President’s Message 2013
As we enter the year 2013, San Diego Veterans for Peace, is embarking on its eleventh year of working for peace, with a new slate of officers and some new projects, but with its old focus and old goals uncompromised.
Our Compassion Campaign has just given its 1500th sleeping bag set to veterans and others who are homeless on the streets of San Diego. Several SDVFP members also serve on the board of Amikas House, which provides transitional housing for homeless female veterans, while others are active with Bethel Memorial AME Church’s “We Dare to Care” program for feeding homeless people. We speak up for the rights and needs of returning veterans.
We love these service activities. We think homeless women veterans deserve a place of refuge. We know that having a warm sleeping bag on a cold night can be a matter of life or death. We believe veterans deserve to receive what they were promised. We think hunger is an abomination in the richest country on earth, and we ask you to continue to support these activities with your labor, your money, and your voice.
While these activities are worth doing in their own right, they also bring an immediacy and authority to our voices as we speak up for ending the insanity of endless war. They remind the greater community of the costs of war. We at SDVFP, however, also renew our primary commitment to working for an end to war at the beginning of every meeting when we read aloud the Veterans for Peace Statement of Purpose. We will not allow ourselves to be distracted from this purpose, even by these pressing needs.
Currently, to this end, we continue our organized outreach to our congressional representatives, pressing them to support peaceful solutions to the world’s problems, to properly fund veterans programs, and holding them accountable for their actions.
We continue to provide speakers and organize events in concert with other peace groups, keeping the costs of war in the public eye, and demanding truth from our elected officials. Our sobering “Hometown Arlington West” memorial continues to remind our community of the death toll from the counties of Southern California. Periodic freeway banners in various parts of town support our message.
We are currently organizing a week of activities in early April around the increase in the use of drones by the military and other arms of the federal government overseas, as well as the increasing use of drones by domestic law enforcement agencies. Given the current lack of guidelines and oversight for such use, we see grave implications for the civil rights of American citizens at home as well as horrifying possibilities for the expansion of extra-legal killings overseas. Weekly vigils at General Atomics, one of the primary manufacturers of drones, continue.
We continue to support the formation of new chapters of Veterans for Peace, having been involved in the formation of the first VFP Student Chapter, at San Diego City College, the first VFP International Chapter, in London, and the currently organizing VFP Ireland chapter.
I would like to invite you to join us if you support our goals. Veterans may join as full members, those who do not have military service as Associate Members. While we remain primarily a veterans’ organization, we value our Associate Members and welcome them into full participation in our chapter.
As one of the founding members of SDVFP, I would particularly like to invite back into active membership those former members whose life paths have taken them away for a while. We remember your contributions and would be glad to see you again. This is an ever-evolving organization, and it might be the place for you again as it once was. Our proud history is your proud history. Come check us out.
James Summers, President
Veterans for Peace, Chapter 91
The Hugh Thompson Memorial Chapter