This event was sponsored by the Tappan Zee Brigade of Veterans For Peace (Chapter 60) and the Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice to raise money for a project by Iraq Veterans Against the War to go to New Orleans "to muck houses in the lower 9th," and was held at the Nyack Center, in Nyack, NY. The afternoon included a video of "Soldiers Speak Out" followed by a talk by Fernando Braga, IVAW, Chapter 2, NYC. The Program Organizers were VFPer’s Phil Greenspan, a U.S. Army veteran (World War II) and Jim Murphy, a US Air Force veteran, (Vietnam).
A large part of the program was devoted to poetry. The featured poet was Gerald McCarthy, VFP member who has been influential to the writing of other readers, such as Dayl Wise and Jim Murphy. Dayl said that Gerry's poem, "The Hooded Legion", about the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington, DC, got him writing poetry. Gerry read from "Shoetown", working class poems of Endicott, NY, as well as some newer work from a forthcoming collection & beyond. I had never read his work & enjoyed what I heard. When his new book comes out, scheduled for sometime next year, I will get him to Albany for a reading & book-signing.
Fernando Braga performed a hip-hop poem about Katrina & the assault on the working class. Other VFP readers included Sam Weinreb and Jim Murphy, both from chapter 60, Thomas Brinson, chapter 138, Jay Wenk and Dayl Wise, chapter 58. There was also an open mic sign-up for the community to share their poetry. A student from Purchase College played the stand-up bass, Alison Koffler read a poem by Adrienne Rich, among other. I was the MC but left the signup sheet behind, so apologies to those left out of this summary.
The last I heard they raised about $600 after expenses, a good job. Check out www.veteransforpeace.org & www.ivaw.org.