Thursday, August 23, 2007

Berkeley without Hippies, a Convention with Hippies, and Exciting Stuff Coming Up

Last Wednesday, we held the first ever IVAW Truth in Recruiting Workshop at the Jazz School in Berkeley. Special thanks to IVAW members Jane Song for handling the logistics and to Kevin Turner for sharing his experiences with the Army and recruiters in his first public speaking event with IVAW. It was my first time hosting such a workshop, and as such, it was a sort of a trial run for the format that I have created. Despite low turnout, it was a resounding success. Everyone there was engaged and excited about the potential for Truth In Recruiting. Hopefully, the Bay Area Chapter (semi-defunct) will be reinvigorated as a result and host more workshops on their own.

This was the first in a series of workshops that I will be hosting, and hopefully many more IVAW chapters will also be hosting their own. The next one for me is this Friday in Santa Fe. The Santa Fe Chapter of Veterans For Peace (especially Ken Mayers) has been a great help in setting this up and promoting it.

This past weekend was the annual IVAW convention in St Louis. As it is traditionally, it was part of the Veterans For Peace annual convention. They are our parent organization, and as such, they take that mission to heart. They brought out their share of hippies, mainly as hangers on, but it was great to see the support that they showed us. It was there that I met Ken Murray, who was essential to making the Santa Fe workshop possible. I also got to be part of a lot of brainstorming and planning sessions that were immeasurably powerful. I even took the time to attend a “Warrior Writers” workshop, organized by the incredible Lovella Calica. So you can look forward to a little more of my creative side in the near future. (I can hear you cringing now!)

The main order of business for IVAW was to elect seven new members for our nine-man board of directors. There were fourteen candidates and in order of most votes received, the new members are: Camilo Mejia, Liam Madden, myself, Margaret Stevens, Phil Aliff, Jabar Magruder, and Jason Lemieux. We convened our first meeting that evening to select an executive committee of a Chairman, Co-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. By an incredible process of consensus and objectively evaluating each other without taking it to a vote, we selected Camilo Mejia as Chairman, myself as Co-Chair, Phil Aliff as Secretary, and Margaret Stevens as Treasurer. We were all incredibly excited about the strength of the new board. Personally, I am honored to be a part of it and feel that my selection is a great show of appreciation by the membership for the sacrifices I have made on behalf of IVAW since joining. I kept hearing, “You’re doing great work,” from many of the VFPers at the convention, and my reply was always, “We’re just getting started.”

Saturday night, we held a special screening of the documentary, "Meeting Resistance." It was incredibly powerful. Please check out their website. It is interesting to note that it was screened at Marine Corps Base Quantico. Sunday Morning was the "March to the Arch," followed by an afternoon packed with meetings until it was time to go to the airport. I will soon be organizing "Truckers Against the War." More to come.

Recently, I have been consumed with my preparations for National Truth in Recruiting Day and the ongoing IVAW TIR campaign. I was able to get a lot of people excited about it over the weekend and soon we should have a section of the IVAW website up and will be issuing a press release so we can start promoting it. I was also able to get a lot of folks committed for the September 15th week of action. At the rally in front of the capitol, IVAW will be leading the mass die-in with an honor guard that will be simulating a 21-gun salute before taps is played to start the die-in. Of course, it isn’t that smart to simulate anything with guns when surrounded by buildings guarded by snipers, so the seven men in the detail will be carrying the flags of various war profiteers (Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater, etc.) and will bang them on the ground to simulate rifle fire. If you can attend, please sign up at to wear cammies to represent one of the American fallen at the die-in.

In more fun news, I have been asked to be the guest of honor at August’s meeting of the Modernist Society at the Bourbon bar in Adams Morgan. There will be a lot of local IVAW members there, so it should be fun.


jae said...

Adam -

Are you planning on attending the Power To The Peaceful event in San Francisco 9/8? I'll be there with a friend and I'd enjoy meeting with you for a beer or cappucino, your choice.

My husband and I just sent a pair of tix to the Speahead show scheduled for 10/6 at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square to a vet at IAVA in NYC as a Thank You.

I greatly admire anyone who speaks out against this war; but my highest respect is paid to those who know it's wrong because they've been there.


tmmckee said...

Keep on doing good stuff....

The infamous Air Force SSgt Mckee