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LOCAL News :: Peace & War

FRSC: Camilo Mejia, Iraq War Resister, Speaks Out

Camilo Mejia, the first US soldier to actively resist the Iraq War. He spoke in Santa Cruz on Wednesday, May 4th, at the Veteran's Memorial Building.

Audio: Listen to the Stream or Download the mp3

“By putting my weapons down, I chose to reassert myself as a human being,? said Camilo Mejia, the first US soldier to actively resist the Iraq War. The former US Army staff sergeant went AWOL in October 2003 while home on a two-week leave. It wasn't until March 15, 2004, that Mejia turned himself in to military commanders and filed for discharge as a conscientious objector, becoming the first veteran from Iraq to publicly challenge the morality of the war. In May 2004, he was convicted of desertion, and sentenced to nine months in the brig. Having recently been freed, Mejia is now on a speaking tour of the West Coast, and spoke in Santa Cruz California Wednesday, May 4th at the Veteran's Memorial Building, 846 Front St.

"For his courageous stand" Mayor Mike Rotkin is proclaiming May 4, 2005 as "Camilo Mejia Day in the City of Santa Cruz" and will present a proclamation to Mejia at the event.

Aimee Allison, honorably discharged as a Conscientious Objector from her Army combat medic duties during the Gulf War, will moderate the evening program. Ms. Allison is a Stanford University graduate and candidate for the Oakland City Council.

The event was sponsored by the GI Rights Hotline & Draft Alternatives program of the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV) and the Bill Motto Post 5888, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Event underwriters are: The Bill Motto Post 5888 and the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition. Co-sponsors include: Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF), Free Radio Santa Cruz, the Watsonville Brown Berets, UCSC Students Against War (SAW), Harbor High Students for Peace & Justice, the Youth Coalition of Santa Cruz, Radio Station KPFA, the national Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO), and Global Exchange.


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