National Committee

WRL’s work is directed by its highest decision-making body, the National Committee (NC). The NC meets twice a year and has a New York-based Administrative Coordinating Committee that meets more frequently.

Jerica ArentsJerica Arents
Jerica Arents teaches in the Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies program at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Her ongoing interests center on racism and it’s connection to state violence, both here in the U.S. and abroad. She has worked in solidarity with the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul, as well as survivors of torture in Chicago. Jerica also serves as an organizer with Witness Against Torture, a campaign to close the prison at Guantánamo and end U.S.-sponsored torture worldwide. She facilitates anti-oppression workshops and nonviolent direct action trainings.

Ellen BarfieldEllen Barfield
Ellen Barfield has been a full-time peace and justice activist for nearly thirty years. In addition to being on the board of the War Resisters League, Ellen is the coordinator of the Veterans for Peace Baltimore Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter, and works on national committees of VFP, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and School of the Americas Watch. She served in the U.S. Army from 1977-1981.

 

Mavis BelisleMavis Belisle
Mavis has been involved with War Resisters League since the 1970s, including previous terms on the National Committee.  
She was a board member of the Dallas Peace Center, director of the Peace Farm outside the Pantex nuclear weapons plant near Amarillo for more than 16 years, and has led civil disobedience activities in several places in Texas, including opposition to the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant.  Mavis serves on the board of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, and the Dallas Peace and Justice Center, where she is active on the human rights at home committee, which includes a focus on the militarization of police. Mavis lives in Dallas.
 

 

Rick BickhartRick Bickhart
Radicalized during the early 70s, discovered WRL in 1982 and have never left. Started out as a dairy farmer but for the last 35 years have made a living as a graphic designer and art director, prefer to be hiking in the mountains rather than in front of this damn computer where I am too often, father of two beautiful daughters, lucky partner to my very best friend, war tax resister and anarchist because I have to be, volunteer at local homeless shelters and food banks, jazz gives me comfort, can’t wait to put in the garden, love a good mystery or a good political essay, don’t bother with TV but can’t wait to see the next good movie, and hope to someday to have a fraction of the courage of Ralph DiGia. WRL is my political home and home to many very fine friends.

Matthew DaloisioMatthew Daloisio
After graduating Loyola College in Maryland, Matthew Daloisio worked with AIDS advocacy organizations in Boston, MA and then lived at Haley House, the Catholic Worker in Boston. He currently works with the GI Rights hotline, the War Resisters League, and the Kairos Community in NYC and is an associate editor of The Catholic Worker newspaper. Matthew and his wife Amanda live in New York's East Village.

 

Robindra DebRobindra Deb
Robindra is a member of South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI), which challenges the spread of Islamophobia and right wing militant nationalism in India, where the government has tried to tie its Islamophobic and militarist policies to the global “war on terror.” Robindra has been active in other struggles as well, including fighting to end the sanctions in Iraq, fighting to close the School of Americas and challenging US imperialism in Latin America, organizing against police brutality, and organizing against the war in Afghanistan. He has worked in solidarity with organizations such as the Greensboro Anti-War coalition, Copwatch Greensboro, and School of Americas Watch. Robindra lives in Brooklyn.
 

J Wade HannonJ Wade Hannon
J. Wade Hannon, a Citizen of the Cherokee Nation, was born in Parsons, Kansas. He grew up in Edna, Kansas in a working class, mixed-blood family (Cherokee, Irish, Dutch, German and English). Wade has been a counselor, tenured college professor, union organizer, adult educator, mediator, poet and painter. He has published a book of poetry and written many articles, book chapters, and academic papers. He has been involved in a variety of community, professional, political and labor organizations and has held a wide variety of offices. He was the Co-Founder and Spokesperson of the Red River Anti-War Coalition in Fargo, ND. As a member of the Chicago WRL he was the representative to the group that carried out the protest against NATO and G8. At the age of 15 Wade became a pacifist. He has been committed to nonviolence since then. His goals in life are to help usher in a rational, peaceful and egalitarian world were all beings are valued and respected. Wade is currently an artist and poet who lives and works in Tahlequah, OK.
 

Sarms JabraSarma Jabra
Sarms is a refugee of the Gulf War, a talented organizer and strategist currently working as a project manager for the City of Detroit. As a Challenge Detroit Fellow, he serves as a consultant to social organizations in the city. Sarms is a member of a National Lawyers Guild, a member of the Iraqi Transnational Collective, which recently raised hundreds of dollars to support The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq.

 

Skanda KadirgamarSkanda Kadirgamar
Skanda started at War Resisters League as a Freeman Intern in 2012. He has been an active participant in WRL's work ever since and volunteers with the organizing task force. Skanda is also a member the South Asia Solidarity Initiative, where he helps cultivate transnational relationships with activists working against militarization, its effects and the influence of right wing political movements. These experiences have helped him become an aspiring political writer. He is currently involved in starting a magazine covering politics in South Asia and its many diaspora communities.
 

Noura KhouriNoura Khouri
My name is Noura Khouri. I am Palestinian, diaspora from the Bay Area and have worked for the past decade as a human rights activist, campaign strategist and community organizer. I lived in Cairo, Egypt from April 2011 until January 2013, where I went to witness and be in solidarity with the Egyptian revolution. Prior to my time in Egypt, I co-led the Middle East Peace Program, for the American Friends Service Committee for 3 1/2 years and have led many field campaigns including in Las Vegas for Peace Action West during the run up to the 2008 Presidential elections - to call for an end to the war in Iraq and an end to nuclear weapons. Prior to that I worked for refugee and human rights organizations in occupied Palestine from 2005-2007 and again in 2003, when I did nonviolent direct action against the occupation, with the International Solidarity Movement.

Susan KingslandSusan Kingsland
Susan has worked for many years in a range of international peace movements, including the Central America solidarity movement and movements in solidarity with the Palestinian people.  She was part of the group which produced and advocated around the "We Will Not Be Silent" tshirts, written in English, Arabic and Hebrew. She has worked in a number of housing advocacy organizations and is currently Director of HR and Operations at Brooklyn's Fifth Avenue Committees. Susan is a member of WRL's Personnel Committee and is our representative to War Resisters International.
 

Ramah KudaimiRamah Kudaimi
Ramah is the Director of Grassroots Organizing at the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, where she works on BDS campaigns in support of the global struggle for freedom, justice, and equality. Ramah serves on the board of the Washington Peace Center and is a member of the Muslim American Women's Policy Forum. She has been active with other community organizing and antiwar groups including the Arab American Action Network and CODEPINK: Women for Peace and has worked on projects to fight back against Islamophobia. Ramah comes to the War Resisters League with a strong commitment to resist war and to make the necessary links between racism and militarism at home with destructive wars abroad. Ramahs's work to help found the Syrian Solidarity Collective highlighted for her the importance for antiwar movements to be clearly and principally against all oppressive regimes and structures and the essential need to follow the leadership of impacted communities in order to truly achieve collective liberation.

Frieda McAlearFrieda McAlear
Frieda comes to WRL excited because of its long history of working at the intersections between fascism, repression, war, and acknowledging everyday forms of social control - sexism, racism, classism, among many others. Long before the “War on Drugs,” or the militarization of the U.S. police, her mother mom and other members of her tribe [Inupiaq] worked tirelessly for sovereignty from the U.S. Government and its extractive economy. Inspired by her mother’s resistance, Frieda became involved in nonviolent direct action at the age of 19 while working in the national headquarters for Greenpeace. I learned more about local anti-war organizing soon after by participating in a small coalition mobilizing against JROTC programs in Piscataway territories (the D.C. area). Frieda has been active in many other social justice movements in other countries, from anti-austerity organizing and climate campaign work in England, to most recently mobilizing members of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Bay Area to canvass against militarized first responders trainings with the Stop Urban Shield Coalition.   She has also worked in solidarity with the Ohlone on their sovereignty struggles in recent years in their homelands of the East Bay Area.  Frieda's professional work as a researcher in racial equity in STEM education provides her with a perspective on how militarized police and the tech sector work in concert to erode the privacy and safety of communities of African descent while surveilling racial justice movements such as the Movement for Black Lives.
 

Camilo MejíaCamilo Mejía
Camilo Mejía has been active in the U.S. social justice and antiwar movements for many years. Born in Managua in 1975 to Sandinista parents, Camilo grew up in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the United States, where he joined the military at age 19. In 2003 Camilo was deployed to Iraq, where he served as an infantry squad leader and participated in and witnessed events that violated international law. This led him to publicly refuse to return to his unit in Iraq after a two week furlough in the U.S. In May of 2003 he was found guilty of desertion and sentenced to 12 months of incarceration at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Amnesty International adopted him as a prisoner of conscience and launched an international campaign for his release. Upon his release from prison, in February of 2005, Camilo became an active member of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War. In 2007 his Iraq war memoir, Road From ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejía, was published by The New Press. Camilo has been involved in a wide variety of social justice campaigns and movements, including antiwar and immigrant rights movements. He writes Op-Eds and political analysis articles about Veterans Affairs, Moral Injury and PTSD, U.S. intervention in Latin America, and other issues. He resides in Miami, Florida with his teenage daughter Samantha.

John M. MillerJohn M. Miller
John M. Miller is a co-founder and National Coordinator of the East Timor Action Network where he coordinates ETAN's New York chapter and directs ETAN's Foreign Bases Project. He is author of numerous articles and pamphlets, and editor and/or publisher for several newsletters and magazines. He served as staff for a Parliamentarians for East Timor observer mission to the 1999 referendum in East Timor and has made numerous visits to East Timor. John has appeared on CNN, CNBC, BBC, Canadian Broadcasting, Pacifica's Democracy Now! and a numerous local radio programs.

Sixte Vigny NimurabaSixte Vigny Nimuraba
Sixte Vigny Nimuraba is currently the convener of WRL’s International Task Force. He has been a peace activist for many years, starting his journey in Burundi after the civil war which started in 1993, taking away thousands of Burundian people. He resisted taking part in the conflict and refused to take up any weapon even if other youth were massively involved in violence. After he completed his undergraduate studies, he held many positions in the oldest Burundian human rights organization,  Ligue Burundaise des droits de l’Homme, “Iteka”.  He was respectively a regional coordinator of the Monitoring of Returnees Project in the Northern provinces and Southern provinces of Burundi. From this human rights work, he got interested in peacebuilding and conflict resolution and decided to start his graduate studies at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.  In addition to being a WRL member, he is a member of the Peace and Justice Studies Association, the International Peace Research Association, the American Education Research Association.  He is also a former Shinnyo Fellow (Shinnyo-en Foundation), where his   project, “Building Inter cultural Bridges at GMU”, brought together international and American GMU students through dialogue. In 2013, He received the John Burton Award for   excellence in academics as well as an emphasis on understanding the role of human needs in promoting conflict .Currently he is the Genocide Prevention Program Assistant in the same school and is working closely with the Burundian civil society and other organizations to prevent violence before, during and after the 2015 elections.

Nathan SheardNathan Sheard
Growing up in New York, Nathan “Nash” Sheard spent much of his formative years in both Long Island's "Gold Coast" and the Crown Heights Section of Brooklyn. As a member of Mutant Legal activist collective and founding member of Just Info (a 24-hour hotline providing no-cost legal information in New York City), Nash has worked effectively to help activist and communities mitigate the damage of harmful interaction with police and other state agents. Having viewed the results of aggressive and militarized policing in the US, and in developing nations with police agencies funded with US Dollars, Nathan has signed on with CODEPINK to passionately support advocacy for the demilitarization of the police and an end to the Department of Defense's 1033 program. Nash currently works with the Black Movement - Law Project, which supports liberation by helping build the legal infrastructure necessary to protect emerging local movements. BMLP’s work includes legal observation and traditional know your rights trainings, as well as emergency infrastructure such as jail support mechanisms and a network of national human and civil rights lawyers that assist local communities in urgent legal needs and long-term impact litigation.

Debbie SouthornDebbie Southorn
Since 2010, Debbie has been involved in numerous Chicago-based efforts to challenge racist state violence, with organizations such as Black & Pink, We Charge Genocide, and the Chicago Childcare Collective. Debbie's roles in these efforts have included videography, grassroots fundraising, and volunteer coordination, among others. As a staff organizer with the American Friends Service Committee in Chicago, Debbie has collaborated with WRL staff on several projects, including forming a book club around Ali Issa's Against All Odds, and helping to build resistance to the Illinois Tactical Officer's Association annual conference. Debbie looks is especially excited to be part of the work WRL has committed to - the hard, messy work of re-orienting priorities as an anti-war organization and investing in the leadership of young people, people of color and queer people.

Steve ThébergeSteve Théberge
Steve Théberge is a potter from western Massachusetts. Following a degree in Anthropology and years as an activist in New York City, he spent 2008-2013 training in Zen Buddhist monasteries in the United States and Japan. He currently maintains a pottery studio in Northampton, Massachusetts. From 2004-2009 he worked in the national office of the WRL, serving as Youth and Counter Recruitment National Organizer (2004 - 2007) and as Organizing Coordinator (2007 - 2009). In his time on staff his work was focused on developing and coordinating a national counter-recruitment program, developing strong relationships with allied organizations and projects, and leading workshops and trainings around the country. He was on staff during a period of organizational transformation and was very involved in the restructuring process that followed. Steve sees WRL as his political home - "both in the sense that it is where I came of age as an organizer, and that it is the organization that that fully embodies my vision of the world that we want to live in." He looks forward to supporting on-the-ground organizing campaigns - specifically the work to end police militarization - and also supporting the health and sustainability of the organization as a whole.

Kamau WaltonKamau Walton
Over 6 years as a member of the Critical Resistance (CR) Oakland Chapter, Kamau sharpened their organizing skills as a part of successful campaigns to fight gang injunctions, end solitary confinement in California, and stop the construction of a new jail. In 2014 Kamau was the local organizer with the Stop Urban Shield Coalition which successfully pushed the seminars and vendor show out of Oakland. Through that work they learned even more about how militarization had permeated policing under the guise of "public safety". In 2014 they were also a founding member of the Black Lives Matter Bay Area Chapter. Kamau is now an at-large member of CR based in Atlanta, focusing on infrastructural support and cultivating relationships with organizations in the South doing abolitionist work. They have also joined Southerners on New Ground and the BLM Atlanta chapter (both of which are somewhat intertwined). I'd be excited to join the WRL National Committee not only to support WRL's long standing work to dismantle the roots of the American War Machine, but also to make that work more accessible to the communities I'm committed to serving.