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Veterans' Appeal to National Guard: "Stand with Ferguson Protesters, not the Police!"

Unjust state violence

To our brothers and sisters in the Missouri National Guard:

We are writing to you as active-duty U.S. service members and veterans, most of us having served in the Iraq war.

You have a choice you can make right now.

The whole world is watching the Ferguson police with disgust. They killed an unarmed, college-bound Black youth in broad daylight, and subsequently responded to peaceful, constitutionally-protected protests with extreme violence and repression.

Countless constitutional and human rights violations by these police have been documented over the course of the Ferguson protests; from attacking and threatening journalists, to using tear gas against peaceful protesters, including children.

Now, Governor Nixon has again activated the National Guard to “support law enforcement.” But you don't have to follow their orders—you can stand with the protesters instead.

Our true duty

When we signed up, we swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States.

The police in Ferguson are violating that Constitution.

The First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press.

These laws are, as we are taught our entire lives, our most cherished Constitutional rights—the whole basis for the “freedom” we are told makes us the greatest country on Earth.

It is undeniable that the Ferguson police has used extreme violence against peaceful protesters, suppressing the right of the people to free speech and the freedom to assemble. They have attacked crowds, with children in them, with rubber bullets, sound cannons and tear gas. People have been mass arrested for simply being at the protest.

Freedom of the press has also been severely infringed upon by Ferguson police. Journalists have been arrested; photo evidence shows riot police firing tear gas directly at reporters and tearing down their camera equipment; Ferguson police have been caught on video threatening journalists with violence if they don’t leave, and declaring that they are not allowed in the protest area.

With such important and dramatic events unfolding, the right of the people in the United States to have the truth covered by the press is essential to any so-called democratic society.

The people have the right to protest. If we were truly honoring our oath, we would be in Ferguson to protect the protesters against the repression of their rights by the police.

We don’t just have a legal obligation, but a moral one

Clearly, we would be within our legal rights to refuse to help the Ferguson police unconstitutionally suppress these protests. But beyond the constitutional case, we have a moral obligation to refuse to participate.

The Ferguson police are treating this like a war. And we know that not all wars are just.

These protests have done something very important in our society: they have raised the deep issues we face of inequality, poverty, racism and police misconduct onto a national stage. It has turned public consciousness to these real problems that plague our society.

Do you really want to be part of suppressing those civilians raising all these important issues on the national stage?

Racist police brutality is a real issue in America

The autopsy of Michael Brown confirms at least five eye-witness accounts that the young man—who was not even suspected by Darren Wilson of any crime—was shot while he had his hands in the air.

Those of us in the military—especially with combat experience—knows that this flies in the face of any Rules of Engagement, and we know that it is completely ridiculous to believe that Darren Wilson feared for his life in anyway whatsoever.

Increasingly, the issue of rampant police brutality in America—most frequently by white officers against people of color, with an African American killed every 28 hours by police—is garnering more and more attention on a national and international scale.

Outrage by the community against the state's refusal to hold Darren Wilson accountable is entirely justified; the movement, led by Black youth, is a just movement.  

History is unfolding, with the whole world watching. You have a decision to make on which side of history to be on.

You will make history, one way or the other

If you take part in the suppression of the protests for Michael Brown, we will be enshrined in history just as the National Guard soldiers who followed their orders to attack and repress civil rights actions, union pickets and anti-war protests. History has not looked kindly on them.

But you have the chance to make a different kind of history.

Imagine the powerful impact it would have if you abandoned your posts and marched with the protesters.

That single action could have the biggest possible effect on the crisis in Ferguson and the larger issues it represents in the entire country. It could be a major turning point in the fight against racism, inequality and police abuse.

You wouldn’t be alone. There is a whole community of service members, veterans and civilian supporters who would defend your right to do so. And now, in this critical moment, we are urging you to exercise that right.

Justice for Mike Brown! Arrest Darren Wilson!

This appeal is signed by....

...add your name to this open letter to the National Guard by emailing your name, branch and dates of service, and any deployments to info@marchforward.org

Post-911 veterans:

Kourtney Mitchell, US Army, 2011-present

Sara Beining, US Army, 2004-present (Iraq war veteran)

Kelsa Pellettiere, US Army, 2009-present

Anonymous Air Force Technical Sergeant, 2000-present (Afghanistan war veteran)

Jhassier Laurentes, US Navy, 2013-present

SSG Al Robinson III, US Army, 1999-present (Afghanistan war veteran)

Lisa Wnek, US Air Force, 2009 - 2014 (Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran)

Monique Salhab, US Army, 1997-2007 (Iraq war veteran)

Margaret Stevens, US Army, 1997-2004

Chantelle Bateman, US Marines Reserve, 2003-2009 (Iraq war veteran)

Mike Prysner, US Army, 2001-2005 (Iraq war veteran)

Sean McCrea, US Marines, 2005-2012 (Iraq war veteran)

William Felton, US Army, 2005-2012 (Iraq war veteran)

Kevin Benderman, US Army, 1987-1991 & 2000-2008 (Iraq war veteran)

Alynn McLellan, US Army, 2008-2012 (Iraq war veteran)

Danny Birmingham, US Army, 2009-2012 (Iraq war veteran)

Adam Fuentes, US Navy, 2007-2012   

Ryan Endicott, US Marines, 2004-2008 (Iraq war veteran)

William Griffin, US Army, 2004-2010 (Iraq war veteran)

Jason Cardenas, US Army, 2002-2007 (Iraq war veteran)

Hart Viges, US Army, 2001-2004 (Iraq war veteran)

Ross Caputi, US Marines, 2003-2006 (Iraq war veteran)

Camillo Mejia, US Army, 1995-2010 (Iraq war veteran)

James Circello, US Army, 2001-2008 (Iraq war veteran)

Jayel Aheram, US Marines, 2006-2010 (Iraq war veteran)

Miguel Colon, US Marines, 2001-2006 (Iraq war veteran)

Wendy Barranco, US Army, 2003-2006 (Iraq war veteran)

Michael Sullivan, US Army, 2005-2007 (Iraq war veteran)

Kristen Walston, US Navy, 1996-2003

Vincent Emanuele, US Marines, 2002-2006 (Iraq war veteran)

Jeremy Berggren, US Marines, 1998-2004

Ken Braley, US Army, 2002-2005

Jessie Ryan, US Army, 2000-2006 (Iraq war veteran)

Nick Kallio, US Army, 2007-2013 (Iraq war veteran)

Joe Soel, US Army, 2006-2014 (Iraq war veteran)

Jami King, US Army, 2004-2005

Richard Stroder, US Marines, 2004-2009 (Iraq war veteran)

Anonymous, US Army, 2005-2010 (Iraq war veteran)

Jonathan Engle, US Army, 2007-2013 (Iraq war veteran)

Amber Royster, US Navy, 2000-2006

Michael Downs, US Army, 1985-2009

Zollie Goodman, US Navy, 2002-2006 (Iraq war veteran)

Kasey Keck, US Army (Iraq war veteran)

Curtis Sirmans, US Army, 2006-2012 (Iraq war veteran)

Michael Nelson Hanes, US Marines, 1994-2004 (Iraq war veteran)  

Clifton Hicks, US Army, 2003-2005 (Iraq war veteran)

Aaron Myracle, US Army, 2002-2010 (Iraq war veteran)

Kelvin Rodeo, US Navy, 2007-2011

Danilo Deocampo, US Navy, 1997 - 2003

Nate Yielding, Virginia Army National Guard 2001-2007, Maryland Air Guard 2007-2011

Aaron Myracle, Washington Army National Guard, 2002-2010

Damien Boyd, US Army, 2001-2014

Victor Agosto, US Army, 2005-2009 (Iraq War Veteran)

Alec Stevens, US Air Force, 1999-2008

Jason Mizula, US Army &US Coast Guard, 2002-2008 (Iraq War veteran)

Daniel Fargason, US Army, 2005-2009 (Iraq war veteran)

David A Meyer, US Air Force, 1979 - 2001

Lara Gale, US Army & Air Force Reserve , 1999-2006

Andrew Dyer, US Navy, 2001-2012

Gloria A, Downey, US Air Force, 2002 - 2009 (Iraq war veteran)

German Martinez, US Marines, 2010-2014

James Poteet, US Army & National Guard, 1993-2001

Carmine Matlock, US Air Force, 2005-2010

Maggie Martin, US Army, 2002-2006 (Iraq War Veteran)

Robert Howell, Illinois Air National Guard, 1999 to 2011 (Iraq war veteran)

Ian LaVallee, US Army, 2005-2009 (Iraq war veteran)

Adam G. House, US Army, 2006-2010

Claire White, US Air Force, 2006-2012

Randall Mayhugh, US Army, 2003-2006

Jovanni Reyes, US Army, 1993-2005

Ramon Mejia, US Marines, 2001-2004 (Iraq war veteran)

Matt Stys, US Army & Penn. Army National Guard, 1990-1998, 2005-2009

Angela Hamnes, US Navy, 2001-2011

Joe Nunley, US Marines, 1997-2002

Justin Thompson, US Army, 2007-2010 (Iraq war veteran)

...add your name to this open letter to the National Guard by emailing your name, branch and dates of service, and any deployments to info@marchforward.org

Pre-911 veterans:

Daniel Craig, US Army (Gulf war veteran)

Gerry Werhan, US Marines, 1971-1994 (Gulf war veteran)

Curt Schaiberger, US Army, 1987-1991 (Gulf War veteran)

Michael T. McPhearson, U.S. Army 1981-1992 (Gulf War Veteran)

Forrest Schmidt, US Army, 1994-2000

John Fortier, US Air Force, 1952-1955 (Korean war veteran)

Bill Perry, US Army, 1967-1968 (Vietnam war veteran)

Matt Dubuc, US Army, 1994-1997 (Bosnia veteran)

Sanfod Kelson, US Army, 1963-1966

Alexis Fectaeu, US Airforce, 22 years

Benny Harris, US Navy, 1973-1993

Eric Meyer, US Navy, 1967-1971 (Vietnam war veteran)

Victoria Marx, US Navy, 1969-1976 (Vietnam war veteran)

Charles SHelton, US Coast Guard, 1969-1972

Annzala Pitt, US Army, 9 years

Leonard Vernon, US Army, 1964-1966

Tom Adams, US Army, 1971-1973

Paul Appell, US Army, 1968-1971 (Vietnam war veteran)

Derrick Wilson, US Army, 6 years

Danny McGregor, US Navy, 21 years

Douglas Ryder, US Navy, 1964-1967 (Vietnam war veteran)

Arlene Edwards, US Army Nurse Corps, 1966-1970 (Vietnam war veteran)

Tommy Griffin, US Army, 1976-1999

Gary Lail, US Navy, 1964-1968

Selena Vincin, US Army, 1995-1997

Danny Fry, US Army, 1970 (Vietnam war veteran)

Albert Sargis, US Marines, 1956-1962

Dave Logsdon, US Navy, 1966-1970

Ken Ashe, US Army, 1969-1971 (Vietnam war veteran)

Sven Pihl, US Navy, 1986-1990

William Holcomb, US Navy, 1946-1949

Daveed Williams, US Navy, 1987-1990

Nick Velvet, US Army, 1967-1969 (Vietnam war veteran)

Harold Donle, US Marines (Vietnam war veteran)

Paul Turner, US Air Force, 1981-1988

Jamie St. Clair, US Navy, 4 years

Allie Thorpe, US Navy, 4 years

Bill Graffam, US Navy (Korean war veteran)

Mike Madden, US Air Force, 1973-1979

Ron Arm, US Army, 1966-1971

Tarak Kauff, US Army, 1959-1962

Tom Palumbo, US Army, 1978-1993

Patrick McCann, US Air Force, 1970-1972

Mark Foreman, US Navy, 1966-1968 (Vietnam war veteran)

Gerry Condon, US Army, 1967-1975

Ron Arm, US Army, 1966-1971 (Vietnam war veteran)

Mike Budd, US Army, 1968-1971 (Vietnam war veteran)

Amos Sunshine, US Army, 1952-1955

Glenn Wright, US Air Force, 1962-1974

James Domenico, US Navy, 1973-1976

Janice Josephine Carney, U.S. Army 1969-1972 (Vietnam war veteran)

Russell Brown, US Marines, 1966-68

Priscilla J Leach, US Coast Guard Reserve, 1982-94

Ray Reese, US Marine Corps 1956-1962

Ray Albrecht, US Army, 1974 - 1977

Christopher G. Wales, USN, 1980-1986

Marlon Moore, US Navy, 1990-1999

James C. Branch, US Navy, 1985-1996

Thomas Easley, US Army, 1972-1974

Dennis Lambert, US Army, 1992-2000

Douglas A. Stuart, US Army, 1968-1970 (Vietnam war veteran)

Gary E. May, US Marines, 1967-1968 (Vietnam war veteran)

Emanuele Vorso, US Air Force (Retired)

William Miniutti USMC 1968-1970 (Vietnam war veteran)

James Reagan Marcroft-Clark, US Marines, 1996-2000

Maxwell Burgess, US Navy, 1979-1984

April Adams, US Army, 1990-2000

Tom Palumbo, US Army & Reserves, 1978-1992

Russell Bates, US Navy, 1967-1970

Tariq Khan, US Air Force, 1996-2000

Paul Appell, US Army, 1968-1971 (Vietnam war veteran)

Reese Forbes, US Army, 1968-1970

Vernon Haltom, US Air Force, 1986-1992

George Waldman, US Air Force, 1960-1969

Carolyn Rowan, US Air Force, 1976-1978

Steven M Cross, US Army, 1970 – 1972 (Vietnam war veteran)

Michael Mangini, US Army, 1979-1983

Deston Denniston US Army, 1988-1990

Nate Goldshlag, US Army 1970-1972

M. Lara Hoke, US Navy, 1990-1994

Colin Jenkins, US Army, 1994-1998

Bill Mattis, US Marines, 1969 - 1971

Adolph L. Biel II, US Navy, Vietman Era

Aubrey Deloney, US Navy, 1996-2000

Charles Dean Pleasant Jr., US Air Force, 1972-1976

Jeannie Ramsey, US Navy, 1974-1976

George R. Jenkins, US Army, 1965-1967 (Vietnam war veteran)

This was originally posted on marchforward.org. Add your name to this open letter to the National Guard by emailing your name, branch and dates of service to info@marchforward.org

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