Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bring Our War Dollars Home.

Last Thursday, PAinT brought two speakers to campus.
Will Hopkins, of VFP, IVAW, and Peace Action NH, and
Lisa Savage of Code Pink

they talked about their stories with activism, and how we as students can get involved.
Along the peace walk, Bruce talked to Alex and I about bringing the Bring Our War Dollars Home resolution to Farmington, and talking with Will and Lisa pushed us over the edge.

Friday, Alex, and my friend TJ and I got together, and started brainstorming ideas on what we needed to do in order to get this resolution off the ground and running smoothly.

Right now I'm working on drafting a resolution, and a petition in time for us to meet with some other people at the Bring Our War Dollars Home planning meeting on the 4th of December.  We don't plan on starting pushing the resolution until after break, because we don't want to start it and then leave it again for a few months.  So we're going to hit the ground running in the middle of January. 

I was supposed to go to a Bring Our War Dollars Home protest in Augusta tomorrow. But as of now, the weather is not looking very promising for me to be able to attend.  Which I am kinda bummed about, but I'll cope. There are going to be plenty of chances for activism in my near future, and I can use the time to do some more BOW$H stuff that I need to get done. 

expect more updates soon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The War Economy is Not Working for Me, and It's Probably Not Working for You


•The United States spends more than the next 45 highest spending countries in the world combined.
•The United States accounts for 46.5 percent of the world’s total military spending.
•The United States spends on its military 7 times more than China, 13.3 times more than Russia, and 73 times more than Iran.
•The United States and its strongest allies (NATO, Japan, South Korea and Australia) spend close to $1.1 trillion on their militaries combined, representing 72 percent of the world’s total.
•The potential “enemies,” Iran, Russia, and China together account for about $169 billion or 24% of the US military budget.

A war economy is one built on the premise of perpetual war, making things that wear out and blow up, providing short-term employment – as opposed to a peace-time economy that devotes it resources to making things that people can actually use to better their lives, thereby perpetuating employment and prosperity rather than destruction.

Will fighting terrorists “over there” by invasion and occupation and the inevitable “collateral damage” succeed?
General McChrystal called it “insurgent math, for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.”

Non-military spending produces far more bang for the buck:
•Each billion dollars of tax revenue allocated to tax cuts for personal consumption generates approximately 10,800 jobs.
•Investing the same amount in the military creates 8,500 jobs.
•Investing it in health care yields 12,900 jobs; in education, 17,700 jobs; in mass transit, 19,800 jobs; and in construction for home weatherization and infrastructure, 12,800 jobs.

People dropping the banner at the 2010 Veterans For Peace Convention in Portland Maine

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Draw-a-Thon and Parade Pictures

 My picture, courtesy of Rob Shetterly

 People's drawings from the Draw-A-Thon

 Rob Shetterly-- one of my many VFP boyfriends.

 The Start of the Parade. 

 And now we're walking. 

 Code Pink

 My new mom and I <3

Rob and I 

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the Draw-A-Thon at the Space Gallery, and the Veteran's Day Parade on November 11th.

Maine VFP Response to the VFW.

Maine VFP Response to the VFW

Veterans For Peace Chapter 001 President Dud Henderix. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Last Day of the Maine Walk for Peace.

Wednesday night I journeyed down to Portland with some of my favorite people for the last few  hours of the Maine Walk for Peace. After a rather traumatic journey to the church where the dinner was held, things went smoothly.  When we first got there, as soon as Bob saw me, he immediately pulled me over and told me he would rather hold my hand, so I was sandwiched in between him and Dan for the before dinner prayer. 

I spent most of the evening making paper cranes with TJ, MB and one of the nuns. I made 6 all by myself, which I was rather proud of.  But it was a wonderful evening to end the emotional experience that is the walk.  I spent time with KBW, Dovey, TJ, and Annie, and we just relaxed with each other which was something that we all needed after the emotional weeks we have been having.

Yesterday was the parade, that VFP was allowed to march in, after the press got wind of us not being allowed to by the VFW. So we gathered at 10 am at the beginning of the parade route, sandwiched in between the girl scouts and some guys dressed up as clowns. So we walked in the same manner as we did for the last 126 miles, with the banner in front, followed by the monks, and the everyone else.  I of course handed out the green informational cards like I had been doing all along, and those seemed well received. Not many people said no to taking one, and I also did not force people to take one.  There was a great deal of clapping, and there was a large contingent of VFP members there, including some of my dear friends, Peggy Akers, Rita Clemente, and Tim Sturtevant.  After the parade we did not hang around, we veered off, and gathered in our traditional prayer circle, and then we broke and headed to the space gallery for the draw-a-thon.  There I had my picture drawn by Rob Shetterly, and I made some art for myself, which was what I desperately needed.   There was a great deal of passion there, as everyone was creating beautiful things about how our war dollars could have been better spent.

Sadly, we had to leave the Space Gallery around 12:30.  I did not want to leave all of these men and women behind. But I know that our friendships will not end with the walk, they will continue on, and I am sure that we will walk again. 

Last night, I also attended a vigil in my hometown, for lost loved ones, in which the proceeds were donated to a homeless veteran's group that works to give them money for places to stay, and food.  The ceremony focused on talking about the lost loved ones, and not the issues behind where there are hundreds of homeless veterans in Maine and all over the United States.  I attended that with my Grandfather, and my favorite veteran on the face of the earth, so it was an incredibly moving experience for both of us, along with my grandmother. 

I am sure this post will be edited later on, and I plan on adding some pictures to it.
But this is it for now.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pictures from Saturday's Walk

 I am so happy to have met some amazing people on this walk

 The group of people we walked with from Bangor to Belfast.

The Walkers again 

 The group right outside of Camden. 
This was taken right before I had to leave

I have taken tons of pictures over the weekend, and some of them came out wonderful.  Walking side by side with all of these people has been a wonderful breathtaking experience, and I do not think anything will compare to it ever again.   The three days that I was with these people was a wonderful experience of solidarity, and I was sad to see my time with them come to an end. 

I will however be in Portland with them on Wednesday and Thursday showing my support for these amazing men and women because they are not allowed to march in the Veteran's Day parade.
-- this is a link to VFP member Bob Lezer's interview that was on the news on Saturday.

Thursday evening I will also be attending a vigil for homeless veterans with my Grandparents in Livermore Falls. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Maine Walk for Peace, Days Four and Five.

Friday afternoon, after my last Kristina Wolff class of the day, I jumped in a car, and headed to Bangor Maine to meet with the walkers with Jade.

The evening was a wonderful experience, I spoke in front of everyone, and almost cried. But I didn't. The next night in Belfast, I wasn't so lucky.  This walk has been a beautiful, yet heartwrenching experience at the same time.

When I joined Veterans For Peace, it was for research, and I did not think that it would be a lasting commitment, and then I was just pulled in, and accepted, and I feel as though I belong, and it is beautiful. They are my crazy Aunts and Uncles, and I love them all dearly.  They have changed me irrevocably, and these men and women have helped me decide what I want to do with my life.

This walk also has literally changed my life.
I feel freer now, and it is wonderful.
Walking, side by side, and sometimes single file with these amazing activists, and human souls has empowered me greatly.

The community response has been wonderful.  Today as we were walking, less than three miles out of Belfast these two little boys, came running out of there house, so I stopped to give them some information, and I talked to them for a few minutes, and they wanted to join us, but their parents wouldn't let them.  It was a beautiful moment for me, knowing that people are listening, and people want to walk and talk with us.  But every single honk, wave, peace sign, and middle finger give me hope, because I know that people are thinking about the wars, and about where our money is being spent.  

Saturday, when I was walking with Bruce Gagnon, I was told that I have passed my organizing test, which was wonderful to hear, especially because I know what a wonderful organizer he is.  I spent a great deal of time walking by his side, and talking to him about my thoughts, and things to do on campus. He brought up the idea of working with Doug to bring the Bring Our War Dollars Home resolution to Farmington, where it would be presented, and hopefully passed.  This is something that I am incredibly excited about, and will begin planning this soon hopefully.

I feel so burnt out, yet empowered at the same time, and I did not want to come back to Farmington tonight. The people along this walk have made me realize why I do what I do. I do not do it all for me. I do it to bring awareness to the public.

I am back in Farmington for two days, where again, I will pack my bags, and drive down to Portland to meet the walkers yet again, and spend the night there with them, to take part in their vigil at the end of the parade route,  because they are not being allowed to march in the  Veteran's Day Parade.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day One of the Maine Walk For Peace.

Yesterday, I awoke at 7 am to begin my 14 mile journey to from Farmington Maine to Skowhegan Maine. Some of my favorite people accompanied me, such as my friends TJ Parker, and Dovey Balsam, along with some of my adopted family, Bob Lezer, Bruce Gagnon and Mary Beth Sullivan, Dan Ellis, and of course Kristina Wolff.

The walk was an incredible experience of solidarity. We walked, in our winter jackets, with our water bottles and backbacks, for 14 miles, reflecting on the human costs of war, and the election results.

It was a beautiful experience, and I am admitting in a public forum that I cried. Twice.
Several different people came up to me, and thanked me for everything that I am doing. And those people are the reasons that I do what I do. They give me hope that what I am not doing is futile.

I was sad to go home last night, I wish I was walking the entire walk, if one day was this powerful, I can only imagine how powerful the entire thing is going to be. 

Although I am sore, blistered, and exhausted, I could not be happier. Although the reasons for the walk are depressing, they are important things to be aware of.

So tonight, I will pop my blisters, pack my snacks, and warm clothing, and get ready to drive Gordon to Bangor to walk another 17 miles in the name of peace, from Bangor to Belfast.