For immediate release:

Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Time: 1-3 PM and 6:30-9:00 PM
Location: 5th & Main
then Fraps and Wraps on Main (150 W Main St)
Suggested Donation: $10

Join Iraq Veterans Against the War in Grand Junction, CO on Tuesday, March 19th at 1:00 PM on Main Street to chalk the names of Colorado natives who have died since the start of the occupation in Iraq and at 6:30 PM at Fraps and Wraps on Main for a film screening that will highlight the epidemic of rape in the military followed by a discussion about the continued struggles that our servicemembers’ are facing at the V.A. after returning from the battlefield.  Following the screening, Iraq veterans will lead a discussion about the ongoing trauma caused by the Iraq War and the organizing work currently underway to improve veteran care here in Colorado.

The Invisible War – Film Screening –

Focusing on the powerfully emotional stories of rape victims, The Invisible War is a moving indictment of the systemic cover-up of military sex crimes, chronicling the women’s struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice. It also features hard-hitting interviews with high-ranking military officials and members of Congress that reveal the perfect storm of conditions that exist for rape in the military, its long-hidden history, and what can be done to bring about much needed change.

March 19 will mark the 10 year anniversary of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.  While the war may officially be “over” and has faded from the minds of many Americans, the casualties continue to mount.  Thousands of veterans, service members, and Iraqi and Afghan civilians continue to deal with the mental and physical trauma that they suffered as a result of the war and daily violence. These attacks continue in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the legacy of U.S. invasion.

Many of our veterans and service members have suffered injuries that will eventually claim their lives as their physical and mental health deteriorates.  These deaths will never be included in any official War on Terror casualty count.  Returning veterans who seek health care through the underfunded and understaffed Department of Veterans Affairs face long wait times, confusing bureaucracy, and  inconsistent quality and availability of healthcare.  Currently we are experiencing a veteran suicide epidemic with 22 veterans committing suicide every day.  The men and women who have served our country deserve the care and resources to heal from trauma they’ve suffered due to their military service.

Advertisements

UniversiTea with the Humanists Doing Good in Colorado

I had the chance to speak at one of the local humanists events a few months ago.  Below are the topics covered and just a few of the highlights from the conversations that followed.

Military

  • Working with military and veterans
    • There is a difference between military and civilians when it comes to a work environment.
    • Military, from my observations, have a different way and different culture that is ok when it comes to working with others.  Military will expect those around them to know the job they are assigned to do and how to do that job.  We are also trained to understand that we may have to do the job of those above or below us.  Understanding and being able to do the job above yours is what got me into trouble in my current employment.
    • Busy work is despised when it comes to simply filling time.  spending hours cleaning, stripping paint, painting, preparing for war, and so on has build a distaste for needless tasks like re-mopping an area that was just mopped.  In these cases we will tend to work much slower and use that power to show a kind of disrespect toward whomever tasks us with that task.
    • It was brought up that most of what we talked about could be compared to shared experience.  Not only a shared experience type of setting but also the upbringing of each other.  One member stated that his upbringing has played into his discipline in taking care of others.
    • Talking about transiting from one chapter to another, substance abuse is the topic, there has to be some sort of training that will indoctrinate the person as to how to act around others and not become selfish.
  • Differences between civilian and military
    • There are certain things that military have gone through that act as a kind of glue.  When you talk to a vet or active duty member, you know that they have spent time being beaten down and then built back up on the same basic principles.  every member of the armed forces goes through boot camp and that is one thing that most civilians will never understand.
    • For that reason, most military can fight with one another and the next day carry on like there was never an issue.
    • There is an unspoken understanding between veterans and military personnel that should something happen then they will not be left behind or forgotten about.  This will play heavily when talking about a large workload or partying.
    • We talked about one experience that a fellow veteran had where a friend was left at the airport and he had to drive to get him.  He was later accused of drug use because of the drive and lack of sleep that hindered his next day’s performance.
  • Differences between moral or ethical standards
    • What is moral in the civilian world is very different when in a closed system such as the military.  There are many different actions that can and will be taken in the military that would be looked at as unethical or immoral in a civilian stance.
      • Wire brush experience
    • Shared a story about one of my shipmates that chose to never shower or wash his clothing.  The process that we used to change this behavior was to throw him into the shower and attack him what wire brushes.
      • This behavior was allowed and even endorsed by the chain of command.  Dealing with things at the lowest level meant that we were to deal with the issue ourselves and correct that deficiency using any means necessary.
    • The use of ostracism was one of the main tools that we used to correct issues that we were unable to solve otherwise.  One of the most utilized and overlooked of all tools that we were trained in.
    • The cycle perpetuates itself.  crossing the equator or passing through the arctic circle are huge hazing accomplishments.

Transition: Civ to Sol, Sol to Civ

    • The transition going from a civilian to a soldier is one that each member will go through.  Boot camp is something that each of us completes before being called a soldier.
    • Boot camp = breakdown of the civilian and then the rebuilding of the soldier
    • No transition from active to civilian.  When you get out you sign the DD214 and then walk out with just what you are wearing.  All gear is returned and that is the close of that chapter.  There is no training, military feels that it is a waste of time as they do not receive any benefit from the time spent.
  • Organizations for veterans
    • There are many different organizations for veterans.  There are two major problems with the way that they are set up.  Much money is spent on advertising leaving a lack of funding for the actual program.  Or on the flip side, there is no money spent on advertising and an excess of funding at the end of the year.
    • VETS CAFE
    • IVAW
    • Wounded Warriors
    • America’s Wounded
    • Welcome Home Montrose
    • VA Rehab center
    • VA hospital
    • Veterans Court (in the works for mesa county)
    • Voc rehab through VA
  • Reasons for ways of thinking
    • Everything we have already talked about
    • The culture is aggressive and the members are trained to think and act in a certin way that will allow others to learn the ways either by choice or through actions taken against them.
    • Trained to not show weakness.
    • Hazing
    • Physical abuse
    • Mental abuse
    • Ostracism
  • Post 9/11 compared to pre 9/11 veterans
    • PTSD
    • No Gulf War Syndrome
    • TBI
    • Civilian murders
    • First war fought in the streets (urban)
    • MTS

Environmental

  • Community gardening
    • Guy works over 12 plots in Denver (land that is not his but gained the approval to use), he is able to produce enough food for 33 employees and still sell $400 a week at the stand.
  • Guerrilla gardening
    • Using others land to grow food
    • Repurpose land usage to grow food
    • Grow food not lawns
  • Burn scars and the effect they are now having on the communities near Colorado Springs
    • Landowners near Co Springs are needing help with the burn scars.  The city is not willing to help the landowners pay to have mulch laid on the property.  They are laying mulch on the forest.  1600 an acre.  The burn scars have allowed the rain water to create mud flows that have washed out many of the private roads in the area.

I would like to hear the opinions of those in the group about the local police force as well as if anyone feels the nation is heading toward a society that is accustomed to dealing with violence in the community and if that is justification to allow officers to act with current levels of force.

WHORES Signs

Today we gathered together at a local park to make some signs.  About seven of us meet up and started making signs that will be used during the equality march in Denver, Colorado on October 6th.  Each of us a member of Women Helping Others Resist Exploitation and Sexism, both male and female, WHORES strive to create a world of equality for all genders.

A little about the WHORES, they are a group of people that shared a common interest and that thought sparked an cause that has grown from just a handful of women to what is now a group of over 140 people.  There are members from all walks of life and any event that is carried out by WHORES is sure to be all ages friendly.  From a local business owner to a retired philosophy instructor to a mother of 4 who works two jobs there are all types included in the group.  There has even been the occasional 5 year old that carries a sign that says “Girl Power.”

The first outing that I was part of with the group was on Mayday 2012.  They had a booth set up near the may pole and were handing out literature about the current war on women.  During the Mayday celebration I was able to meet many great people and get some firsthand experience as to how the media can slant any story to what they want the general public to see.  I digress; we will save that conversation for another day.  The WHORES table was great and they were even able to get up in front of the mob of people and share some of their stories.

The equality rally in Denver, Colorado on October 6th is set to be a kind of show in force here in Colorado that there are people who do have a voice and will come together in solidarity to use their voices.  They walk together and shout that they are in control of their bodies and that no man should have or try and take control for something that is not theirs nor have any experience with.  But these wars on women’s issues are not the only topics that will be covered at the march.  It is an equality march, meaning that every person who attends at least leans toward creating and treating each gender as an equal.  This is not to segregate any of the LGBTQ supporters.  No matter what your gender, all should be treated as an equal.  This means anything from stopping legislation on reproductive health to removing the stigma that a father cannot be a stay at home parent, or that in a case such as that the child will somehow turnout differently than if the mother was the one staying home.

Back to the sign making, we created signs that read:  Make Love, Not War on Women, Keep Your Laws Off my Body, I Can Say Vagina, Sexism is a Social Disease, and My Choice My Right.  I am looking forward to seeing the turn out for the march and see how much support we have on these issues here in Colorado.  We are all free and should be treated as such.  We are all equal.

Grand Junction Stands in Solidarity with Bradley Manning and OWS

Today we stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and Bradley Manning on the one year anniversary of the start of the revolution.  We gathered on the grounds of city hall and helped to spread the word about the abuse, both civil and ethical, of Bradley Manning and help tell his story.  Although we are not as grand as the metropolitan area that bring in numbers like 20,000, those of us that gathered and held signs were greeted with warm regards by those that passed by.  Even the Police Chief Camper stopped to show his support, and ask us to move out of the parking spots.  But he was sincere in understanding why we were out today.  There were people of all ages from 78 years old to a 3 year old holding signs that ranged from “Google NDAA” to stats that showed how the national budget was broken down and the monies spent on the “war on peace.”  Occupy Grand Junction showed its force in a non-violent way today and made yet another step toward showing people that even in a small city there is change that is able to be seen.

People of all ages stood in solidarity today.

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), Occupy Grand Junction, Solidarity not Charity, Women Helping Others Resist Exploitation and Sexism (WHORES),  and 9/11 Truth all stand in solidarity in support of the Constitution of the United states of America and the revolution that is ever growing.