Where: Madison, State Street and Capitol
When: Saturday, March 19, 10am-1pm
Aaron Hughes, Organizing Team Leader, Iraq Veterans Against the War, aarhughes@ivaw.org, 217-898-9083
Todd Dennis, IVAW-Wisconsin, todd@ivaw.org, 715-533-2887
Steve Burns, Program Director, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, outreach@wnpj.org, 608-332-3717

The national organization Iraq Veterans Against the War has chosen Madison as the site for a protest to mark the 8th year anniversary of the Iraq war,  in an event intended to bring pro-peace Veterans from around the country together with Wisconsin workers on the front lines in the struggle for union rights. March 19, the date on which the U.S. began its "Shock and Awe" bombing campaign on Iraq, has long been marked by war opponents both nationally and locally as a time to remember the terrible cost of that war and to renew our commitment to peace.

Why Madison? Aaron Hughes, an IVAW member who served for six years in the Illinois National Guard and was deployed to Iraq and Kuwait in 2003 for a 15 month tour, explains: "Rights and democracy are things that our nation says we are fighting for in Iraq and Afghanistan but from my experience in Iraq it was clear that militaries can not fight for these things. Only people standing together can fight for and win these things. So we are mobilizing to Madison to stand with our brothers and sisters in labor and connect the issues."

Todd Dennis, a Navy veteran and member of IVAW-Wisconsin, sees the march as an opportunity to connect cuts and austerity here at home to the money spent on war: "Since 2001, we have seen a weak dam collapsing and draining Lake Delton, unions at Harley-Davidson accepting a 7 year pay freeze when threatened with the company leaving the state, and in Milwaukee the highest transit fares in the country.  This is unacceptable and it is clear that this country needs new priorities.  No longer can we throw money at unjustifiable and unwinnable occupations.  No more can they tell us there is no money to support our public programs when we continue to spend billions a week to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan."

Speakers for the event include Will Williams, a Vietnam veteran and member of Veterans for Peace, as well as Wisconsin labor leaders and others who will speak to the devastating impact on Wisconsin communities of proposed cuts in the Governor's budget.

Steve Burns, Program Director of Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, said, "It's an honor for Wisconsin workers to have their struggle recognized by a national veterans organization in this way. For Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, as a coalition of 164 groups around our state that work on a diverse array of issues, our goal has always been to encourage people to 'connect the dots' between the challenges we face at home and our endless wars abroad, just as IVAW will be doing on Saturday."

The "Peacemakers and IVAW Stand in Solidarity with Workers" march will begin assembling at Library Mall, 750 State St., at 10am and march up State St. at 11am, arriving at the King Street Corner of the Capitol for a rally and speakers.

Sent 3/17/2011,
Steve Burns
Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice
Copyright © 2011 Wisconsin Network for Peace, Justice, & Sustainability, All rights reserved.
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