Sam Coleman • Pat Alviso • Maurice Martin • John Motter • Antonio Palacios
Sunday, 13 October, 11 a.m.
After we briefly survey the acute problems that American veterans and their families experience, from suicidality to moral injury and homelessness, we will show how our endless wars and the sickness in our society’s political economy today aggravate those problems and hobble our efforts to restore everyone to full health. We will highlight the perpetual war economy’s drain on resources for vital social services and note the insidious attempts to privatize the VA that can only lead to a drastic decline in the quality of health services for veterans.
Our round table discussion will focus on the important roles veterans can play in your organization, as we learn about what activist veterans are currently doing to stop wars and address their own traumas. We will also explore how to work with veterans in various stages of healing. Sharpen your skills and gain insight into organizing with veterans by participating in the “lessons learned” and problem solving discussion session, guided by young activist veterans to bring genuine power to veterans and progressive allies. All participants will receive the new “Practical Guide for Working with Veterans” handout.
Pat Alviso is the National Coordinator for Military Families Speak Out (MFSO). MFSO is a national organization with members across the country who have or have had loved ones in the military since 9-11. MFSO members support the troops as only loved ones can, including speaking out on the unhealthy conditions to which our troops are subjected by the military bureaucracy. MFO’s message is clear and simple: we want the troops home now and we must take care of them after their return. As the mother of an active duty Marine, Pat speaks on behalf of military families nationally and has helped lead three delegations to the White House. She has counseled thousands of military families, Gold Star families and military, providing information, consciousness-raising and support services while crafting forums and opportunities for MFSO members and supporters to speak out against the unjust wars in the Middle East. Pat’s activism also includes community sponsoring of three area high school peace clubs.
Sam Coleman, PhD, MSW is Coordinator of the Veterans For Peace (VFP) Military Trauma Working Group, and organizer of the Concerned Clinicians and Researchers Network. Coleman applies his knowledge as an anthropologist (PhD, Columbia University 1978) and social worker (CSU Long Beach 2002) to research veterans’ mental health problems and explore solutions cross-culturally. Coleman was a conscientious objector in the Viet Nam War, serving for 30 months as an orderly and surgical assistant in a Veterans Administration hospital from 1969-1971. He currently teaches about Japanese language and society as a lecturer at CSU Long Beach.
Maurice Martin is A US Army Veteran and Life Member of Veterans For Peace (VFP). A member of VFP since 2007, Martin currently serves as a board member of Chapter 162, Berkeley, CA. He serves on the Deported Veterans Advocacy Project, as Northern CA. Operations Coordinator, and served as Co-founder and board member of the GI Rights Hotline and Another Side, a counter recruitment program in Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, First Picture in San Francisco, and on the board of San Diego Project YANO military counter recruitment program. He has been serving in leadership positions for the VFP Speaker’s Bureau, Outreach Coordinator, Vice President, and President. He is the founder of VFP’s first national student veterans club, and helps facilitate the VFP Tijuana, Mexico Chapter and Housing Program for Deported Veterans, while serving on community and national Veterans Organizations. Martin majors in Peace and Conflict Studies at UC Berkeley, having earned Associates of Arts Degrees with high honors in Global Studies and Labor Studies from Berkeley City College and San Diego City College, respectively. He holds certificates in mediation, restorative justice, and acts as a facilitator in alternatives to violence and conference meetings. Martin was named one of 50 most notable Disability Advocates by the California Department Rehabilitation on its 50th anniversary.
John Motter served as an infantryman in the Marine Corps from 2007-2011. He deployed with the 1st Battalion 2nd Marines to Iraq in 2008, and to Afghanistan in 2010. He is one of the co-founders of Ground Game LA, a community organization based in Los Angeles that works with other local grassroots organizations to address police brutality and militarization, the criminalization of the homeless, tenants’ rights, immigration justice, climate justice, and other vital movement work.
Antonio Palacios is an activist for Veterans for Peace. He enlisted in the Navy five weeks before 911 to pay for his college education. Palacios worked in the personnel department on the USS Trenton, which was deployed to the Indian Ocean as part of the war in Afghanistan’s Operation Enduring Freedom. Palacios speaks out about the immorality of the war economy and the poverty draft. He joined the Poor People’s Campaign to fight for the re-allocation of resources from the military to education, healthcare and green jobs.