Dear Friends and Fellow Peacemakers,
I am requesting your help to send Ashley Jopp-Hagemann, Staff Sgt. Jarod Hagemann's widow, to speak at the MIC at 50 conference in just over two weeks. This has all happened very quickly, so please read further to learn more.
The Short (but important) Story: Ashley Joppa-Hagemann's husband Jarod committed suicide after his seventh deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, and before he was due to be deployed once again. Jarod was yet another victim of the lies and deceit that has sent countless men and women to fight immoral and unnecessary wars, only to have them return home physically and emotionally wounded.
Just over a week ago, on August 23rd, Ashley spoke at the State of the Soldier forum in Tacoma, and gave her testimony of her husband's struggle after multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan that led to him taking his life.
Just three days later Ashley confronted Donald Rumsfeld at his book signing event at Joint Base Lewis-McChord about his lies that led her husband to enlist in the Army. All he said was "Yeah, I heard about that." Ashley and Jorge Gonzalez (who had accompanied her) of Coffee Strong, a local GI coffee house, were forcibly removed from the book signing. Amy Goodman interviewed Ashley on Democracy Now yesterday about that experience and her husband's struggle.
The organizing committee for MIC at 50, a national conference on the Military Industrial Complex after 50 years, just invited Ashley to speak at the conference on September 17th. This is an important opportunity to hear the human side of war that the people who plan wars do not include in their calculations. She has accepted the invitation.
You can watch the video of Ashley speaking at State of the Soldier, and here is the video and transcript of her interview on Democracy Now.
The Urgent Request: The conference organizers can only provide for lodging and hospitality at the conference, but cannot pay for Ashley's transportation from the Seattle area to Virginia. It took courage for Ashley to do what she has done, and she is willing to continue to tell this important story.
I have offered to put the call out for financial help and put together enough pledges before the end of this week to pay for Ashley's transportation. If I can get even close to the goal of approximately $700 (estimated cost) by the end of this week I can notify the conference organizers that it is a GO! My family is making a contribution to get things rolling.
At such short notice I do not have an organizational resource available to accept contributions, so I am asking anyone willing to help financially to:
- pledge whatever you are able (we welcome any level of contribution; no amount is too small),
- email me (at firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know how much you will contribute so I can predict our success.
- make checks payable to Leonard Eiger; write "Ashley JH for MIC at 50" on the memo line,
- and mail your check to Leonard Eiger, PO Box 1115, North Bend, WA 98045.
I will carefully account for every dollar contributed, and will send any amount over what we spend for Ashley's transportation to Coffee Strong to further its work supporting soldiers.
Coffee Strong is a veteran-owned, veteran-operated GI coffeehouse. Veterans provide a safe place for soldiers to share the effects of disastrous wars, within 300 meters of the gates at Ft Lewis. The unique coffeehouse welcomes soldiers with a free cup of coffee. There is access to the Internet, an informative library, and many referrals are available to community resources, including GI Rights counseling and Veterans Benefits. Free legal and educational resources are available.
Please contact me with any questions. I will respond quickly. And please - if you are able to contribute - follow the instructions 1 - 4 above. I will provide funding updates at the top of this Blog as we move toward our funding goal.
Many Thanks and Peace,