East Central Regional Retreat
IVAW members, allies, and Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) members from the east central region of the United States converged onto the small town of Decatur, Tennessee May 3 - 5. Held on the sprawling grounds of field organizer Maggie Martin, member J-Hurd, supporters Rochelle Frazier, and Jared Hartig's scenic land, members and allies reconnected to set a course for the region. Dialogs ranging from IVAW strategy and goals to local objectives and actions created a bond not unlike other IVAW member events. Community was the goal and we succeeded.
Great meals and plenty of time for recreation framed the retreat emphasizing the need for recovery as an integral part of organizing for an end to militarism and unchecked power. Members of VVAW recounted personal memories of their time in country and a history of the organization. Performances by Watermellon Slim, musician & VVAW member, and the Snake Doctors entertained us well into the night. Morning meeting sessions covered the ongoing strategy revision of the mission, values, and goals as the organization responds to the changing conditions and public perception that the wars are over. Members are encouraged to have their say using the strategy worksheet and starting discussions within your chapters and regions. Allies are also encouraged to become active in the organization through partner groups like the Civilian Soldier Alliance whose members are taking leading roles in our current campaign Operation Recovery to end the deployment of traumatized troops.
We hope to build upon the momentum created by this retreat as we prepare for the action during the G8 summit in Chicago May 20 and 21. The annual convention July 12-15 will be a great time for community and collaboration to strategize for the coming year. If you are a member who is interested in planning or hosting a regional event, please contact the field organizing team and they will provide you with the tools necessary.