Category Archives: Counter-recruitment

Latino Youth Defines DREAM Act as a DeFacto Military Draft

By VAMOS Unidos Youth

We write this statement to raise our voices as Latino youth working and living in the Bronx, New York in opposition to the DREAM ACT as it stands. We demand that we return to our original DREAM ACT that had a community service option instead of a military one. The military has been losing their numbers due to the multiple wars the US has begun. The DREAM ACT would hand us over on a platter to fight these unjust wars. The DREAM ACT has been warped over the years to draft Latino youth into the military, as they need more and more soldiers to fight their wars.

We have been living under harsh conditions. Our communities have been historically underprivileged, with militarized streets, schools that seem more like jails than educational institutions, and poverty that pushes people to desperation and sadness. We have grown up with the trauma of having our family members and friends detained, jailed, and deported. But we are strong and determined, so we keep onwards. We have stood next to our parents as they worked as street vendors, as they were ticketed, arrested, and sometimes assaulted by police for trying to make a living. We, as youth, have also been ticketed and arrested alongside our parents. We have come to understand what it is to be humiliated and then stand and fight for what is right, what is principled, what is just. Our parents’ unrelenting strength to fight for us and their rights have taught us to always stand up for what is right and never sell out.

We have asked ourselves “Is the DREAM ACT an advantage or disadvantage for us as immigrant youth?” Many of us were excited about the possibility of getting documents and finally being able to be recognized as human beings, be able to get a job, an education, and help our families. Along with our teachers and mentors we delved into community organizing and becoming politically conscious. We began learning about our history and our people’s resistance. We then expanded to other cultures and histories and began to appreciate them. We marched side by side with youth from all over the world including South Asia and the Middle East. We saw that within our hearts there was no difference, and enjoyed each other’s company and diversity. Our spirits were momentarily paralyzed when we began learning about the effects of war and how their families and communities had been destroyed. We began to ask ourselves “How can we stop these wars, how can we help?” Our political education allowed us to see through the military propaganda and the army recruiters in our blocks and schools. Speaking to our peers we saw how the military was using them to fight wars that didn’t concern us and killed our friends. This forced us to look at the DREAM ACT a lot closer.

THE DREAM ACT REVEALED

In order to qualify for the DREAM ACT you have to have migrated before the age of 16 and have proof of residence in the United States for five consecutive years since the date of arrival. Also, you have to have graduated from high school or have a GED. This would eliminate many of our older youth, those that did not finish high school, and recent arrivals. You must then complete the following:

1. Serve two years in the military, or;

2. Finish two years of bachelor’s program or higher degree in the US.

What happened to the community service option that the original DREAM ACT contained? Why did our supposed advocates allow for the removal of the community service option? Was it because it became in this form the DREAM ACT became winnable? At what expense?

Two Years of College

The first option on the DREAM ACT is to go to school for at least two years; this is great for people who can afford the high tuition rates. But what about those of us who do not have enough money for the tuition, the books, and personal expenses? Also let’s not forget about our families who have more than one undocumented child who needs to go to school to get their papers.

DREAM ACT proponents say that most people will not go to the military, that they can afford school if we work. Unfortunately those folks are distanced from our realities and don’t understand our economic hardships. We broke down the cost of each year in school without the aid of Pell Grants or Financial Aid for attending two years of a four years University; our calculations were the following for a university in Ohio, which does not allow in-state tuition for undocumented students:

Cleveland State University: Out of State

* 12 Credit Hours – $7,884.00 X 2 = 1 Year = $15,768.00 X 2 years = $31,536.00

* Expenses for Students Living at Home with their Parents = $6,568.00 X 2 years = 13,136.00

* GRAND TOTAL = $44,672.00

Only 10 states allow for undocumented students to pay for in-state tuition. The majority of undocumented youth would have to pay amounts as stated in the example above. We are lucky to be in New York as it is one of the states that allow undocumented youth to apply for in-state tuition. At the same time we understand that by accepting the terms under the DREAM ACT most youth would not have the same opportunity we do here in New York. Undocumented youth in states like North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico would be forced to take the military option in large numbers as they would not be able to pay the high prices of education. For this reason we do not support the DREAM ACT.

Two Years of Military Requirement

We, the VAMOS UNIDOS YOUTH, do not support the DREAM ACT due to the military component. The fact that it has been introduced as a defense appropriation bill adds insult to injury. The DREAM ACT is a de facto military draft, forcing undocumented youth to fight in unjust wars in exchange for the recognition as human beings, a Green Card. This is a trick by the politicians, Democratic Party, and DC immigration advocates. The same way many supposed “advocates” for immigrant rights sold out the community with Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), they now sell us out with the DREAM ACT. We stand against any militarization- whether it is of the border, our communities, or our status. We will not kill innocent people in exchange for Green Cards.

Our parents have firmly stated in their fight for immigration reform, “We will not accept papers tainted with the blood of our people still crossing the border and dying,” in regards to CIR and it’s militarization of the border component. We say the same “We will not be used for the wars of the corporations and the rich in any part of the world in exchange of blood-stained immigration papers.”

We make a call out to all community organizations and allies to stand firmly on what is principled, against the DREAM ACT if it contains the military provision. Our fight will not be won in one or two years. We are prepared to organize our communities and struggle for many years. We cannot negotiate out our lives, our dignity, and the lives of others. We must rethink our strategies and take control away from the DC immigration advocates which have shown us they don’t have our interest. They have watered down good legislation at a very high cost to the community. Our communities need to decide and take control. We stand with our brothers and sisters affected by wars; we feel their pain and desperation. We will not be used to decimate other countries and their people. Thus, we stand together against the DREAM ACT with the militarization component and fight for what is principled, even if it takes us a very long time.

In Solidarity, VAMOS UNIDOS YOUTH

vamosunidos@gmail.com

VAMOS Unidos: Vendedores Ambulantes Movilizando y Organizando en Solidaridad (Street Vendors Mobilizing and Organizing in Solidarity), is a Bronx, NY, community-based social justice organization founded by low-income Latina/Latino immigrant street vendors.

International Days of Action in Solidarity with Bradley Manning, September 16-19th

Support Bradley Manning!

Oakland, California, USA

Thursday, September 16th, 7-9pm

Humanist Hall, 390 27th Street, Oakland CA (Between Telegraph and Broadway)

Speakers:

DANIEL ELLSBERG, Pentagon Papers whistle-blower
COL. ANN WRIGHT (ret.), former US diplomat
RAY MCGOVERN, former CIA analyst
AIMEE ALLISON, author and KPFA Morning Show Host

Wikileaks “Collateral Murder” video screening

This event will be webcast live and made available at michaelmoore.com.

Presented by Courage to Resist, with the help of National Lawyers Guild Bay Area Military Law Panel, Veterans for Peace-Bay Area Chapter, CodePink, War Resisters League-West, Iraq Veterans Against the War-Bay Area, and BAY-Peace.

The Bradley Manning defense fund is hosted by Courage to Resist in collaboration with the Bradley Manning Support Network. $5 requested donation at the door for event expenses, with a pitch during the event for the Bradley Manning defense effort.

Wheelchair accessible via the 411 28th Street entrance. For more info, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact Courage to Resist at +1 510-488-3559 or courage(at)riseup.net

New York, New York

September 26th, 7pm

Where: St. Mary’s Church (521 West 126th Street)

What: Screening of Collateral Murder

Speakers: Ethan McCord (Member of “Collateral Murder” Unit)

and Matthis Chiroux (Iraq War resister)

Contact: debra@worldcantwait.net

Elaine Brower – (917) 520-0767

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Sunday, September 18th at 4pm

What: Rally for Bradley Manning! Sponsored in part by Veterans for Peace

Where: In front of 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA (MIT building with the dome.)
More info:   t.ben. thompson@ gmail. com

Corvallis, Oregon

Where: Benton Country Courthouse, Corvallis, OR, 97330
When: Friday September 17, 2010 at 5 PM
What: Rally for Bradley Manning! Supported by Veterans for Peace
More info: leahbolger. comcast. net

Keene, New Hampshire

Where: Keene town commons
When: 11:00am, Saturday September 18th

NH Peace Action, in conjunction with the Keene weekly vigil and organizers from the Free State Project are organizing a state-wide vigil.

Featured speaker: Jim Chappelow
Jim Chappelow served as an infantryman in Operation Iraqi Freedom and is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace. Jim moved to New Hampshire in 2007 as part of the Free State Project.

More information: will@ nhpeaceaction. org

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Where: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
When: September 16th
More info: aessif@ utk.edu

Los Angeles, California, USA

Where: Top of the Santa Monica Pier (Palisades Park, just north of the pier at the cannon)
When: Sunday, September 19th, 1pm-3pm
More info: tulipsmalloy@aol.com

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Global Days of Action in Support of Bradley Manning
Twin Cities Rally & Public Screening of Collateral Murder

Friday, September 17th
Rally: 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Collateral Murder Video Screening: 5-6 p.m. (Indoors)
Location: Mayday Bookstore – 301 Cedar Avenue – Minneapolis

Join us on Friday, September 17th for a rally to urge the United States government to drop the charges against Bradley Manning. Along with the rally, we will also be hosting a public showing of the WikiLeaks classic, Collateral Murder. We have reserved the bookstore from 5-6 p.m. for indoor viewings of Collateral Murder and short statements from local anti-war activists and groups. For those who prefer to stay outside the entire time, we will have signs, petitions to sign, and literature to pass out from 4:30 onwards at the nearby plaza.

Are you a local peace activist or organization? If you would like to sign on or issue your own statement in support of Bradley Manning, let us know. Email: smilyus@msn.com

New Haven, Connecticut, USA

When: Friday September 17, 2010, 4 PM
Where: 59 Elm Street, New Haven, CT 06510. In front of Rosa DeLauro’s office.
What: War Moratorium Vigil in honor of Bradley Manning, sponsored by the Greater New Haven Peace Council
More info: grnhpeacecouncil2@gmail.com

Norfolk, Virginia, USA

When:  Friday, September 17, 2010, 11:30am-1pm
Where: Granby St. & City Hall Ave., Norfolk, VA
What: Vigil for Bradley Manning!  Holding signs, pass out flyers and blow whistles calling for charges to be dropped against Manning, and to support his exposing of war crimes. Sponsored by the Norfolk Catholic Worker
More info: willbaggs2002@yahoo. com

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

Sponsor: Oklahoma Center for Conscience (centerforconscience.org). Friday, September 17 from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Location: SE Corner of S. 59th and Western Avenue, Oklahoma City

We will be doing a(nother) demo for Bradley in Oklahoma City. The third Friday is our regular day for our monthly peace vigil, but we will dedicate this one to awareness and calls for freedom for Bradley. We hope to again have some old friends of Bradley’s from Crescent join us. (Contact: Rena at Center for Conscience)

After the demo, some of us will go to the nearby Mexican restaurant, Cocino de Mino.

Quantico, Virginia, USA

Sunday, September 19, 2010

11:30 a.m., Town of Quantico Municipal Park (River Road and 4th Avenue). Drivers will need to present valid drivers license, and we do have a permit for the rally from the mayor Quantico.

IVAW, Code Pink, and other area activists will have a rally, anti-war veterans will speak. We have Bradley manning whistles — so you can be a whistleblower, too!

Details: There will be a fundraiser/social Sept. 16th, 6:30 p.m., at the Mott House located at Maryland Avenue and First Street NE for those wishing to engage in the door-to-door peace mission. Carpooling will be organized, and the Amtrak also goes to Quantico. To sign up for carpooling and/or know about future Quantico events, contact Pete Perry, pete4peace (at) gmail  (dot) com

Rochester, Minnesota, USA

Date: Thursday September 16th, 2010
Time: 5 PM
Location: South Broadway & 2nd Street SW, Rochester, MN, 55902
Details: Peace Happening in Support of Bradley Manning! Sponsored by the Southeastern Minnesota Peace Makers
Learn more: www.semnap.org

San Diego, California, USA

San Diego event posterSan Diego event poster

Date: Sunday, September 19, 2010
Location: Horton Plaza, 4th & Broadway (See: http://westfield.com/hortonplaza/)
Rally: 12 PM-2PM

Will include a screening of Collateral Murder
Sponsored by: Activist San Diego, San Diego Peace and Justice Coalition, (Contact: Gabe C.)

San Francisco, California, USA

San Francisco event flyerSan Francisco event flyer

Date: Saturday, September 18, 2pm.
Time: 2pm rally, 3pm march. 4pm end at Union Square.
Location: in front of the SF War Memorial Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California.
Details: March and rally: Free Bradley Manning. Blowing the whistle on war crimes is not a crime!

Organized by Courage to Resist, Veterans for Peace-SF Bay Area, ANSWER Coalition, Bay Area United for Peace and Justice, and CodePink.

More info: 510-488-3559,  couragetoresist.org

Seattle/Fort Lewis, Washington, USA

Date: Saturday, September 18, 2010. Time: 2-4 pm
Location: “Freedom Bridge” and gate area at I-5 exit 122 (Madigan Hospital exit).
More information: projectsafehaven [at] hotmail [dot] com

Details: Greater Seattle Veterans For Peace (VFP 92) is organizing a Bradley Manning support rally at Fort Lewis, Washington for Saturday, September 18. VFP members and friends from around the region will show up blowing whistles and carrying signs that say “Blow the Whistle on War Crimes.” We will be reaching out to the GI’s, giving them “goody bags” with cookies, copies of Sir, No Sir!, and stickers that say “Whistle While You Work,” and give links to VFP and IVAW websites. We want the GI’s to know it is their duty to expose war crimes, and that we will back them up when they do.

Spokane, Washington, USA

Date: Thursday, September 16, 12:00 noon
Location: Corner of Wellesley and Division
What: Rally
More information: Cindy, quest2108 [at gmail [dot] com

Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Contact: Charlotte S.)

Date: Sunday, September 19, 2010. Time: 12:00 noon.
Location: US Consulate, University Avenue
More information: Charlotte S., +1 416-253-6784

US Military Suicide Rates Rise Above Civilian Rate For The First Time Since Vietnam

Pentagon Report Places Blame for Suicides

By ELISABETH BUMILLER

WASHINGTON — At a time of record-high military suicides, commanders are ignoring the mental health problems of American soldiers and not winnowing out enough of those with records of substance abuse and crime, a United States Army report has concluded.

The report, released Thursday at the Pentagon, found that it was not only the stress of repeated deployments over nearly a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan that has driven the Army suicide rate above the civilian rate for the first time since the Vietnam War. Significantly, the report said that 79 percent of the soldiers who committed suicide had had only one deployment, or had not deployed at all.

“For us to blame this thing just on the war would be wrong,” Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the vice chief of staff of the Army, said at a news conference about the report. “That’s not what we’re trying to do here.”

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Army Experience Center finally Closes

Peace Groups Help Close Army Experience Center in Philly

Posted on Jun 10, 2010 by Coalition for Peace Action

Peace Claim Role in Shutting Down Army Experience Center in Philadelphia according to an Army announcement made shortly before June 19 protest. Sustained demonstrations, vigils, and boycott contributed to its demise.

A coalition of thirty peace groups, coordinated by the Coalition for Peace Action and the Brandywine Peace Community, are celebrating the contribution of their campaign to the just-announced decision that a high tech recruiting center called the Army Experience Center, located in the Franklin Mills Mall in Northeast Philadelphia, will be shut down.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported today that the Army plans to permanently close the facility by July 31, 2010. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/96031939.html