Tag Archives: veterans

Weird Math: 1 Percent versus 1 Percent

MFSO Member Paula Rogovin reflects on Occupy Wall St.

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, members of Military Families Speak Out stood alongside members of Veterans For Peace and thousands of other people at Occupy Wall Street. We were so happy to see so many people from so many walks of life. Here was a place where the messages like the ones we carried: Support our troops, bring them home NOW! were part of the outcry from the many thousands at OWS. Our presence as veterans and military families was very well received. Yes, we are part of that 99%.

Being part of that 99% has been a life-long experience for me. I’ve been a New York City public school teacher for 38 years. We, members of the United Federation of Teachers, have marched and demanded over the years that the City stop the cuts and offer fair wages – only to see mayor after mayor do everything possible to keep our wages down while the Chancellor makes over $250,000 and non-union employees get huge raises. Testing companies, the book publishers, and the tech industry profits are going up.

Two weeks ago, we saw the layoff of over 700 workers – workers who are desperately needed at our schools.

Strangely, however, members of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) are part of the 99%, but we are also part of the 1%. How could that be? MFSO is a national organization with over 4000 members whose loved ones are active duty in the military.

“Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population has been on active military duty at any given time during the past decade.” (Washington Post. 10/5/11)

Military families have seen our loved ones serve multiple deployments, often with little dwell time between the deployments. We have seen over 6282 of our loved ones killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of us have seen our loved ones wounded. We have seen our loves ones suffer amputations, traumatic brain injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and poisoning from Depleted Uranium and other toxins from US weapons. We have seen families torn apart by the traumas of these wars.

Our 1% is suffering directly from the wars imposed by the other 1% – the military industrial complex, the oil companies, big business – in collusion with many members of Congress who take multi-millions from industry lobbyists in exchange for keeping these wars going and going.

Our 1% wants to tell that other 1%, including many members of Congress:  End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bring the troops and contractors home NOW. Take care of the troops when they get here. Bring the war dollars home for our communities – for jobs, education, health care, housing, and other services we need so badly. Meet the demands of the 99%.

— Paula Rogovin, of Teaneck, is with Military Families Speak Out, Bergen County chapter


Afghanistan Veterans Against the War Speaking Tour

In July 2011, U.S. Army veterans Brock McIntosh and Jacob George returned to Afghanistan with a U.S. delegation for nonviolence, eager to meet with local Afghan peace and social justice organizations. Their mission was twofold: to gain a greater understanding of ordinary Afghans’ needs, fears, and desires for their country, and to discover ways U.S. activists can support indigenous nonviolent efforts to reach those goals.

Now back in the U.S., Brock and Jacob are prepared to report back to the American public on this landmark first dialogue between occupied and former occupiers. Embarking on a nation-wide speaking tour, Brock, Jacob, and other veterans will address the problematic nature of the U.S. occupation in Afghanistan using firsthand anecdotes as both soldier and observer. Brock and Jacob will draw on their recent experience in Afghanistan to facilitate a discussion on meaningful actions we as Americans can take to support Afghan civilians and their right to self-determination.

Click here to find an event near you.

Join us at the VFP & IVAW Convention Aug 3-7

update: VFP has set up a special registration page for MFSO members and is offering a special discount for any spouses interested in attending! Click here to register

Join us in Portland, Oregon August 3rd through 7th for the 2011 National Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War Convention.  The staff of MFSO will be attending along with our many members who are also members of Veterans for Peace.  If you are in the region, we encourage you to attend this weekend to connect with MFSO and our sister organizations, attend workshops, and participate in discussions about what our movement should be doing to bring these wars to an end and take care of returning service members.

We will be hosting a Military Family Meet-Up from 11:30am-1:30pm on Saturday, August 6th at PSU, Lincoln Hall, Room 121

Questions? Email samantha@mfso.org

MFSO Schedule @ the VFP Convention

Wednesday August 3rd

5-7pm Opening Reception – Poolside @ University Place Hotel

8pm Poetry Reading/Open Mic – University Place Hotel

Thursday August 4th

10:30am-12:30pm Opening Ceremony & Plenary – Lincoln Hall Auditorium

12:30-1:45pm Lunch on Your Own

1:45-3:15pm Workshop Block 1

3:45-5:15pm Workshop Block 2

5:15-7:30pm Dinner on Your Own

7:30-10pm The Moral Revolution (public event) – First Congregational Church

Friday August 5th

9-10:15am Plenary on PTSD, MST, TBI and other Veterans’ Health Issues with featured guests: Ed Tick, David Philipps, Darcela Craven, Barry Jones and Jessica Goodell

10:30am-12pm Workshop Block 3

12-1pm Pick up boxed lunch

12:15-2pm Lunch Caucus Meetings

2:15-3:45pm Workshop Block 4

4-6pm Plenary: “Resilience & Resistance” and Discussion: “Future of the Veterans Peace Movement, or, How DO we end war?”

7-10pm Buffet Dinner & Speak Out – open mic starts at 8pm

Saturday August 6th

11:30am-1:30pm Military Family Meet-Up hosted by MFSO – Lincoln Hall Room 121

1:30-2:45pm Lunch at Iranian Summer Festival on Park Blocks, PSU

3-5pm Plenary: “The Silent Truth”

6:30-10pm Banquet

Sunday August 7th

12:30pm Hiroshima Nagasaki Anniversary – No More Nukes Rally and March with VFP – Peace Memorial Park

Create Art to Reflect on 10 years at war

MFSO is partnering with 10 Years and Counting, a coalition of artists and activists who have come together to mark the 10th anniversary of the war.  We can use this unfortunate, yet historic moment as inspiration and maximize the power of creativity to illustrate the costs of war, or how 10 years of warfare have affected you personally.  Throughout the month we will be showcasing art from military families, veterans, and service members on our website, as well as on the 10 Years and Counting website.  Send us your poetry, music, photographs, videos, blogs, and visual art.  Email your submission(s) to samantha@mfso.org

War Is Trauma: a collaboration between IVAW and Just Seeds Collective

Art is a way to break through communication barriers, to express things we couldn’t otherwise.  It can be a way to heal, or a way to protest. “Art” can be anything, any way you want to express what 10 years of war has meant to you, how it has affected your family, or how it has changed the world we live in – poetry, music, photography, writing, visual art, or videos.

General submissions will be featured on our website (credited to the artist, of course), and can be emailed to samantha@mfso.org.  You can also submit art or writing for a few specific projects, listed below.

We also encourage you to organize an education or arts-based event during the month leading up to the anniversary, September 7 through October 7th. Click here to learn more.

Do You Love a Veteran? Call for Submissions

Do You Love a Veteran is a zine made up of contributions from families, friends, and partners of veterans.

For more info on the zine, how to submit, and some inspiration, click here.

He Sapa: Heart of the People – Call for Submissions

Over Memorial Day Weekend 2011, a group of military families and veterans gathered in the Black Hills of South Dakota for a healing retreat. The presenters included spiritual elders, veterans, medical doctors, social workers, and healers from different Native traditions.  The participants created art and writing which will provide the basis for this zine.  We invite veterans, military families, and Gold Star families to submit art and writing about their own experiences with healing.  Questions and submissions can be sent to samantha@mfso.org