Today, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) gave Veterans For Peace (VFP) $200,000, the largest grant in our history, to expand our Veterans Challenge Islamophobia program (VCI.) We thank OSF for their encouragement and support.
We launched VCI as a proactive effort because the current increase in Islamophobia generates feelings of hate, adding momentum to the creation of the “other” or the “enemy” which prepares the U.S. public to accept more war. If we allow the demonization of Muslims here in the U.S. to go unchecked, it will be that much easier to justify sending drones, bombs and troops to kill them abroad.
The VCI campaign, working with our allies from IVAW and Beyond the Choir has already received national and local media attention by confronting the Islamophobia of Presidential candidates at their campaign rallies. Local VFP chapters have already organized or co-sponsored anti-Islamophobia events with the Muslim-American communities in Boston, Nashville and Arlington, VA. We are adding the voice and credibility of as many veterans as possible to the movement against Islamophobia. With the grant, we will hire a national program organizer to work from Washington, DC, and between 4 and 10 local staff in other cities nationally, depending on the amount of additional funds we raise. Based on a survey of our local chapters, we will begin hiring immediately in Dallas, Indianapolis, New York and Raleigh-Durham. These local organizers will work to identify and involve more veterans in the campaign and organize closely with local Muslim-American communities to build solidarity networks. The grant also allows us to continue our media efforts that have already gained the campaign excellent media attention.
We ask all local chapters to join in this national campaign on a volunteer basis, reaching out to your local Muslim-American communities. You can take advantage of the materials we develop and personal support from our national program staff and media consultants. Please get involved now by signing the VCI Mission Statement at www.VeteransChallengeIslamophobia or writing Jim Driscoll at email@example.com or call 520-250-0509.