April 30, 2009

Oregonians: Benji is touring the state to share what he knows with soldiers, veterans and community members

Iraq Veteran: 
"We Can Say No"
Photo by Jim Lommasson
A Linn-Benton Community College Student will speak about his Military service in Iraq and why he refused involuntary activation after being “honorably discharged.”

Benji Lewis, a Marine Corp veteran, who served two tours, including the first siege in Fallujah,
will speak in the College Center board rooms (CC103) on Thursday April 30 from noon to 1 p.m. as part of his statewide “We Can Say No” speaking tour.

“The Nature of my resistance was a conscious decision to no longer participate in the makings of empire, to help raise consciousness of service members as well as question the legitimacy of the largest military force in human history,” said Lewis.

Lewis looks forward to his discussion here at LBCC and feels that this is an important conversation to have with his fellow community college students because of the need to address the “realities and the questions of what we, as a society, are asking our generation to do for our interests.”

Doug Clark, LBCC Peace Studies director and Political Science professor, feels that this will be a useful experience for students and community members who attend.

“We have a special opportunity here to listen in on and interact with a conversation that is taking place across the country, a conversation about the consequences of people enlisting and serving in the military,” Clark said.

According to a press release from Amanda Shank of the Rural Organizing Project, a co-sponsor of the statewide speaking tour, Lewis will discuss “The Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) system that allows for involuntary reactivation, GI rights, and resistance in general.”

After the event here at LBCC, Lewis will move on to speak in Ashland, Medford, Grant’s Pass, McMinnville, Tillamook, Portland, and Corvallis.

The event at LBCC is being sponsored by Veterans for Peace Chapter 132 and LBCC Peace Studies. For more information e-mail LBCC Peace Studies: Doug.Clark @ linn-benton.edu.
- thanks to Ryan Henson -The Commuter

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