A Mother’s Voice vs War –

East Coast Tour of Carolyn Ho, mother of Lt. Ehren Watada, first commissioned officer to refuse to serve in Iraq


15 talks in 14 days, December ’06, at universities, youth and religious groups, community centers, peace networks;
2 trips to Capitol Hill; media interviews with the Washington Post, Air America, Democracy Now, WBAI radio; Bridges TV in Buffalo NY – these are among the highlights of the tour of Carolyn Ho from Washington DC to NY.  The tour was organized jointly by the Global Women's Strike, Women of Color in the GWS and Payday Men’s Network.  The tour raised over $3000 for the Watada campaign.

* * * * * * * * *

Al Zappala, Celeste Zappala, Carolyn Ho, Gloria Pacis, Margaret Prescod, Phoebe Jones, & Eric Gjertsen at Dec 2 Int’l Day of Action in support of refuseniks in Phila.

The tour provided a platform for this mother who, like so many mothers, aunts and sisters, have campaigned tirelessly behind the scenes for war refusers but whose voices are not heard.  Ms Ho was joined at two events by Gloria Pacis, mother of Stephen Funk who spent five months in military prison for refusing to deploy to Iraq.  At each event, Ms Ho introduced a video of Ehren addressing an Aug 06 Vets for Peace conference to rave reviews from the audience.  Phoebe Jones of GWS introduced her, Eric Gjertsen of Payday provided a context, and Margaret Prescod of WOC in the GWS gave an inspiring sum up and pitch for action.

Here she meets with Danny Glover who, true to his word,
worked to get support from Rep. Kucinich.

Cindy Sheehan and Carolyn Ho appearing together at Dec 10 World Can’t Wait event at Fordham Univ Law School in NYC.

New York Events included talks at New York University, UN Church Center, Fordham University Law School, and Queens College

New York University


Asian NYU students organized and packed this powerful Dec 7 event which resulted in several Chinese newspaper articles and TV coverage. Sponsored by Kappa Phi Lambda. 

Audience and supporters at Dec 8 Church Center for the UN.  This and other NY events were organized by Gloria and Wayne Lum of United for Watada.

Gloria Lum (front left in Watada t shirt) and Wayne
   (far left with hat), and others who worked on the NY and Philly events.

Co-sponsors of the Church Center for the UN event included World Can’t Wait, Code Pink, Citizen Soldier, Granny Peace Brigade, NYCLAW, Not in Our Name, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Peace Action of NY State, Veterans for Peace, and Women’s Intl League for Peace and Freedom.

Carolyn Ho speaking by teleconference to a crowd at the Univ of Buffalo after her plane was cancelled due to bad weather - not in Buffalo but in Philly! Techies Mary in Philly and Jim in Buffalo worked hard and fast
to arrange for the teleconferencing and showing of Ehren’s speech to take place. Kathy Chandler of Buffalo Forum organized the event with support from Bridges TV, Buffalo/WNY International Action Center, John Curr (of WNY ACLU), Pax Christi, WNY Peace Center, UB Anti-War Action.

PA & NJ events – from younger audiences to older, Carolyn and Ehren wow them

Young Asian students, pictured at left and below, at the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia.


Other events in Philadelphia included Temple University, Haverford College, and Robins Bookstore.


Left: Michael Berg, father of Nick Berg, killed in Iraq in 2003, who recently ran an anti-war campaign for Congress in DE at the Dec 2 event in Phila.
Right: with Eric Gjertsen of Payday at Millersville Univ.

Lancaster PA: Carolyn spoke at Millersville University sponsored by Building a Culture of Peace; Franklin and Marshall College sponsored by the Women’s Center, Amnesty Int’l, and the Center for Liberal Arts and Society; & Akron Mennonite Church co-sponsored by Every Church a Peace Church

Above: Margaret Prescod and Carolyn Ho
Left: Franklin & Marshall students

Right: at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton NJ organized by Coalition for Peace Action.  The audience rose in a standing ovation after the video of Ehren speaking.   A Peace Action panel in Montclair NJ featured Carolyn Ho and former US Army Staff Sergeant Sam Provance who spoke about the abuses he witnessed at Abu Ghraib, among others.

Washington DC  
On Capitol Hill with a Washington Post reporter who spent the day covering Ms. Ho’s work on the Hill, accompanied by Watada supporter Sam Weinstein (left) of the Utility Workers Union of America.

Ms. Ho in the Canon House Office Building strategizing about their next appointment with Phoebe Jones of the GWS and Trevor Fitzgibbons of Fenton Communications. The team, including Margaret Prescod not pictured, met with representatives of the Out of Iraq, Progressive, Black and Asian Caucuses seeking support for Ehren, including the possibility of a Sign On or Dear Colleague letter.  Stay tuned for results. 

Dec 7 PRESS RELEASE: Mother of Army Officer refusing Iraq deployment goes to Congress


On the day that the Iraq Study Group released a report describing the situation as “grave and deteriorating”, Carolyn Ho, the mother Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned Army officer to face court martial for refusing to deploy to Iraq, met with members of Congress to gather support for her son.


In a case that has drawn national and international media attention, Lt. Watada, 28, of Hawai’i, failed to report for duty on June 22 as the company he commands was deployed to Iraq, carrying out his stated intention to refuse to lead his troops in what he says is an illegal and immoral war. He faces court martial in February on charges of missing movement and conduct unbecoming an officer, which could result in a prison sentence of up to six years. Carolyn Ho will be meeting with members of the Armed Services Committee, the Congressional Black Caucus and other US Representatives, as well as with members of the religious community in Washington.


A high school guidance counselor in Hawai’i, Carolyn Ho has campaigned tirelessly behind the scenes to build support for her son’s cause. “As a mother, I have evolved from fearing for his safety and for his future to the realization that there is a higher purpose to all that has transpired,” she says. “What Ehren is doing will galvanize the anti-war movement.”


With Pentagon estimates of 8,000 soldiers AWOL since the start of the Iraq war, and increasing questions about the legality of the war, Lt. Watada’s principled stand is bound to be a test case for the growing movement against the war among military personnel. “Appeal for Redress”, a campaign to withdraw from Iraq initiated by US Navy Seaman Jonathan Hutto, has been signed by over 1000 active-duty soldiers (www.appealforredress.org). The recent election is universally seen as a resounding rejection of the Iraq war by the American public.

For more info and action items, please contact:           

Family and Friends of Lt. Watada  www.thankyoult.org  and www.ltwatada.org  
P.O.Box 9727  Seattle, WA 98109-0727  Phone: 877-689-4162 (messages only)
Global Women's Strike and Payday: 215-848-1120, philly@crossroadswomen.netPO Box 11795, Philadelphia PA 19101  websites: GWS www.globalwomenstrike.net   Payday www.refusingtokill.net