WAND’s April Bulletin
On April 5, 2009 in Prague, Czech Republic, President Obama outlined the steps needed to move toward a safer world, one without nuclear weapons. He made a specific commitment to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world within four years
Unfortunately, necessary funding for these nuclear nonproliferation programs has now been frozen with a series of Congressional stop-gap spending measures. In February 2010, President Obama requested a $550 million (26 percent) increase for these programs. Congress has yet to act on this proposal and is now drafting another “Continuing Resolution,” or stop-gap funding measure, to fund the government through the end of this federal budget year (September 30, 2011).
On April 5, the anniversary of the President’s Prague speech, please join our nationwide effort by calling or writing your Senators and Representative. Ask Congress to restore money to NNSA’s Nonproliferation programs and assert that these funds should be directed only to programs that secure vulnerable nuclear materials worldwide.
News on Afghanistan
WAND Advocates for Afghan Women
In early March, WAND Executive Director Susan Shaer, Public Policy Director Kathy Robinson, and Washington Associate Elizabeth Holland headed to the Hill to talk about Afghanistan with members of Congress, including Democratic leadership and freshman members. The WAND staff was joined by Patricia Cooper of the Women’s Regional Summit project, a conference aimed at bringing together women leaders in the region to discuss their role in the development of long-term security and stability. Using the new study “Afghan Women Speak”as a frame for the discussion, WAND asked for support for a drawdown in troops tied to a social compact that provides for long-term, sustainable investment in aid that supports and empowers Afghan women.
Members of Congress Call for Significant and Sizeable Troop Withdrawal
Withdrawal Bill Fails, but Message Rings
On Thursday March 17, the House failed to pass a bill urging President Obama to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by Dec. 31, but the debate leading up to the vote suggested that lawmakers are growing impatient with the White House’s war strategy. The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), was not expected to pass after a similar vote received only 65 votes in the House last year. However, policymakers in the Administration and Congress watched closely as the resolution garnering 93 votes this year signaled waning support for the war among both parties. See how your Representative voted here.
Get the latest news on our newly updated Afghanistan page!
On March 18, 2011 the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize military action and the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libya (UN Security Council Resolution 1973).
On March 19, British, French, and American forces began the military campaign against Col. Muammar el Qaddafi to protect Libyan citizens. WAND released a statement on the events unfolding in Libya on March 22. In the statement, WAND joins the voices that ask for official recognition that defines the goals of this operation. WAND opposes another long, expensive and dangerous commitment of our military power and supports efforts for non-military solutions. You can read the entire statement here.
WAND Budget Letter
Thank you to all the organizations that have signed on to our annual budget letter, which calls on Congress to cut excessive military spending and support smart budget priorities. The letter currently boasts over 150 signatories from national, state, and local organizations. In April, WAND will deliver the letter to members of Congress, demanding smarter budget priorities.
To learn more about our budget letter and what members of Congress are saying about our nation’s budget priorities, please check out our website here.
Deadline fast approaching for the WiLL budget letter!
Chapter and Field News
Oregon WAND Stands Up for Budget Priorities
Oregon WAND continues to speak out about our nation’s unbalanced budget priorities! On February 24, WAND board member and Oregon WAND co-chair Susan Cundiff published a rousing op-ed about wasteful military spending. Members of Oregon WAND then met with Rep. Peter DeFazio’s (D-OR 4th District) office on March 21 to advocate for ending the war in Afghanistan and reductions in defense spending. Many thanks to Oregon WAND and other chapters and members who continue to weigh in about budget priorities!
Georgia WAND Hosts Anti-Nuclear Activists
Arkansas WAND Represents at Ecumenical Advocacy Days
Fern Katz to Receive Tikkun Olam Award
Next Steps after Field Visits
In 5 months WAND Field Coordinator Elaina Ramsey completed field visits and introduced herself to all 5 WAND chapters in Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan and Oregon. Elaina had a wonderful time meeting hundreds of chapter leaders and members and learning about chapter activities. Now that field visits are completed, Elaina is focusing on strengthening communications/messaging and resources for WAND chapters and members. This conversation began on March 21 during the Chapter Leaders call, and will continue throughout the year as WAND seeks to grow its membership and chapters.
Georgia WAND Heads to DC in April
Mother’s Day Fashion Show Heads to Cambridge
WAND is thrilled to announce that Oregon WAND’s Fashion Resistance to Militarism fashion show will be featured during the Mother’s Day event in Cambridge, MA on May 6. Fashion Resistance to Militarism is a runway exposé of how militarism has seeped into our homes, our communities and our minds. This unique fashion show features eye-popping, one-of-a-kind designs that challenge some pervasive assumptions about war, and uncovers all the ways that war is made to seem normal. Tickets to this event include entry to the Mother's Day fashion show, appetizers, desserts, beverages, and a cash bar. To purchase tickets, please click here.
I first walked into the WAND national office in 1983, with a baby in my arms. At that time, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a terrifying nuclear arms race, and I despaired about my children’s future. My minister had suggested that I volunteer for a peace group, so somewhat dubiously, I offered to help. WAND put me to work, not only stuffing envelopes and licking stamps but also phoning activists all over the country and writing profiles of the candidates that WAND PAC had endorsed. Fortunately, I was able to donate money as well as time to WAND. I have served on the board of WAND Education Fund for many years.
On April 5, join a nationwide day to call on Congress to restore money to the NNSA’s Nonproliferation programs and assert that these funds should be directed only to programs that secure vulnerable nuclear materials worldwide. Secure loose nukes here!
Don’t forget to have your organization sign on to our budget priorities letter here!
Ask your state legislator if they have signed on to the WiLL budget letter. Learn more here.