NNOMY National Conference

2009 Conference

NNOMY 2009 Conference Report

2009  NCRD ConferenceNearly 300 people from across the nation poured into the Friends Center in Chicago and Roosevelt University the weekend of July 17-19, 2009 for the National Network Opposing the Miltarism of Youth Counter-Recruitment and Demilitarization Conference. The faces represented what the counter recruitment movement is all about and how it has grown over the past years from a handful of established organizations to a vibrant grassroots movement with the intermixing of youth and adults. Representing organizations from approximately 35 states they included the very young (from 12 years of age) to the seasoned activists. The people themselves, including veterans, youth, educators, parents and community activists manifested the growing diversity that this movement has embraced.

2003 Conference

Counter-recruitment Conference Ushers in Renewed Resistance to Militarism

Almost 200 activists came together during June 27-29 for the first national counter recruitment conference, titled “Stopping War Where It Begins: Organizing Against Militarism in Our Schools.” With the tremendous amount of information that was exchanged, the high concentration of organizing experience that was present and the powerful energy that was generated, it may prove to be a significant watershed event for not only those organizations that focus on youth and militarism issues, but for the overall peace and social justice movement, as well.

Held at the Friends Center in downtown Philadelphia, the conference was sponsored by 11 local, regional and national organizations: the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) National Youth and Militarism Program, AFSC Washington D.C., AFSC San Francisco, Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO), Center on Conscience and War, the D.C. group CHOICES, the San Diego groups Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (COMD) and Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities (Project YANO), ROOTS/War Resisters League, the college-based STARC Alliance, and the Teen Peace Project of Port Townsend, Washington. A longer list of local and national organizations endorsed the conference; AFSC and CCCO were the local Philadelphia hosts.

Adding to the value of the conference was the fact that almost half of the participants were students or youth activists, and a total of 50 organizations were represented. A significant number of the participants, presenters and organizers of the conference were from Latino, Asian and African American communities where the military focuses a disproportionate amount of its recruiting energy. Geographical representation came from 27 states, plus Puerto Rico and D.C. -- some activists came from as far away as Hawaii!

As the conference’s mission statement explains, “Every war begins with the brainwashing of a nation’s citizens and the recruitment of troops. The Pentagon realizes that it is never too early to start the process of instilling militaristic values in the minds of young people -- values that these young people will carry with them into adulthood.” This theme was implicit in the title of the conference and underlies its challenge to the wider peace movement to develop a deeper understanding of what must be done to work with true effectiveness against war. Countering military recruiting and the militarization of young people is part of a strategy for addressing aspects of war that relate to economics, race, class and foreign policy, while, at the same time, actually interfering in a material way with the government’s ability to wage its wars.

The workshops and plenary presentations were all designed to inform people about these important issue linkages and provide concrete skills and resources for organizing in a variety of communities and contexts. The topics included the poverty draft, women in the military, the rights of students and others to counter recruiting inside schools, the roles of white anti-racist allies in the struggle against militarism, the No Child Left Behind Act and JROTC. Before the end of the conference, activists from dozens of cities and towns were excitedly talking about what they were going to do when they returned home.

There also were some very touching moments during the conference. One of the most heart-rending came during a plenary presentation on the military’s recruitment apparatus, when Fernando Suarez del Solar gave an account of how his immigrant son, Jesús, was lured into the Marine Corps. Jesús was sent to Iraq, where he was killed by an unexploded U.S. cluster bomb in March. The military refused to cover all of the burial costs because the family insisted that Jesús be given a civilian burial instead of a military one. Now, Señor Suarez reaches out to other immigrant families and tells them why it is better for their sons and daughters stay away from recruiters and stay in school instead.

Several proposals were made for follow-up activities after the conference, including some relating to literature and youth networking. The structure for an overall national network of counter-recruitment organizations is now being discussed and should soon be developed. There will also be a national week to demilitarize our schools in early October, preceded by several weeks of leafleting and other activities to encourage high school students to tell their schools that they may not release their names, addresses and phone numbers to military recruiters. The week of action in October will include different types of protests, ranging from legal leafleting and demonstrations to possible blockades at recruiting stations.

The potential is great for this work to spread and have a powerful, long-term effect. Organizations like Project YANO, AFSC and CCCO that have been doing it consistently for years are now being joined on the issue by groups like the Student Environmental Action Network, National Conference of Black Lawyers and Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. And United for Peace and Justice, the large national coalition that sprang up when the invasion of Iraq was being threatened, decided at its recent planning conference to encourage its many member groups to take up the campaign to remove recruiters from schools.

If this momentum continues to grow, if we begin to take back civilian control over our schools and make education instead of indoctrination their primary purpose again, it will enable us to evolve into the broader, more proactive movement that we must become in order to work effectively for peace and social justice in the U.S.

This article is from the July-August 2003 issue of Draft NOtices,newsletter of the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft, www.comdsd.org.

2004 Conference

National Counter-recruitment Movement Enters New Stage

— Rick Jahnkow

Over 100 activists were present in Philadelphia the weekend of June 25-27 to officially christen the new National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY). Born from a proposal made at the "Stopping War Where It Begins" counter-recruitment conference held a year earlier in Philadelphia, NNOMY is an effort to bring together the growing number of organizations and activists who are working against the militarization of young people in communities across the country. Participating in this first NNOMY conference were people from California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawai'i, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

Most of the conference participants represented organizations that have officially become network members or are considering doing so. Approximately 30 local, regional and national groups have joined so far, some of which are: Veterans for Peace, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Youth Activists/Youth Allies (NY City), Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Pax Christi USA, CHOICES (D.C.), Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities (San Diego), American Friends Service Committee, Madison Area Peace Coalition, Teen Peace in Port Townsend (WA), Los Angeles Coalition Opposed to Militarism in Our Schools, Not in Our Name, Resource Center for Non-violence in Santa Cruz (CA), and Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft. Additional memberships are pending from various other organizations.

To promote more effective networking and organizing, caucuses were formed at the conference around issue and identity themes, such as women in the military, Latinos, draft-related issues, rural organizing, people of color, youth of color and LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Questioning). To broaden representation in decision-making, caucuses were invited to apply for membership status that is equal to regular organizations, and some were included in a NNOMY steering committee. Ten organizations and six caucuses were unanimously approved for the steering committee, which will make between-meeting decisions that are subject to review by the larger body of voting network members. Also adopted was a proposal from the youth caucus to have at least two steering committee members younger than 25, and to pursue the goal of majority representation by both youth and people of color.

NNOMY will continue to grow and develop plans, but an immediate course was set at the conference to pursue two goals: facilitating further development of organizing and educational resources, and promoting regional training of counter-recruitment organizers. For the near future, conference participants volunteered to collaborate on some specific resource development projects, and regional caucuses met to discuss what they could do to carry out networking and training in their geographical areas. Progress in these and other areas will depend on additional post-conference communication, so the contact information for participants will be incorporated into the Stopping War listserv that was established after the national conference held in 2003. Caucuses will have their own communications networks and will, hopefully, continue to work on the special issues that brought them together.

One important facet of NNOMY is its commitment to including and supporting the various communities that are especially affected by military recruiting and the violence of militarism, including people who are victims of the military's homophobia. And since the conference dates overlapped with gay pride celebrations nationally, special materials were given to conference attendees on issues relating to militarism and sexual identity. An exciting music/spoken word event was also organized and hosted by the Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia, one of the few Queer youth centers in the country.

The NNOMY conference itself was co-hosted in Philadelphia by the American Friends Service Committee and Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors. Conference planning and other tasks were shared by a number of groups that had served as an ad hoc steering committee, but the AFSC Youth and Militarism Program office provided the bulk of the on-site resources and logistical support, including the Friends Center where the conference was held.

It was especially appropriate that the founding meeting of this network occurred in a city where some of the most important revolutionary events occurred in U.S. history and within days of the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. While some of the decisions that went into the formation of the U.S. government over 200 years ago were tragically inconsistent with the ideals of liberty and justice for all, one thing that many of the country's founders got right was their perception that the growth and influence of a large military establishment would undermine civil society and progress toward democracy. Over the last 60 years, this lesson has been largely forgotten, and the traditional controls over the military that were once seen as necessary and even taken for granted have greatly eroded. In addition to the considerable influence that the Pentagon has over government decisions (including economic ones), our most important institutions of socialization, the public schools, are being overrun by people in uniform teaching military values, and popular culture is being saturated with messages that popularize soldiering and war. We are rapidly approaching a point where the long-term effects of militarization will be extremely difficult to reverse. A massive effort is needed to turn the trend around, and NNOMY is a crucial step in that direction.

The conference in Philadelphia was a time of sharing, discussing, strategizing and planning that left us at the end with an important opening to build a movement that speaks to the needs of constituencies that have traditionally not been reached very well by the U.S. peace movement. And because it focuses on interrupting the flow of human resources and challenging the mechanisms of propaganda that are needed to wage war, it is an effort that also offers people an effective way to move from war protest to war resistance, while at the same time working for long-term social transformation.

For more information, contact NNOMY c/o AFSC Youth and Militarism Program, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102; 215-241-7176; http://nnomy.org .

This article is from Draft NOtices, the newsletter of the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (www.comdsd.org )

National Counter-Recruitment and Demilitarization Conference Documents

National Counter-Recruitment and Demilitarization Conference Info back

Chicago, July 17-19, 2009

This page is the portal to information from the conference, including the conference packet and workshop documents.

Logistics Housing Transportation
Schedule
   

CONFERENCE DOCUMENTS:

• Conference packet items

The conference packet contents are available for download here.

• Workshops

A workshop list and presenter biographies can be downloaded here. 

Documents distributed by workshop presenters are being posted as they become available: Click here to download the documents.

Workshop Descriptions and Presenters

  

Workshop List 

Download the list of workshops with descriptions here (revised 7-14-09)

Presenter Biographies

Download the list of conference presenters with biographical information here (revised 7-13-09)

PLEASE NOTE: Workshop session times are in the conference schedule.

 

NCRD Workshop Presenters

For a list of all workshops and presenters with biographical information, click here.

IMPORTANT NOTES TO PRESENTERS:

  • HANDOUTS: If you are planning to hand out hard copy materials or show a video or Power Point, please email us electronic copies of your documents (PDF, Word-compatible or Power Point files) and/or links to the video you plan to use. We can post a limited number of these on the NNOMY site so people can access them if they were not able to attend your workshop. Email documents and/or links to Project YANO, including your name and the workshop title: projyano(at)aol.com. PLEASE send us ONLY materials that are used in your workshop--not other materials or links.

  •  PHOTOCOPYING: If you are not able to photocopy handouts for workshops ahead of time, there are commercial copy shops in the vacinity of Roosevelt University. Ask for directions at the conference check-in table.

  • EQUIPMENT: If you have special equipment needs for your workshop and have not already notified our host, Chicago AFSC, please do so immediately: 312-427-2533, DGramigna(at)afsc.org.

  • LAPTOPS: If you are planning to bring your own laptop to connect to in-room projectors (good idea), please let AFSC  know if it is a PC or Mac so the right connectors will be available.

NCRD Conference 2009 - Schedule

General Schedule for the Conference

Schedule

Here is the general schedule for the weekend of the conference.

UPDATED 7/10/09

Download this schedule in PDF format here.

 

FRIDAY, JULY 17
Location: AFSC, 637 S. Dearborn, 312-427-2533

Noon -> Check-in & Registration


5-7 Dinner

7-8:30 Opening Plenary: Education, Militarism and C-R
Where we've come from and where we're going...

A panel of perspectives with:
Pauline Lipman-Professor of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois and education activist, Chicago
Rick Jahnkow-Project YANO and COMD, San Diego
Tyler-Zabel- Conscientious Objector status from the Illinois National Guard, rural Donovan, Illinois
Denise Ferrusquia, graduated Kelly High School, Social Justice Club, family in Afghanistan, Chicago
David Morales- Education Not Arms Coalition, Project YANO, graduated from Mission Bay HS, San Diego
Moderated by: Arlene Inouye, educator, CAMS, Los Angeles


8:30-10 Social Gathering

Presenters: Youth from Ya-Ya & Other Youth Orgs
Topic: We will start out all together and then split into youth & adult activities.

SATURDAY, JULY 18
Location: Roosevelt University,
430 S Michigan


7:30-8:30 am Breakfast

8:30-9:15 am Welcome and orientation

9:30-11:00 Workshop Session A

11:15-12:45 Workshop Session B


12:45-2:15 Lunch in caucus meetings

2:30-4:00 Workshop Session C

4:15--5:45 Workshop Session D

6:00-6:30 Announcements and Check-in

Presenters: TBD

6:30 Dinner (Not Provided)

Also, 7pm National Poetry Slam Finals

Location: Off conference site

SUNDAY, JULY 19th
Location: Roosevelt

8-9 Breakfast

9-10:30 Future Organizing/Planning

Presenters: TBA
Topic: Brief explanation of NNOMY and Sunday conference goals. Summary of ideas that came from the Sat. workshops and caucuses; primary needs and recommendations that should be addressed.

10:45-12 Break-out Groups to Discuss Next Steps

Topic: Small groups meet around specific ideas identified in previous session; begin planning follow-up activities.

12-1 :30 Conference Wrap-up Combined with Lunch

Presenters: TBD
Topic: Report-backs of any plans, new projects, next steps.

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