Today is my last day as President of the Greater Seattle chapter of Veterans For Peace and I want to share how very honored I feel and how proud I am of what we together accomplished this year. On January 16, we started the new year off right by marching in the snow and cold as part of Seattle's 30th annual Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration. Our last action of the year was just over two weeks ago, when we went from the membership meeting to Benaroya Hall, where we handed out the last 325 of our "O Little Town of Bethlehem" cards to passersby and people attending Handel's Messiah. This came just weeks after Israel's most recent deadly, US-backed attack on the Gaza Strip, which killed or wounded over a 1,000 Palestinian civilians.
In between these actions, VFP 92 members supported Bradley Manning, including a well-attended panel discussion in February and marching in the Pride parade for the first time; we partnered with Occupy Seattle on two occasions; hundreds of copies of the chapter's "It Didn't Work for Ali" leaflet were distributed at Colin Powell's Seattle appearance last summer; and we engaged the general public directly on Tax Day, Memorial Day, the anniversary of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, Independence Day, Seafair Fleet Week, Hiroshima Day, and 9-11/Patriot Day. VFP 92 members staffed counter-recruiting tables inside three Seattle public high schools and attended the Washington state school board members conference in Spokane. Several members also staffed our booth in Auburn at the city's Veterans Day festivities. All told this year, we put more than 6,000 pieces of pro-peace, anti-war education and outreach materials in people's hands.
Also, three of the four positions we took on VFP issues in 2012 were ratified by the national membership--including the Amazon.com resolution we originated. Our resolution expressing solidarity with those working for a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict garnered 21% of the national VFP vote, a respectable showing given that it was opposed by both the national Palestine Working Group and the national Board of Directors.
One of the main highlights this year for me was the Auburn Veterans Day parade. In 2010, a handful of VFP members were ready to compromise our message just to get us in the parade. Perhaps they had forgotten that as Veterans For Peace we don't march for the sake of marching, we march to swim against the largely unquestioned tide of American militarism, we march to spread our message of peace and against war--a message at the heart of everything we do.
VFP members were having none of the tactics of capitulation this year, instead we pulled together to vindicate our 1st Amendment rights. Eight of our members filed personal declarations in the lawsuit we brought with the able assistance of the ACLU ... And two of our members did a great job as press contacts when our case garnered significant local and national media attention.
Then we won, and then we marched. I've never seen us look better as a group than we did as we marched in Auburn this year. Nor do I think parade spectators have ever been friendlier to us. Many of them made a special point of thanking us and welcoming us, knowing that the City of Auburn had let us march only after a federal judge ordered them to do so less than twenty-four hours before the parade's start.
In closing, as we reflect on what we did this past year and will do in 2013, I hope folks will also make a point to personally thank our two outgoing Board of Directors members, Bill Duroe and Phil Heft, for their service. Appreciation is due also to our continuing Board members, Cliff Wells and Will Alleckson. Please welcome our new Director-at-Large, Mike Kearney, our new Vice-President, Keith Orchard, and our new Secretary, Walt Williams. Finally, please welcome Dan Gilman, who is moving from Vice-President to President. With a leadership team like this we can look forward to another great year for VFP 92 as we work together in the cause of peace.
Wishing you a happy and peaceful new year,
Michelle J. Kinnucan, President, Greater Seattle Veterans For Peace (vfp92.org) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hope criticizes what is, hopelessness rationalizes it. Hope resists, hopelessness adapts. -- The Rev. William Sloane Coffin. "Interview with Chuck Currie: William Sloane Coffin Talks About Bush, Iraq and Leadership."
Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up. --Anne Lamott. Bird by Bird. p. xxiii.
Much protest is naive; it expects quick, visible improvement and despairs and gives up when such improvement does not come. Protesters who hold out for longer have perhaps understood that success is not the proper goal. If protest depended on success, there would be little protest of any durability or significance. History simply affords too little evidence that anyone's individual protest is of any use. Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence. --"A Poem of Difficult Hope" in What Are People For? by Wendell Berry.
Posted: 04 April 2012
The Peace Call Is On Hiatus
Due to a lack of volunteeers our chapter newsletter is on an indefinite vacation.
Purpose of the Peace Call
The purpose of Peace Call is to highlight the actions and activities of Chapter 92 members with the intent of informing, motivating and bringing members together, increasing participation, building goodwill and attracting new members." and "PEACE CALL will publish Editorial comments from VFP members as space allows.
Editorials should not be interpreted as representing the views of either Peace Call or other VFP members. Editorials should be 250 words or less.
Posted: 09 November 2012
Auburn Parade Details for Saturday
The First Amendment rights of anti-war/pro-peace veterans were vindicated today when Chief Judge Marsha Pechman ruled in VFP 92's favor today in federal court, granting our request for a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction ordering the City of Auburn to permit us to march in the City's annual Veterans Day parade as we have done for the previous six years. It would a shame to win this hard-fought victory and not turn out in good number so we encourage all Veterans For Peace members to join us in Auburn tomorrow.
Here are the details:
Our Entry Number: 125A
Our Staging Area: J St. SE
Our Staging Time: No Later Than 11:00 AM (The parade starts at 11 AM and we will not march until some time after that. However, it will be difficult to move around, cross Main St., etc. after the parade starts)
Parking: We have permission to park at St. Matthew Episcopal Church, 123 L St. NE (cross-street 3rd St. NE), Auburn, WA. The bathrooms will be open for our use and there will be hot coffee on hand. The church is on the opposite side of the parade route and about four blocks from our staging area so be sure to give yourself sufficient time to get to our staging area. Also, if you meet any church members please be sure to thank them for their hospitality.
Road Closures: The City of Auburn closes a lot of streets for the parade. Streets that will be open include 4th St. SE, (an east-west street which intersects J St SE) and M St. (a north-south street which intersects 3rd St. NE, where the church is) See "Street Closures & Detour Routes" (pdf).