Winter Solstice 2006
Twentieth Anniversary Concert
A Summary of VFP Chapter 14 Events for 2006
From the Winter Solstice Program – thanks to Julie Netzer for this article
Gainesville Veterans for Peace Activities in 2006:The Gainesville Chapter of Veterans for Peace continues its efforts to “support our troops” through its work with local Quakers and Unitarian Universalists on the GI Rights Hotline in our area. We went “live” with the GI Rights Hotline in this area in February 2004 and began receiving calls from GIs and their family members almost immediately. To date, we have handled nearly 200 calls. We cover the 727 (Pinellas County/St. Pete), 352, and 386 area codes with our advocacy and support on behalf of our soldiers. This year, our cases have primarily been soldiers who are AWOL (absent without leave) and need information on their options, soldiers who have started basic training and decided they didn’t want to continue with their military obligation, and young people who have joined the military through the Delayed Enlistment/Entry Program and have decided the military way of life isn’t for them. We are very proud of our work on behalf of these soldiers. We find it interesting that while certain groups in this country scream about “supporting our troops” to the peace and justice communities, it is the peace and justice community who is out there really supporting our troops against an inhumane, militarist, “empty promises” system that is stacked against them and their volunteer service to their country. Please see our table during the intermission for further details and information on countering military recruiting and alternatives to the military. The GI Rights Hotline is available for workshop presentations on alternatives to the military, preparing conscientious objector files, and getting out of the military’s Delayed Enlistment/Entry Program. Or, if you are willing to work with us on countering military recruiting in our schools, please see us at our table in the lobby. And, we are looking for more GI Rights counselors for our Hotline. If you are interested in becoming a GI Rights counselor, please stop by our table.
VFP continues its anti-war efforts and, in April, we were co-sponsors with many other peace and justice groups throughout the Southeast for an anti-Iraq War march in Atlanta presented by the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition. We sponsored David Ziegler, filmmaker, in setting up a series of showings at the Hippodrome Theatre of Sir, No Sir , David’s riveting look at the military resistance movement against the Vietnam War. We also have made a contribution to the Lt. Ehren Watada (the first military officer who refused to go to Iraq on conscientious objector grounds) Defense Fund. And, we continue our assistance to the Civic Media Center, the Global Network Against Nuclear Power and Weapons in Space, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Combatants for Peace (a joint Israeli/Palestinian peace group), The Helping Hands Clinic (local health clinic for homeless veterans), FCPJ, the Home Van, and The Gainesville Iguana .
After Howard Zinn’s visit to Gainesville this year, VFP purchased copies of his People’s History of the United States for every high school library in Alachua County. We have also purchased and are placing in every Alachua County high school copies of Arlington West , Iraq for Sale , and Ground Truth DVDs and Spider’s Web , a book on how the U.S. armed Iraq. We estimate 90% of our fund-raising money from the Winter Solstice events go toward financially supporting our local peace and social justice groups, such as these, to sponsoring educational workshops, to providing alternative materials to our local schools that they normally would not receive, and to bringing peace and justice speakers to Gainesville.
VFP members have continued their support of local peace and justice groups in their activities. Weekly (2nd and 4th Tuesdays at the corner of University and 13th St., 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at the corner of Archer Rd. & 34th St., 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.) anti-war, end the Iraq occupation, impeach the liars, anti-U.S. imperialism protests continue with CCAWT, VFP, Alachua County Greens, and others. Please join these public protests against U.S.-perpetuated imperialism and global terrorism. Be all you can be and work for peace!