WAND’s May Bulletin
|The War In Afghanistan
A Moment for Transition
In light of the news of Osama bin Laden’s death, WAND offered a statement in response that recognizes this new moment and emphasizes the importance of pushing for a transition from war-making to peacebuilding. WAND is committed to making sure that women’s security and rights are protected during this transition and that Afghan women play a leading role in building civil society. See our revised Official Statement on Afghanistan, recently adopted by WAND’s Board of Directors.
Urge Congress to Act
Please send a simple e-mail to ask your Representative to co-sponsor HR 1735 today! The “Afghanistan Exit and Accountability Act” calls on President Obama to provide Congress with a timeframe and completion date for the transition of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Next week, the House will consider the Defense Authorization bill and we can expect that Afghanistan policy will be debated.
WAND Webinar Calls Attention to Afghan Women
Right on the tails of the successful Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on women in Afghanistan, WAND again teamed up with David Cortright to host a webinar on his study “Afghan Women Speak.” Approximately 45 activists joined us for a presentation that emphasized the importance of including women in the transition to peacebuilding in Afghanistan.
Thanks to all 45 activists who joined us, including the students of Jo’el Thomas-Jones’ 8th grade class in Dayton, Ohio! Please see our summary of “Afghan Women Speak.”
Fifty Years and Counting: The Time for CTBT is Now!
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) would ban all nuclear weapons explosions and is a vital tool to constrain the spread and threat of nuclear weapons. The United States signed the CTBT fifteen years ago and has not conducted an explosive nuclear weapons test since 1992, but the U.S. Senate has not yet ratified the treaty. In order for the United States to realize the CTBT benefits to detect, deter and confront other nations striving to test and develop nuclear weapons, treaty ratification is vital.
Last week Ellen Tauscher, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and Security, delivered a speech making the case for the CTBT and signaling that the Administration will now engage the U.S. Senate to reconsider CTBT ratification. At WAND, we especially like this part of her speech:
Just think that in 1961 some 10,000 women walked off their job as mothers and housewives to protest the arms race and nuclear testing... [T]he actions of mothers taking a symbolic and dramatic step to recognize global nuclear dangers showed that the issue has resonance beyond “the Beltway,” beyond the think tank world and beyond the Ivory Tower. That level of concern is there today and we need your energy, your organizational skills, and your creativity to tap into it. [This is a reference to women of Women Strike for Peace who called for a strike against nuclear testing on Nov. 1, 1961.]
We thank you again for your hard work last year to successfully secure Senate ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Women of WAND and WiLL contributed significantly to this victory for U.S. and global security. Now we are asking you to join again with us -- and great women leaders such as Ellen Tauscher -- in the effort to ratify the CTBT. We must take up the unfinished business of those inspiring women who went on strike for peace nearly 50 years ago.
Read our CTBT fact page here
Check out our new blog post " WONK Speak 101" to help decode some of the language.
Irresponsible Defense Bill?
With growing concern about the deficit, even the Pentagon is realizing that military spending has to be restrained. Last week Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said:
"The defense budget alone cannot solve our deficit crisis. But it’s hard to envision an overall solution -- either economically or politically -- that does not include some contribution from the 20 percent of government spending that goes toward defense…Given our budget challenges, it is irresponsible to embark on programs that we simply cannot afford. [Emphasis added] We need to live within the resource levels that we’re going to have, and to do that we need to make the hard decisions now.” (May 11, 2011 speech at the Air and Space Museum in New York.)
Disregarding these words, the House Armed Services Committee prepared a decidedly profligate Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Defense Authorization bill that includes support for Cold War era nuclear weapons policies, funds for programs the Pentagon doesn't want and expanded war-making authorization.
Next week the House of Representatives will debate and vote on the FY 2012 Defense Authorization bill. We expect a vigorous debate with many amendments.
The Women Legislators' Lobby (WiLL)
In April, over 330 current and former women legislators sent a strong message to Congress that military spending cuts must be on the table in budget discussions! View the final letter and resources about military spending here. Many thanks to all who helped collect signatures! We are especially thrilled that many newly elected women signed onto the letter this year. We will continue to promote the letter in meetings with members of Congress and in the media-- by encouraging legislators to place letters and op-eds in their local papers. We also held a webinar for state legislators that provided in-depth information and analysis about federal spending and its impact on state budgets. Please stay tuned for future webinars!
Planning for the 2011 WiLL/WAND conference is in full swing! This year’s conference will be held September 18-20 at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel just minutes away from our capitol. Our biennial conference is an inspiring and empowering three-day event. Highly regarded media/message trainers will offer valuable skills-building sessions. Dynamic women speakers will discuss women’s political participation and our efforts to create a safer world for generations to come. On the final day, we’ll go to the capitol to lobby our Senators and Representatives! Please be on the lookout for more information in the coming months! Maureen Campbell and Elaina Ramsey are co-planning the conference. For more information, call 202-544-5055 or email email@example.com. Check out our website for more information or to register!
Chapter and Field News
Arkansas WAND Honors Young Peacemakers for Mother’s Day
On May 4, Arkansas WAND hosted their annual Mother’s Day Peace Luncheon for a sold-out crowd at the Governor’s Mansion! About 25 high school students were honored and spoke to the attendees about their inspiring work to advance peace. Kudos to Arkansas WAND for encouraging a new generation of peacemakers!
Southeast Michigan WAND Features Atomic Mom
Fashion Resistance to Militarism Staged in Massachusetts
WAND Members Lobby their Mayors
Georgia WAND Represents at ANA DC Days
Carol Urner Receives Grassroots Award
Members and Chapters Rally Behind Annual Budget Letter
Thank you to all the WAND members and chapters who circulated our annual budget letter calling on Congress to consider responsible cuts in military spending. The letter was signed by 163 national, regional, and local organizations, representing millions of people, and was delivered to all members of Congress on April 8. We could not have done this without you!
Upcoming Chapter and Field Events - find them here!
Send a quick email to ask your Representative to co-sponsor HR 1735 today! The “Afghanistan Exit and Accountability Act” calls on President Obama to provide Congress with a timeframe and completion date for the transition of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.