International Conscientious Objection Day 2022
Peace and justice community gathered at Berkeley City Hall on Monday, May 16th, 2022, for the 16th Annual Berkeley Conscientious Objectors’ and War Resisters’ Day sponsored by the City of Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission. This was the first in-person gathering since 2019, due to pandemic precautions. Hosted by Courage to Resist, in part to celebrate “International Conscientious Objectors” (May 15th).
Jeff Paterson and Michael Thurman, representing Courage to Resist, spoke of the need to support those that refuse to fight–from those that become objectors within the US military, as they had, to those resisting war in Russia and Ukraine today.
Veterans For Peace members Paul Cox and Steve Morse spoke to the issues of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the relationship between the military and our climate emergency.
Edward Hasbrouck addressed the significance of opposing and resisting all military conscription, and preparations for it. Specifically, the US federal law that requires all young men to register for a future military draft.
Maxina Ventura and Hali Hammer led the annual “Ain’t Fest” sing along, with “I Ain’t Marching Anymore,” “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around,” and “Down By the Riverside (Ain’t Gonna Study War No More)”.
Igor Tregub, a young Ukrainian man, shared his family’s story of recently leaving Kyiv ahead of the war, the suffering his family and friends are currently enduring back home, and his hope for an end to the foreign invasion and war against his nation.
Many speakers and attendees remembered Bob Meola, who had been the primary organizer of this event for the last 15 years. A dedicated Courage to Resist organizer, Bob died this past November. “Bob Meola, presente!” declared our gathering.
Peace Flag raising ceremony
Monday, May 16, 2022 at 11:30am
Corner of Milvia Street and Allston Way (2180 Milvia Street)
Berkeley, California. (Google Map location).
This will be our first in-person flag raising since 2019.
- War resister speak out
- Sing along
- Remembering Bob Meola
We are also gathering this year to remember our friend and comrade Bob Meola, who we lost last November.
Bob was the lead organizer for the Berkeley celebrations for the last 15 years. Last year, Bob shared the following:
Friends, below is the resolution passed by the Berkeley City Council, in 2007, designating May 15th, every year, as Berkeley Conscientious Objectors and War Resisters Day. Until COVID-19, we gathered together in song and solidarity and raised a peace flag on a City Flag pole in front of Berkeley City Hall, every year, to celebrate Conscientious Objectors and War Resisters. May we do that again, next year!
Soon, young people, both men and women, may be faced with having to resist war as well as a new draft and a draft registration that might for the first time ever, include women, depending on the future of the Selective Service System. Complying with the Selective Service System is complying with the war machine. Time to think about organizing for resistance. We will keep updated on Congressional action pertaining to these issues.
Meanwhile, here, below, is the wording of the resolution that designates this day.
Happy International Conscientious Objectors’ Day and Happy Berkeley CO and War Resisters’ Day!
In Peace and Resistance,
Bob Meola for War Resisters League-West and Courage to Resist