Freedom from Militarization Project

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Freedom from Militarization Project:

Diagnosing and Healing the Moral Injury of Violence

Our death culture cannot imagine solutions that do not bleed. – Diane di Prima

Violent conflicts rage across the globe with 28 million people suffering. The U.S. just can't refrain from bombing Iraq. Blood flows for oil in a failed policy. Police continue to kill unarmed teenagers of color. At home in Sonoma County, Deputy Gelhaus is back on the streets and the Sheriff's Office has purchased 30 bayonets from the Department of Defense.

A moral injury is less visible than one to the body. It is an injury to our spirit and soul. It creates feelings of helplessness, distress and anger. In society, it can result in “unexplained” violence. In our military veterans, it causes them to kill themselves at an alarming rate. In the Peace Community, it can create despair.

More people visit the Center to have heart to heart talks or call for hugs over the phone. We can wish the world would change and these feelings vanish or we can use our pain and anger to reinforce our courage and channel our feelings into nonviolent action.

We are launching an exciting new project: Freedom from Militarization. The focus is to address the ever-expanding gray area that exists between military and civilian life that normalizes war and violence. Our emphasis will be identifying and raising awareness of local behaviors and organizations that support the militarization of society.

We'll be seeking your involvement and encouragement as we address four main categories: 1) Law enforcement; 2) Local activities that support the military; 3) Local companies which profit from militarization; and 4) Normalization of the military in culture and society.

We will be working with other local groups as our interests intersect. For example, in tandem with Veterans for Peace Sonoma County, we have already begun telling the truth about the Vietnam War in order to counteract the Defense Department’s 50th anniversary commemoration funded with $65 million of your tax dollars. As part of the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez, we are deeply involved in the work to rein in and demilitarize local law enforcement.

This is an ambitious project. To accomplish it, we’ve created a new staff position. Susan Lamont will become the new Project Coordinator. Join us at any one of three meetings planned for late October to learn more about the project and ways in which you can be involved – Wednesday, December 10th, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., Saturday, December 13th 10:00 to noon, or Tuesday, December 16th, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., at the Peace & Justice Center, 467 Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa. If you attended one of the October meetings, there's no need to come to one of these.

For more information and to volunteer, please call the Center at 707-575-8902. Thank you