Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned 90 this year. As we mark his birthday on this holiday, we are reminded of his work, his words, his inspiration, and his legacy… and we wonder what work he may have gone on to do if he had lived. We are reminded of all of those in the civil rights and antiwar movements of Martin's lifetime, and of the people who came after to build on those struggles. We are reminded of those whose names and work and wisdom Martin knew, but who are less known to many of us.
As an organization that strives to target and dismantle war at its root causes, we believe in radically different ways of being than what our current world allows. We imagine a world where all people breathe clean air and drink clean water, where all people share what we grow and create, where all people live full, unencumbered lives. Where the land is returned and reparations are paid. When we recognize our reality and the current inheritance of future generations - poisonous wildfires, rising waters, the privatization of every resource we need to stay alive - we gain clarity on our greatest enemies.
This past summer, WRL National Committee member Debbie Southorn took a moment to collect stories about our past, present, and future. Give it a listen above and stay tuned for more awesome opportunities for future podcasts!
“We’re acknowledging the many ways militarization shows up in our lives and neighborhoods.”
by Eleanor J. Bader | October 24, 2018
What kind of world are we trying to build and whose leadership should we look to in these times? Read how WRL's been internally shifting after 95 years of antiwar movement building, and the directions we need to take into the future to create the world we need:
I graduated high school in the summer of 1966 in Central New York during the tail ends of the Civil Rights Movement and during the height of the U.S.-led wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. That summer, almost 400,000 men were drafted. Having lived and been raised in two orphanages and a foster home, I left New York and hitchhiked my way to California to attend the Institute for the Study of Nonviolence. I was barely out of my teens when I was first arrested at the Oakland Induction Center in 1967, the same year Dr. Martin Luther King gave his Beyond Vietnam speech. While in jail I was invited by a War Resisters League West staffer to a potluck - my very first introduction to WRL.
A year ago today, the deadliest U.S.-based natural disaster - Hurricane Maria - devastated the island of Puerto Rico, home to over 3 million people. The hurricane shattered an already unstable infrastructure, crumbling from almost two centuries of parasitic U.S. colonialism. 3,000 people died because of an explicit strategy to keep aid from reaching the island. Boricua activism and calls from all corners of the world for decolonization and self-determination have only increased since Maria. The solutions aren’t coming from the U.S., but where they’ve always come from: Boricuas.
My name is Tory Smith. I’m excited to introduce myself to you as WRL's new National Organizer, making the connections between peoples' liberation movements everywhere by building a movement that isn’t broken down along artificial borders.
My name is Yuni Chang. I’d like to introduce myself to you as WRL’s new Field Organizer. I’m excited to work with an anti-war organization whose vision is resonant and principled, whose practice of revolutionary nonviolence is necessary for a healthy and ever-growing global Left, and whose commitment to building with and learning from frontline communities is genuine.