New campaign launching in January
by Liz Moore
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
While people are losing their jobs and homes, state and local governments are cutting needed services. In Washington State over 40,000 people have lost Basic Health coverage, funds to reduce class size in our schools have been cut 70%, college tuition has risen, library hours are being cut, and the Governor has put forward an all-cuts budget again. Meanwhile, taxpaying families in Eastern Washington alone have spent $2.1 billion for the wars since 2001.
In January 2011 we will launch a new campaign to Bring Our Billion$ Home. The campaign is aimed at moving local elected bodies like the city council to urge our Congressional delegation to stop funding the wars, occupations and military activities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and to shift priorities to put money now wasted on the bloated Pentagon budget into putting people back to work and funding education, healthcare, and community services. PeaceWorks volunteers are excited to reach out across our community to garner individual and organizational endorsements. Our goal is to garner 500 signatures and 10 organizational endorsements by June 30, as a first phase of the campaign. We’ll start by launching signature gathering on January 17 at the Martin Luther King march and celebration. Our March conference will focus on connecting the dots between militarism and social and economic exploitation, oppression, and poverty. At the conference we’ll launch our regional coalition.
After the conference, we will hold a “Bring the Billions$ Home Community Speak Out” where survivors of this crisis and affected agencies can tell their stories.
Here are five ways you can get involved:
1. Send back the insert in this issue to add your name to the Declaration of Principles.
2. Invite a “Bring Our Billion$ Home” speaker to your faith community’s social concerns committee, professional association, union, or other community group so that we can ask your group to endorse the Declaration.
3. Come learn more and chat it up at our New Year Potluck on January 12 at 5:00.
4. Join in our PeaceWorks meetings on Thursdays January 6 and 20 at 5:30.
5. Help launch our signature gathering at the Martin Luther King march and celebration on January 17: call Dale at 838-7870 to sign up.
October 2010 marked 9 years of US war in Afghanistan, and March 2011 will complete 8 years of US warfare and occupation in Iraq. That means almost 5900 US troop deaths and as many suicides, over a million civilian deaths (and that’s just the released numbers), and 30% of US soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from identified mental illness. What could we provide with our $2.1 billion instead of war?
—Healthcare for 932,568 children for a year, or
—Pell Grants for 380,924 college students at $5550, or
—Head Start for 229,772 children for a year, or
—School teachers in 31,407 classrooms for a year, or
—VA medical care for 269,306 military veterans for a year, or
—Jobs for 52,500 people at $40,000 for a year.
We are excited about this new campaign and hope you will join in making it successful.