Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Advocacy From The Ground Up: Military Spouses for Change

(Author's note: This is cross posted from
BFD Blog!, while it is an advocacy piece on behalf of our active duty military and veterans who have served all of us, it brings home some of the true costs of our unwarranted war in Iraq.)

Military Spouses for Change (MSC) was founded by Carissa Picard who, after finishing college and law school, starting a career in law, then beginning a marriage and raising children found her true calling, other than as a wife and mother, in her advocacy of active duty military personnel, veterans and their families. Her biography states, in part:

Carissa created Military Spouses for Change ("MSC") in May of 2007 when she realized that military spouses were a powerful but untapped resource for positive change (there are more than 700,000 active duty spouses alone). The past five years revealed that our governmental institutions were neither prepared nor capable of properly responding to the increasingly complex needs of our military and veteran families. While our service members cannot be advocates, our military spouses can. Consequently, MSC tries to show military spouses how acts of social and/or political awareness can improve their lives, protect their loved ones, and strengthen their country.

Picard has created a web site and organized a cadre of volunteers and they have stated that they currently are focusing on three major areas of advocacy:

Case Management: MSC acts as a conduit between service members, veterans, and/or families and organizations (both public and private) that may be able to help them in times of crisis or need. If we cannot find an organization that can meaningfully assist them or resolve the matter, we will intervene and advocate for them, ourselves.

Public Policy: MSC monitors Congressional and Executive policy-making and implementation. We collect information and data from official and unofficial sources in order to provide feedback to members of Congress as well as military officials regarding the efficacy of their policies. Further, we are developing and promoting policy changes that we believe would significantly improve the quality of life and quality of care for our service members, veterans, and families.

Education, Outreach, and Empowerment: MSC seeks to educate and empower the spouses of service members and veterans, believing they are an untapped resource for ensuring that the needs of our communities are appropriately identified and effectively met.

Picard and her cohorts have recognized, correctly in our opinion, that the military services and our government, left to their own devices, are not doing an adequate job of providing for the rehabilitation and welfare of those men and women who have volunteered their service to our country, nor to their families, which have all been impacted by their individual family members' military service.

MSC will be featured on the PBS program "NOW" this Friday evening, June 13 in a segment hosted by Maria Hinojosa. "NOW" will be addressing the question: "Is the military wrongfully discharging soldiers in order to deny them benefits?" The fact is, in our opinion at BFD Blog!, that the military has been railroading war casualties out of the service, and thrown them on to the street without adequate care or rehabilitation as we have previously blogged about: "The Shafting Of Our Career Soldiers: Continues Unabated". It is also abundantly clear to us that absent any interest from the Executive branch of our government or adequate concern by the Legislative branch of our government, that it falls to the American people, to as we have demonstrated for time immemorial, step up and lend our own helping hands to our neighbors in need.

Please check your local TV listings for the exact time that the PBS "NOW" program will be broadcast in your area on Friday, and pass the information about it to family, friends and colleagues. Please also pay a visit to the MSC web site and learn what some of your fellow Americans, members of families that are making the ultimate sacrifice for our country, are doing to help themselves and others.

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