combat and we believe this could be the beginning of further involvement. This brings the total of US troops that have been killed in Iraq to 4,494.

Sadly, all this comes on the heels of President Obama’s recent announcement, one we had all been dreading, that he was extending American troops presence in Afghanistan- a decision that looks more and more like we will have our troops there beyond the Obama administration. Please take a moment to read MFSO member Larry Seyverson’s interview, which he conducted  the day after Pres. Obama’s announcement. Larry speaks for all of us when he describes how military families feel about keeping our troops  in Afghanistan and he expresses our despair of being dragged deeper and ever closer into “endless wars”.