"Grounds For Resistance" Portland Premier
In November 2008, a group of U.S. Veterans opened Coffee Strong, a coffee shop located outside the gates of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. Inspired by the Vietnam-era G.I. coffee house movement, Coffee Strong provides a safe space where service members, military families, and Veterans can drink coffee and discuss issues, such as their experiences of war, deployment concerns, the hardships of life in the military, and veteran benefits.
At the center of the film are the men and women whose experiences in the military and war compel them to commit themselves to help others who are serving or have served in the past. The film examines each one's stories from their decisions to join the military, their experiences of war, and their motivations for devoting themselves to Coffee Strong. It explores how their relationships with one another and their activists efforts to make a more peaceful and just world help them cope with their own experiences.
The Oregon Chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is proud to be a part of the Portland premier of the film "Grounds For Resistance", a documentary by Lisa Gilman about Coffee Strong.
Coffee Strong is a café outside of the largest military base in the Northwest. It's a place where Soldiers, Airmen, veterans, and family at Joint Base Lewis-McChord can come together over coffee to discuss issues, share their experiences, concerns about deployments, and seek help with their hardships in the military. Coffee Strong is owned and operated by veterans who proudly display the message "Pro-GI, Anti-War". The documentary "Grounds For Resistance" explores the inspiration of the veterans who work day-to-day at Coffee Strong.
This fifty minute documentary shows the importance of Coffee Strong for its most active members, active duty soldiers and their families, veterans of recent and past conflicts, and regional and national political movements. At the center of the film are the men and women whose experiences in the military and war compel them to commit themselves to help others who are serving or have served in the past. Each individual featured in the film exists within a nuanced tangle of conflicting emotions tied to pride, dedication to service, friendship, anger, disillusionment, sadness, and guilt. The film examines each one's stories from their decisions to join the military, their experiences of war, and their motivations for devoting themselves to Coffee Strong. It explores how their relationships with one another and their activist efforts to make a more peaceful and just world help them cope with their own experiences.
Coffee Strong provides services to the area that the military is incapable of providing, thus making it a uniquely necessary place for people connected to the military. Members of Coffee Strong, along with professional volunteers, provide G.I. rights counseling, confidential mental health treatment, and confidential counseling related to sexual assault, discrimination and medical or legal problems service people and families face. At the café, coffee is free with an enlisted ID, the internet is free, there is a large library of political and historical books, weekly movie nights, and live music regularly. This combines to create an atmosphere that is welcoming to soldiers but also confrontational to institutional problems within military.
The filmmaker, Lisa Gilman is also the director of the University of Oregon Folklore Program.
The film will be showing once at the Clinton Street Theater (2522 Southeast Clinton Street, Portland) on July 21st at 6pm. Following the showing of the film, the filmmaker Lisa Gilman and members of Coffee Strong will answer questions about the film. The cost of regular admission is $6, $5 for students, with no one turned away due to lack of funds.
For more information, please visit: GroundsForResistance.com, CoffeeStrong.org, or IVAW-Oregon.us
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