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Vancouver Reeling with Success of C.O. & the Draft Workshop

30 teens shared pizza and peace while learning paperwork against war
Today's Conscientious Objector and the Draft workshop was a reeling success! About 30 teens and numerous adults shared pizza and refreshments while they learned some pointers on filing as a coscientious objector. Kay Ellison of Vancouver for Peace led the 2-hour session. Cindy Fisher did initial "ice-breaker" games and John G. of the War Resisters' League in Portland explained some requirements.

The difference between being a pacifist and a conscientious objector was explained. A pacifist will not use violence, even to protect themself, while a C.O. is conscientious opposed to all war. Two identical forms were distributed, one for those from religious-based communities, and the other based purely on one's conscience. The form is to be submitted and mailed, along with a copy to oneself. It was recommended to mail it certified, signature receipt requested. One could also give an attorney their copy and/or put it in a safe box.

This documentation would help so a draft board couldn't say you were filing C.O. on the spur-of-the-moment. It was said we should work to make war obsolete. The teens were given lots of other information, including the "required" selective service registration for 18-yr. olds. It was suggested one write in they are filing as a C.O. on the registration form; however, a letter could be submitted later, if they didn't so note.

The youth group included both sexes. Girls are no longer the weaker sex or relegated to the kitchen, as in the Vietnam War. I was pleased with the turnout. If the draft is implemented, it was said the group will definitely meet again, and I will storm the streets! PEACE.

See www.vancouverforpeace.org
Teens at Conscientious Objectors Workshop highly informed 17.Apr.2005 21:15

Kay Ellison ellisonka@yahoo.com

Enthusiasm was high among the high schoolers at the Conscientious Objectors Workshop held April 17th, 2005. Leading this group was a joy since their questions anticipated what we wanted to cover about conscientious objection. What are the 3 statements a conscientious objector needs to make when filling out the forms?
1. Describe the beliefs which are the basis for your claim as a conscientious objector. If appropriate, state whether those beliefs would permit you to serve in a noncombatant position in the armed forces, or pay taxes for war.
2. Describe how your beliefs developed.
3. Describe how your beliefs affect the way you live and the type of work you do or plan to do.
I appreciated working with these young people and the adults who were there at the workshop. The people there were highly informed, and wanted to know more.

Examination of Conscience 18.Apr.2005 09:51

Peace & Justice nielsens@pacifier.com

Thank you Kay for the considerable efforts it has taken to enlightenment us again on this troubling and vital subject of officially standing up to make a clear statement of choice.
As early as June 2005 the Bush administration has a quietly kept plan to, 'take steps in Iran', on the pretext of stopping them from attaining nuclear proliferation.
The takes my memory back to 1965 when my high school friends and I were put in a similar position to make some potentially life altering choices.
Drafting a military force from America's youth, not even in the prime of their lives yet, watching friends leave never to return. Or those who did return carry, seen and unseen scars to this day and undoubtably to the day they die.
I hope our country has evolved to the point where we can support and encourage our young men and women to choose rather than be forced into military service. Yes, if a draft is impending not only are our male chilren but our female children, grandchildren, sisters vulnerable to be sacrificed for what?
Current attitudes which have extended age limits and length of service requirements, without recourse, makes the situation even more tenuous and potentially devastating. Again, I ask, for what?
Terrorism or 'Terror', being used in every media venue is simply not real enough information to be pressed or pressured into acts of 'patriotism'. Please examine your conscience and become informed of the truth,it is out there, our precious youth of this country are in jeopardy. For what?

You're Awesome! 18.Apr.2005 10:13

Lucy Parsons

Thanks for your work! I bet that there are lots of activists in the Portland area who would love to conduct similar workshops all over. Perhaps you'd consider holding a training for folks who are interested in doing that, covering not only the content of the workshop, but also a "how to" of connecting with schools, etc.

Publicity 18.Apr.2005 19:03


There are separate school districts here in SW Wash. I contacted both the Vancouver and Evergreen School districts, and another did the Camas district. Each has its own individual policy for flyer/posters in the school. Vancouver was the stricter of my two locations. I had to bring the flyer to a secretary at the Educational Service District, who, in turn, showed it to their legal adviser for approval. (It was.) Then I took the flyers to each individual high school in the districts, and in the Vancouver schools, I had to have the legal signature sheet with me when I brought the flyer.

In addition, there was some publicity in our churches and youth groups within. Of course, 3 newspapers were also given notice of the event.