Since our group was founded in 2004 as a means of support for conscientious objectors to war, our commitment to work for those who take courageous stands against war has not wavered, but we have been evolving as far as our specific projects and scope of the work. In 2013, we took a big leap in that continuing evolution, and decided to expand our vision to peace action that addresses the violence in our local communities and that impacts the very sustainability of our planet home.
One exciting aspect of these organizational changes is the creation of a new micro-grant program that will help fund local projects that bring a nonviolent approach to local justice and environmental activism.
For a full report on our new vision and the work we have done in 2013 and look forward to doing in 2014 and beyond, please read this post on our website.
Your financial support keeps our work for peace going
This will be but one of many appeals for a donation that you receive this month, all likely from organizations that deserve your support. But if you can, we hope that you can support our work with a tax deductible contribution through our fiscal sponsor, Joy Mennonite Church. We are funded through individuals, churches and other organizations that share our commitment to a just world through local action, understanding peace in the radical tradition of Gandhi, Martin Luther King and our recently deceased hero, Nelson Mandela.
Donations can be made online with a credit card through Paypal, or mail a check made out to “Joy Mennonite” and mailed to:
Center for Conscience in Action
504 NE 16th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Kimberly Rivera free and back home with new baby and family
CCA Legal Director James M. Branum was the attorney for war resister Kimberly Rivera, who was court-martialed this year after returning from Canada, and sentenced to six months at the Miramar military confinement facility in San Diego, California. CCA funding allowed James to represent Kimberly for a much lower than usual fee. Pregnant with her fifth child through all of this, Kimberly gave birth to a son on Nov. 26. She was released on Dec. 13, and is now back home in Texas with her family and new baby. The Riveras will need help getting back on their feet, and our ally organization Courage to Resist has fund set up for this purpose.
Chelsea Manning update
CCA is a member of the Private Manning Support Network, and has been engaged in educational and advocacy work on the case since 2010. Being in Oklahoma, where Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning was born and raised, has meant we feel a special responsibility – which is our honor – to bring attention and better understanding about the effects of Manning’s release of documents to Wikileaks.
This past summer, CCA Executive Director attended several days of Manning’s court martial. And just this week, on Chelsea’s birthday on Dec. 17, we organized a birthday party in her hometown of Crescent. We toasted her courage and sacrifice, and look forward to her being present for the next birthday celebration.
Two petitions asking for clemency/pardon are still active and need your signature:
- Amnesty: http://amnesty.org/en/appeals-
- Private Manning Support Network: http://www.privatemanning.org/
Manning’s civilian attorney David Coombs recently did a fundraising tour of the west coast, and his talk in Seattle was recorded. The video, and a transcript, are available online. Watch it here.
National response by peace activists keep Under the Hood alive
Under the Hood is a GI rights café and resource center in Killeen Texas, near Ft. Hood, the largest base in the US. Its presence there is critical to effective outreach among the huge population of servicemembers in the area, who get info about and assistance with discharges, harassment and discrimination, sexual assault and other concerns. Earlier this year, the existing board of directors sent out an appeal for new energy and support from the wider peace community nationwide. Many organizations and individuals responded, including CCA. The result was a new board and advisory board, and we are happy to say that CCA’s two staff members are both on the advisory board that also includes representatives from Veterans for Peace, IVAW, Civilian Soldier, Courage to Resist, Center on Conscience and War, and the Military Law Task Force.
The new board and advisory board will be meeting on the ground in Killeen in January, and we will be part of that meeting, which will help plan and direct the future work of Under the Hood.
UTH has a holiday fundraising campaign underway; if you can help, or just want more information about their work, please visit underthehoodcafe.org.
GI Coffeehouse West Coast tour
Speaking of GI rights and coffee, the three existing GI coffeehouses – Under the Hood, Coffee Strong in Washington, and The Clearing Barrel in Germany — are working on an unprecedented joint project, an educational/fundraising tour of the US west coast early next year. CCA is a co-sponsor of this effort and is assisting with website development, promotion and other support needs. The coffeehouses serve as the face of the GI Rights movement to active-duty servicemembers. Keeping them alive and strong should be a priority for everyone who works to build a more peaceful and war-free world.
Rosalie Riegle’s history of war resistance from Dorothy Day to today
We were thrilled to have a visit from oral historian and writer Rosalie Riegle in October. Her books add significantly to the important documentation of peace work, which often (usually?) misses the pages of the mainstream press in any but the most sensational and distorted coverage. We have a few copies of the following books left, which you can get from us directly for $30 each — less than the standard price in bookstores or online. Contact us if you are interested.
- Crossing the Line: Nonviolence Resisters Speak Out for Peace
- Doing Time for Peace: Resistance, Family, and Community
CCA is the Oklahoma affiliate of the War Resisters League, which just celebrated its 90th year of working for peace by ending the scourge of war. They have published a perpetual calendar, which is a beautiful and useful tool for remembering historic events, and planning your own activist schedule. They can be ordered online for $14 each.
Thank you for your interest in and support for CCA. Have the happiest of holidays, and may 2014 bring us all the gift of real, transformative peace — at home, in our communities and across the world.
Rena Guay, Executive Director
James M. Branum, Legal Director