[My main political work in recent years has been in building resistance to the unjust and unjustifiable U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In that work it was my privilege to reconnect with an old 'rade, Charlie Richardson and his wife, Nancy Lessin, who helped co-found Military Families Speak Out. I worked with them on the Bring Them Home Now! campaign of veterans and military families, which also proved an incubator for the formation of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Charley and Nancy's consistency, their empathy for other families with loved ones in harm's way or sacrificed by an uncaring government, their strategic sense--call it their wisdom--in building the struggle have made a huge contribution to the anti-war movement.
Now, with that movement in a difficult rebuilding period, Charley Richardsons's long battle with cancer is going poorly. That is the context in which Military Families Speak Out sent out this letter, which I hope all FotM readers will check out.]
Dear Supporters of Military Families Speak Out,
When Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) began in November, 2002, co-founders Charley Richardson and Nancy Lessin's son was being deployed to Iraq. They shared with other military families a deep fear and worry about those who would be in harm's way for no good reason. They also share your deep commitment to bringing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to an end.
With their leadership, vision, and hard work, combined with the support and involvement of a growing number of military families, MFSO grew to a powerful organization of more than 4,000 members, speaking out to end the wars in Iraq and now Afghanistan. It is the largest organization of military families speaking out against wars in the history of the country. MFSO helped to change the definition of what it meant to "support the troops," as MFSO's mantra "Support Our Troops - Bring Them Home NOW!" caught on across the country.
MFSO co-founders Charley Richardson and Nancy Lessin now face a very personal struggle.
Charley has been battling an advanced, aggressive cancer and the prognosis is poor.
After working tirelessly to amplify the voices of military families in the larger movement to end the wars, this tragic personal situation is curtailing their continued leadership in the organization. Their need to pull back, combined with the economic recession, has put Military Families Speak Out in financial jeopardy.
In Charley's honor, MFSO is establishing the Charley Richardson Legacy Fund. And we need your help to make it a success.
We have a donor who has committed to matching contributions dollar for dollar, up to $15,000.
This Fund will celebrate the work that he and Nancy have contributed to MFSO and will provide the core support for MFSO to continue building a movement to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Please visit our special website,
There is also an opportunity on this web site to submit a tribute to Charley and Nancy and to MFSO in general. We, Charley and Nancy, are asking those who know and support the work of Military Families Speak Out to help solidify this vital organization that we have helped to build. The love and support of so many of you has kept us going, even as Charley's battle with cancer has intensified.
We are now asking that you help keep Military Families Speak Out going. As we step back, we ask that you step up.
Many friends have asked us how they can help Charley and our family. This is how you can help. Your contributions to MFSO, and your words of support, will help build a legacy for Charley, and allow Military Families Speak Out to continue to be a leader in the movement to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
and Nancy Lessin
Military Families Speak Out
The voice of military families opposing these wars makes a difference. Support Military Families Speak Out and build a legacy to honor Charley.
Please give as generously as you can. Thank you so very much.
In Peace and Solidarity,
Jack Amoureux, whose brother served with the Marines in Iraq
Adele Kubein, whose daughter was permanently disabled in Iraq serving Oregon National Guard
Larry Syverson,with three active duty sons, one currently serving in Afghanistan
On Behalf of the Board of Directors, Military Families Speak Out
Military Families Speak Out
P.O. Box 300459
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
December 16, 2009
posted by Jimmy Higgins