Chapter #035 Hosts 2019 National Veterans for Peace Convention

This year, our chapter was honored to host the national convention. See below for highlights, videos, and more from “Sacred Lands, Sacred Lives: Peace Knows No Borders”.


Thank you to Dennis Mills for the majority of these wonderful videos of our 2019 Convention and for his work documenting the movement.

Ruth (Loke) was the keynote speaker at the 2019 Veterans For Peace convention. Ruth Aloua is a Kanaka Maoli from the Kona District. Her grandmother’s lineage binds her to the island Hawai’i and her grandfathers to Maui. She is a mahi’ai (farmer) and a kia’i loko (fishpond guardian) whose work extends to the peaks of Mauna a Wākea to the plains of Pōhakuloa into the deepest depths of the ocean to the realm of Kanaloa. She is an advocate for peace and justice fostering nonviolent interaction between people, land, water, ocean and air.

Full Opening Plenary featuring Carol Evans and Pat Moses.

Deb Abrahamson, the founder and director of SHAWL- Sovereignty, Health, Air, Water and Land, gave the opening plenary.  She spoke at the Veterans For Peace 2019 Convention about the poisoning and destruction of indigenous lands and people.

Brittany Ramos DeBarros spoke about her experience standing up to the military industrial complex and her work with About Face’s Drop the MIC campaign on Friday night.

A farewell video tribute to VFP Executive Director Michael McPhearson.

As part of the wonderful exhibit, Waging Peace, VFP member Chuck Searcy of Project RENEW describes the major success and strides in making Vietnam safe from the devices of death dropped on the country by the United States.

Veterans for Peace Ryukyu Okinawa Chapter Kokusai (VFP-ROCK) gives an update on their most recent efforts to protect Henoko.

This workshop covered legislative initiatives, legislative outreach team building, unified lobbying, and fundraising. One presenter, Martha Garcia, is the mother of Jose Roberto Segovia Benitiz, a USMC Iraq war veteran currently in ICE detention, facing deportation. Jan Ruhman is Operations Coordinator of the Deported Veterans Advocacy Project and founding member of VFP Sgt. Barrios Chapter 182, Tijuana, Baja Calif., Mexico. Zahid Chaudhry, President of VFP Chapter 109 briefly shared his experience with ICE and their efforts to deport him.

This workshop was organized by the Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance (COVVHA) to discuss the organization and current studies and work. Heather Bowser and Valerie Ouilette covered the concerns of children of Vietnam veterans and Vietnamese with birth defects. Studies have shown a correlation between exposure to dioxin in herbicides and 18 illnesses for which the VA provides benefits and compensation, including children of female American veterans, and nothing for the Vietnamese victims. Dan Shea, President of VFP Chapter 72, is a co-coordinator of Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign (VAORRC).

Closing Ceremony of the Arlington NW installation at Riverfront Park

Closing plenary discussion with Garrett Reppenhagen, the new VFP Executive Director, and Michael T. McPhearson, former VFP Executive Director, giving closing remarks and challenges to the veteran members attending the 2019 VFP National Convention in Spokane, Washington.

The Spectrum Singers performed for our 2019 Convention!

Every VFP Convention holds a Poetry Reading for veteran poets to read aloud one of their poems. John Spitzberg hosted this event at the 2019 VFP National Convention in Spokane, Washington. VFP 109’s own peace poet, Larry Kerschner, read several of his poems.


[Mike James Photo] For a complete look at the Annual Convention in photos, see Mike James’ beautiful photo essay here.

Coverage from Annual Convention

Spokane Public Radio

KXLY video of Arlington Memorial installation in Riverfront Park

Praxis interview with keynote Ruth (Loke) Aloua

Praxis interview with Brittany Ramos DeBarros