Former U.S. Army Col. and now Peace Activist
ANN WRIGHT to speak May 5 in Richmond
The Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality will host a talk by noted peace activist Ann Wright on Saturday, May 5, 7 pm, at the William Byrd Community House, 224 So. Cherry St., Richmond, Va.
Ann Wright is a former U.S. Army colonel who publicly resigned from the military over her opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She has since become an internationally known anti-war activist and speaker. She is the co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience; Government Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq,” which includes a forward by Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame.
Ms. Wright will speak on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and the human and economic cost of U.S. wars and occupations on our communities here at home. Her presentation will be preceded by reports on community efforts to support Ashley Williams, a young Richmonder wrongfully convicted in connection with the tragic death of her two-year-old son; Richmond's celebration of International Workers Day (May Day); and recent events in the West African country of Mali.
The meeting is free and open to the public. Children are welcome. Donations to help cover costs are appreciated.
The Richmond event is part of a four-city tour by Ann Wright. Other stops will be in Charlottesville on May 3, Roanoke on May 4 and Hampton Roads on May 6. For more information, call the Defenders at 804-644-5834, e-mail DefendersFJE@hotmail.com or log onto www.DefendersFJE.org or www.DefendersFJE.blogspot.com.
Ann Wright, a former U.S. Army colonel and decorated State Department official, is now a leading anti-war activist, author and outspoken opponent of U.S. wars and occupations.
In 1987, Col. Wright joined the Foreign Service and served as a Deputy Ambassador in Micronesia, Mongolia and in Sierra Leone, where she received the State Department’s Award for Heroism for her actions during the evacuation of 2,500 people during Sierra Leone's civil war. In December 2001, she helped reopen the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan. Her other overseas assignments included Somalia, Kyrgyzstan, Grenada and Nicaragua.
While on assignment in Sierra Leone, she assisted in bringing a Gullah family from South Carolina to Sierra Leone to their African village in a trip documented in the film “The Language You Cry In.” She also helped with the homecoming to Sierra Leone of a family of direct descendants of a young girl taken from Sierra Leone in 1756 into slavery and whose family was located 250 years later in Charleston, South Carolina.
On March 19, 2003, the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Col. Wright cabled Secretary of State Colin Powell to inform him that she was resigning from the military and the State Department because of her opposition to the impending invasion and occupation.
Since then, she has been writing and speaking out for peace with a courageous eloquence that has earned her the respect of the entire anti-war movement. She has picketed at the notorious U.S. prison at Guantánamo, Cuba; served as a juror in community-based impeachment hearings of former President George W. Bush; traveled to Iran as part of a delegation of peace activists; and has been arrested numerous times for peaceful, nonviolent protest of U.S. policies, particularly the war on Iraq. She has travelled several times to Gaza in Palestine and was an organizer for the Gaza Freedom March that brought 1,350 people from 44 countries to Egypt in solidarity with the people of Gaza. She was on the May 2010 peace flotilla to Gaza that was attacked by the Israeli military, resulting in the deaths of nine international peace activists. And she was an organizer for the Audacity of Hope, the U.S. peace boat in the 2011 Gaza flotilla.
Ann Wright grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas, receiving a master’s and law degree from the University of Arkansas. She also has a master’s degree in national security affairs from the U.S. Naval War College. She spent 13 years in the U.S. Army and 16 more in the Army Reserves, retiring with the rank of colonel. She now lives in Honolulu.
Founded in 2002, the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality is an all-volunteer community organization based in Richmond, Va. Among other activities, we publish The Virginia Defender, a statewide quarterly newspaper with a press run of 16,000; produce DefendersLIVE!, a news and commentary radio program heard Mondays from noon to 12:30 pm on WRIR community radio, 97.3 FM and online at www.wrir.org; and sponsor the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project. The Defenders are affiliated with the United National Antiwar Coalition. See www.DefendersFJE.org and www.DefendersFJE.blogspot.com.