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War Resistance and Peace Work in Oklahoma – Fall 2013 Update

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Free Kimberly Rivera 021

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

Manning Birthday in Crescent 008 (2) (640x480)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:

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


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


perpetualcalendarcover_2013smWar Resisters League update

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.





Keep up with the CCA’s work by following us on Facebook or Twitter (note that our Twitter handle has changed).

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

Finally published! Peace Post, Winter 2011

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Here is the long awaited “We Love Winter So Much We Extended It” issue of the Peace Post. In it you’ll find the announcement of our Mertens Peace Award and fundraiser event featuring entertainment by Peggy Johnson, an article describing out becoming an affiliate of War Resisters League, and and heads up about our upcoming GI Rights Hotline Training. We also welcome Mayflower Congregational UCC Church to our list of sponsoring organizations. And there’s more, so open it up and enjoy!

If you would prefer to receive a print copy of the Peace Post, just let us know.

Peace Post Vol. 2 Issue 1

Winter 2010 issue of Oklahoma Peace Post now available

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Our debut issue of the Oklahoma Peace Post was a big hit at the Fall Peace Festival in November. We almost gave out of printed copies that first day! (You can download and read it as a PDF document by clicking ← that link.)

Now we’ve published Vol. 1, Issue 2, our Winter 2010 edition. Click ←  that link to download. If you want to receive a hardcopy version in the regular old mail, just contact us and we’ll be happy to send it to you. Such subscriptions are free.

The new issue features an article by Camille Landry about Martin Luther King’s mission for peace as well as civil rights. There’s an essay by Gene Stoltfus about President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, and a report on the current activity with our OK GI Rights Hotline project.

For the next issue we are tentatively planning some resources for War Tax Resistance, a report on the work of our military law attorney, James M. Branum, and an essay on Howard Zinn by one of our counter-recruitment volunteers. If you have any content you would like to suggest or submit, please let us know.

OCC’s Email Newsletter

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email-iconThis is the first issue of a newsletter that will be going out occasionally to our email list. If you would like to receive it by email, please visit the subscribe page. Or you will also be able to read each issue on the public archive for the newsletter at, and that page also offers other ways to subscribe, via different feed options.

Welcome to the first issue of the new OCC newsletter. We hope you find it interesting and useful. It will come out about once or twice a month, more frequent only for special circumstances or important breaking news about our work. We know you are busy and have an already overflowing inbox.

Please let us know what you think. If you would like to unsubscribe, or would like us to invite someone to receive it, more info and links are at the end of this email, or at the list homepage

We are going to be making the old Yahoo Group into a more general discussion list for those who choose to participate in a conversation about Oklahoma peacemaking, GI Rights work, alternatives to militarism and the like. You can join by sending an email to or, you can visit the web page for that group,, where you can unsubscribe or update your membership (such as to a less-frequent mailing).

Action alert!
We need motivated, energetic folks to help with our alternatives to military service project. There are roles to play in front and behind the scenes. See below under events.

OCC activities

Rethink Afghanistan film
Our screening on 10/14 was the Oklahoma premiere of this important and timely documentary. We had a gread discussion afterward, and signed a petition “Demand Civilian Solutions for Afghanistan” which the producer provided. You can sign and learn more at

The DVD was added to OCC’s library, and is available for local screenings. If you want to order your own copy, they are $25 and if you order through OCC, we get $5 from the film company.

Web sites redesigned
Rena has remodeled our online presence with new designs for and Check them out!

Article published
Moses Mast wrote a wonderful article explaining our GI Rights work, and it has been published in the latest issue of the Peace Strategy News, the newspaper of the Oklahoma City Peace House It’s also posted on our web site,

We continue to operate the Oklahoma GI Rights Hotline, and coordinate associated servicemember legal support, which is our largest expense. If you are moved to help with this project, our mailing address is below, or you can check our web site, where you can donate with a credit card.

Upcoming OCC events:

Help our youth find “Work Without War”
We’re having a hastily called meeting on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 1pm at Joy Mennonite Church to do some counter-recruitment planning. Please join us if you can, or email us with your interest in future meetings of this project. We will be doing outreach not just in schools, but at public events, and at recruiting stations.

November Business Meeting
We’re rescheduled the November meeting from the usual first Sunday to the second Sunday of the month instead. So join us on Nov. 8 at 1pm at Joy Mennonite Church, 504 NE 16th. Among other things, we’ll have a report from our GI Rights hotline attorney, James Branum, on the recent National Lawyers Guild conference, where he was one of the presenters of the workshop on courts-martial.

2009 Fall Peace Festival
We will again be at the Fall Peace Festival sponsored by the Peace House. Please stop by our table and say hi. We are hoping to have a place for folks to sign holday cards and write letters to GI resisters who are serving sentences for their refusal to fight an illegal immoral war. If you would like to help with the table, contact Rena at 405.615.2700.

Other news of interest:

The Honest Recruiter
New updated edition of Sgt. Abe, the Honest Recruiter is now available.This is THE essential counter-recruitment tool, so make some copies and have them handy for distribution to anyone thinking of joining the military, or of recruitable age. They should make the decision with ALL the facts, and not the selected spin given by recruiters. The site also has the handout in Spanish, as well as a video.

Obama’s War
PBS did outstanding work with its Frontline documentary Bush’s War. Now they reexamine the subject with Obama in the White House. It has prompted a lot of discussion as to whether it’s too soon to criticize the new president for the problems he inherited, or whether the anti-war movement is being too lenient on the new commander in chief when he is continuing, or expanding, Bush’s militaristic policies. What do you think? Watch the film at the link below and let us know.

The sound of peace
Speaking of PBS, did you catch the wonderful profile of lifetime pacifist Joan Baez on PBS earlier this month, part of their American Masters series. If not, don’t worry, you can watch online until Dec. 10.

Recommended reading:

Cyber Resistance by Dahr Jamail
Technology has enabled alternative voices to penetrate the wall of silence around soldiers and war.

Multiple Deployments May Raise Risk of Military Spouse Suicide by Stacy Bannerman

We also recommend the following books:
The Will to Resist by Dahr Jamail
Rules of Disengagement by Marjorie Cohn and Kathleen Gilberd

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Become a fan of OCC’s page:

Oklahoma Center for
Donations are tax deductible. Mail to OCC, 504 NE 16th, OKC 73104