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Three national speakers to discuss U.S. occupation in Iraq

Indiana University Northwest is one of the stops on the multi-city speaker tour Collateral Damage 2004: Political, Economic and Social Fallout from the War in Iraq. The program will present three perspectives of the continued United States occupation in Iraq on Thursday, April 8 from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. in the Savannah Auditorium.

Each speaker will discuss foreign policy issues and also address domestic issues, such as unemployment and poverty. According to the presenter, Great Lakes Chapter of Witness for Peace, the rationale for presenting a program linking the current war in Iraq to other foreign and domestic policy consists of three parts. Their primary role is to localize foreign policy, making it easier for the general public to understand how their lives are affected. Secondly, they want to address concerns about the billions of dollars given to Iraq. They feel these monies are being stripped from critical social and educational programs here and abroad, including Latin America. Finally, they hope to reach thousands of people in the Great Lakes region who may be unfamiliar with U.S. and corporate policy in Latin America.

The three speakers are:

• Blanca Velaquez Diaz – A representative and co-founder of CAT, the Support Center for Workers located in Atlixco, Puebla in central Mexico. She has been dedicated to improving the conditions of workers like herself. Her organizing efforts began in 1999 when she and other workers formed an independent union in the auto parts factory where they were employed.

• Damu Smith – A longtime community leader and nationally recognized human rights, peace, environmental health/justice and civil rights activist and organizer. He is currently director of the National Black Environmental Justice Network (NBEJN) and co-chair and founder of Black Voices for Peace. He is on the national steering committee of United for Peace and Justice. Smith is also a minister in training at Plymouth United Church of Christ Church in Washington, D.C. and a member of its board of Social Action. He is host and executive producer of the popular radio talk show "Spirit in Action" on WPFW FM in Washington, D.C.

• Dave Lippman – He is widely known on many coasts for his sharp send-ups of topical subjects ranging from "weapons of mass distraction" to "SUVs and the wars to defend them." He has toured widely in the U.S., Europe, Australia and Central America in a 35-year musical career. Lippman’s notoriety began in 1969 when he was named an unindicted co-conspirator for singing about the "Guatemala sweepstakes" at a rally that preceded the escorting of a recruiter from the United Fruit Company off the campus. After having a song recorded by Country Joe MacDonald, Lippman joined with a San Francisco comedy group to create the "Reagan for Shah Campaign," in which he introduced the permanent character George Shrub, singing CIA agent. In the 1980s, Lippman performed in war zones in Central America and toured from Birmingham Alabama to Birmingham England, then on to Belgrade. In Germany he sang for squatters and anti-nuclear activists.

This event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the IU Northwest Center for Cultural Discovery and Learning Diversity Programming Group, IU Northwest Latino Studies Program, Northwest Indiana for Social Justice and the Great Lakes Chapter of Witness for Peace. For more information, please call the IU Northwest Minority Studies Department at (219) 980-6629.

  
Published:

03-31-2004

Media Contact:

Kim Kintz
OMC
219-980-6802
kkintz@iun.edu
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