July 12- August 8
Time flies! This blog post is a little later than usual because my computer decided its calling was a paperweight and died on me a week after my last post. Heartbreaking, but at least I've been able to borrow laptops during this period so I haven't been completely dead in in the water.
We had the War is Trauma art show on July 16 at Central Texas College. The turnout was great, with at least 15 to 20 people. Under the Hood Cafe hosted a screening of The Invisible War and facilitated discussion about the ways military rape and military sexual trauma are addressed in our community.
Attendance has been great for programming at Under the Hood, with no fewer than 15 community members coming by each week. On the 19th, Aaron Hughes did a PowerPoint presentation on war propaganda. A really powerful discussion followed about the reasons this government goes to war and how war is marketed to the people. On the 26th, Graham Clumpner facilitated a discussion on Afghanistan. On the 28th, I co-facilitated my first Warrior Writers workshop. What a powerful experience! Such honest work. On August 2nd, Maggie facilitated a discussion on non-violent resistance after a movie clip of the documentary, A Force More Powerful.
I've been struck so many times by the quality of our community chats here at Under the Hood. What we're doing here, having talks about militarism just outside the gates of the largest military instillation in the country, gives me hope that the prevalent dialogue about how this government conducts itself here and abroad can change. UTH is more than just a progressive oasis in a military town, this tiny place is fertile ground for transformation, analysis within and without the campaign. Because so much of the population here is transitory, leader retention is often a problem. I prefer to frame the issue more optimistically, that UTH is helping develop leaders that will nurture the movement in other locations.
Maggie, Aaron, and I have been approached by management to leave the PX, or shopping center, on base a couple of times last week, so we've been trying to work alternate outreach spots. Last Tuesday, we spoke to folks outside the Warrior Transition Unit and went on an evening flyer walk through the barracks. I made my first house visits with Aaron last week as well. Most of our attempts were fruitless, but we did get an interview appointment with one service member for this week. It's been slow going, but I am so happy to know that I helped contribute to the collection of the 500+ organizer contacts that pledge support to the campaign!
Rushelle (right) doing outreach about Under the Hood Cafe and Outreach Center
at Ft. Hood with Civilian Soldier Alliance members Leslie (center) and Adele (left).
On Saturday, organizers from IVAW, CIVSOL, UTH board members, active-duty soldiers, community members and veterans got together for what turned out to be a seven-hour meeting to do some visioning for the future of Under the Hood and to make decisions on the Summer action.
When I arrived here in Killeen, there was a much talked-about proposal for a week-long community fast for service member's right to heal as the focal point for the end of Summer action, with art, music, and vigils as supporting events. The Saturday meeting was the opportunity for the UTH/ Fort Hood community to voice support for the action, or choose another route. The proposal for the fast was turned down by the community, mostly on the grounds that active-duty people familiar with the goals of Operation Recovery wouldn't be able to participate because of work, and that the soldier unfamiliar with the campaign would not take a fast seriously. We then broke into groups to discuss what an end of Summer action would look like and make next steps. We're having a community meeting tonight to do more planning for the action. It was a little disappointing seeing the heavily worked-on proposal go by the wayside, but I feel like it was better to see the local community have a say in the way this campaign is articulated. I am excited to see what happens next.