Category Archives: Take Action

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After 17 years of military intervention resulting in the needless loss of lives and trillions of dollars spent on endless wars, the Trump Administration has requested options from the military for withdrawal plans, including a complete withdrawal. This means we could be seeing the end of the war in Afghanistan finally within our reach.  This, along with the order for the complete withdrawal of troops from Syria and the scaling back of support to the Saudi action in Yemen is a good sign that even this administration is recognizing the futility of continuing all of these wars.

MFSO has always been at the forefront of this struggle, and is well poised to push hard this coming year to be the voice that can make a difference in finally getting all of our troops home and back in the arms of their loved ones. And so we begin the New Year with a campaign to lobby members of Congress and tell the story of the human cost of war- the story that our members know personally.

The voices of our active duty military, veterans and their families must be heard.  We are the people, along with millions of civilians in these war-torn countries, who have paid the price, and continue to pay the price, of a senseless U.S. foreign policy.

As you know, bringing all of our troops home has always been the main goal of MFSO, and our members are in a unique position to demonstrate the reality of war. By speaking from experience, we bring the reality of war home – death, lifelong injuries, post-traumatic stress, moral injury, suicide, traumatic brain injury, and much more.

We firmly believe that our families have been instrumental in getting the country on our side, so that the majority of Americans now understand that these wars do not make us safer, but in fact, have created more enemies for us.

In our concerted effort to end the war in Afghanistan, we ask for your help to continue this arduous work. Pease consider making a one-time donation to MFSO. If you have not already joined the growing list of sustained donors, please consider doing so. We are an all volunteer organization, without dues, and no hired staff. By supporting Military Families Speak Out, your tax deductible donation goes directly into funding actions that promote stopping unjust wars.

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In 2018, your generous donations supported MFSO in:

Numerous national and internationally aired interviews from around the country
Poor Peoples Campaign actions- CA, MO, DC
Op-Ed editorials
MFSO literature distribution across the country
Meet up, a new member orientation, outreach, tabling and member support at Veterans for Peace Convention- Minnesota
Regular on-going vigils across the nation
Workshop presentations in MI and CA
Congressional lobbying for a new AUMF (Authorization for the Use of Military Force)
Support for members participating in actions across the country
Key organizers for 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day weekend in DC which included the Silent march at Arlington Memorial, the Peace Congress, feeding the homeless and Occupy the VA.
Heart 2 Heart Tour- CA, ORE, AZ, NM, and OK
Support for families of deported veterans and their families, including border visits and assistance to prevent deportations and support to pass legislation to end veteran deportation

As this year draws to an end, MFSO is ready to confront the biggest challenge yet- to end the war in Afghanistan. Won’t you please consider being a part of history and making a one-time donation or become a sustaining member today?

MFSO welcomes all comments from members and supporters. Please send us your thoughts throughout the year via our website, Facebook, email or just give us a call anytime.

Pat Alviso
National Coordinator
Military Families Speak Out

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How Are We Supporting our Troops when 20 Veterans Die by Suicide Every Day?

Excerpts from the speech given by Mary Hladky, MFSO Steering Committee Member, on May 20th in Jefferson City, MO at a Poor People’s Campaign protest of militarism. Soon after Hladky
issued this critique, she and 16 others blocked a
street, were arrested, and were released.

I am Mary Hladky. My son, Ryan, was an Army
Infantry Officer. During his deployment in
Afghanistan, the troops experienced some of the
highest death and injury rates of the war.
Today I want to talk to you about the war economy
and the incalculable harm this obsession does to all
Americans, and especially soldiers.

War drains the treasury of money. The Costs of
War Project at Brown University says US wars over
the past 16 years have cost $5.6 trillion. Our
officials justify this spending in the name of
national security. There is little left, it seems, for the
welfare of the people.

These same officials defend these massive expenses
as part of “supporting the troops”. But supporting our
troops should mean bringing them home and
taking care of them when they return.

How are we supporting the troops when many
military families need public assistance such as
food stamps to make ends meet, while defense
contractors rake in record profits?

There are 3 million veterans of the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan. These soldiers have seen more
combat than veterans of any other wars. Many have
experienced moral injury – a violation of a person’s
moral values, core beliefs. The shame, guilt, and
torturous remorse that becomes moral injury often
results in suicide.

How are we supporting our troops when 20
veterans, from all wars, die by suicide every day?
Today, here and across the country, and all over
the world, our voices declare our work for a more
peaceful world, the hope of a movement; to realize
that true security is not measured by the size of our
military, but the welfare of our people.

 

 

 

 

Just before the arrest of Mary Hladky, Michael
McPhearson, and other activists
Photo by Bennette Dibben, PeaceWorks

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Military Families Speak Out in the Poor People’s Campaign!

Many of us in MFSO were very heartened and encouraged to see how MFSO, Veterans for Peace, and About Face ( IVAW), collaborated to support the Poor People’s Campaign, Phase 1, last May and June. The National Poor People’s Campaign is a call for moral revival that supports Dr. King’s vision to oppose the 4 pillars he identified that uphold the ills of society: Poverty, Racism, the Environment and the War Economy. Dr. Barber, the national organizer of the PPC today, laid out a plan that for 40 days we would confront each pillar by organizing direct actions at each state capitol, as was successfully practiced in South Carolina with Moral Mondays. An essential part of the campaign included a call for people to risk arrest. Over 35 states had actions that resulted in what has been recognized as the largest mass demonstration across the US with over 2,000 people being arrested across the country.

MFSO, VFP and AF focused on week 3-the week on militarism and the war. In California, 20 MFSO, VFP members and supporters were arrested in Sacramento for disruptions that resulted in the halting of the State Assembly while in session. To do this, it required weeks of coordinating at many different levels. Three vans of participants drove up from S. CA, while others drove many miles across the state to participate. With the help of Veterans for Peace LA and Orange County, we set up an exhibit of crosses representing our troops who have been killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to represent the countless innocent civilians who also died, the PPC Arts committee helped us build a clothesline of torn garments and a display of empty shoes. Many of our members held up posters of of loved ones and set up informational booths-all on the capitol lawn! A speak out was held on the steps with MFSO members Tim Kahlor and Laurie Loving and VFP member Anthony Palacios among the speakers.

The goal of the direct action in Sacramento was to get our message heard and stop business as usual at the state capitol. MFSO members Tim, Laurie, Pat, Rossana and Arturo Cambron, Jeff Merrick, Kathleen Hernandez VFP Associate member and other VFP members and dozens of supporters boldly took up a whole section in the State Assembly. We held up posters of our loved ones who died due to war, suicide, substance abuse and deportation and interrupted the session by shouting the names of these victims of war and demanding the end of state tax breaks to those who support war, that we bring the National Guard home from the border, stop the privatization of the VA and provide housing and support for veterans. Some State Assembly members stood up and applauded . We shut down the State Assembly but 21 people were arrested that day including MFSO members Laurie Loving and Pat Alviso, and Kathleen Hernandez.. They were kept overnight in the Sacramento jail, but all charge were eventually dropped.

All of this was made possible due to the generosity, hard work and masterful organizational skills of MFSO members Laurie and Russell Loving, who provided housing and meals, media outreach and leadership for two of the six weeks. What was accomplished is immeasurable – groups that had never worked together before organized an unforgettable message with a collaboration that all wish to continue implementing for Phase 2 of the Poor People’s Campaign.

By Pat Alviso, MFSO CA, MFSO National Coordinator and Mary Hladky MFSO MO and MFSO Steering Committee

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Military Families Speak Out & Veterans For Peace with The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Pictured Below:  May 29, 2018 – Sacramento, CA – Military Families Speak Out & Veterans For Peace Memorial in conjunction with The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Military Families Speak Out is participating in The Poor People’s Campaign activities that are taking place TUESDAY May 29th. Every week there are simultaneous nonviolent direct actions in DC and State Capitols across the nation. The 40 days of rallies and direct actions are an integral part of the Poor Peoples Campaign, which was started by Dr. King, who believed the US had lost its moral compass and it’s time to connect the issues of poverty, racism, the war, and now the environment.

The theme this week, the day after Memorial Day, is War, Militarism, War Economy and the Proliferation of Guns. For many military families, Memorial Day is a day of mourning that we spend with our families and loved ones, especially our Gold Star Families. Many of us participate in memorials that let the public reflect on the cost of war. It is because of this, the national leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign responded to MFSO’s request to change the weekly Moral Direct Action to a different day instead of Monday.

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