Vigil for Vanessa Guillen

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Friday, July 24, from 5-6pm, we joined together to take part in a conversation on healing and justice for Vanessa Guillen. Vanessa was murdered this year while she was a soldier at Ft. Hood, Texas. She had previously told her family that she had been sexually harassed and assaulted by her commanding sergeant. 

Truth in Recruitment is saddened by the treatment and death of Vanessa Guillen and angry at how the chain of command at Ft. Hood mishandled her disappearance and the requests of her family for information. The Lak’ech club and Truth in Recruitment are sponsors of this event. Monisha Rios, TIR advisory board member and Army veteran, was a speaker. 

Draft Women? Hell No!

A bill introduced to Congress proposes expanding the Selective Service System (SSS), mandatory registration for military conscription (the draft), to women. Supporters of the bill claim that it is a step toward equality, but we believe that the best way to promote gender equality and fairness is to free men from military conscription and end draft registration once and for all. There have been many periods in the past in which there has been no required registration. Extending coercive measures to new groups is not an expression of expanding liberty. Truth in Recruitment has been a part of a growing coalition of peace activists, experienced draft  resisters, antiwar feminists, and draft-age youth, working to oppose this bill.

Please listen to their testimonies on this one-hour webinar, hosted by CodePink, on the history, strategies, and current efforts to resist the draft.

May 15th was International Conscientious Objector Day (ICOD), a time to honor and raise awareness of those who refuse to participate in armed conflict. Kate Connell, director of Truth in Recruitment, was a panelist on an ICOD webinar detailing the current legislation proposals that will either eliminate the Selective Service System or expand it to include women.

Please watch this webinar, sponsored by the Peace Resource Center in San Diego, to learn more information on the Congressional debate.

Take action!

  • Click here to quickly email your Representative and your two Senators to urge them to co-sponsor H.R. 5492, the bill to eliminate the SSS, preserve the ability to be a conscientious objector and remove past penalties on non-registrants.
  • Talk with draft age persons and their families. Most young people are not aware that Congress is considering whether to expand the draft to women. Tell someone.

Truth in Recruitment calls for the Abolition of the Selective Service System

Military Draft Expanded to Women?

Ended by President Gerald Ford in 1975, President Jimmy Carter again made registration with the Selective Service System (SSS) for military draft/conscription mandatory for males/people identified male at birth, ages 18-25. On March 25, 2020, the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (NCMNPS) recommended that Congress expand SSS registration to women. 

Two bills have been introduced to Congress: H.R. 5492, calls for the elimination of the SSS and of past penalties to young men who did not register, and a second bill, HR 6415, would force young women to register for a military draft, as well as further expand military recruitment and the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp (JROTC). 

TIR does not believe that mandating women to register for a military draft supports equality for women. We believe that the best way to promote gender equality and fairness is to free men from military conscription and end draft registration for all. 

We plan to host advocacy trainings this year for young people and their allies so that they can tell our elected officials how they want to be of service, but not be coerced into that service.

A bipartisan bill, H.R. 5492, calls for elimination of the SSS, to move beyond forcing young people into military. The main sponsor of the bill, Rep. Peter DeFazio, released this statement on the NCMNPS’s recommendation to expand draft registration to women. He says in part:

“No young person, regardless of gender, should be subject to a military draft or be forced to register for a draft in the United States. The military draft registration system is an unnecessary, wasteful bureaucracy which unconstitutionally violates Americans’ civil liberties and unfairly subjects individuals who fail to register for the draft to unnecessarily severe, lifelong penalties – penalties which disproportionately affect low-income Americans. Adding women to the draft will only double the amount of Americans who are subjected to this arcane practice.”


Summit on Youth and the Military

On October 12 in the Santa Maria Public Library, I was the emcee for Truth in Recruitment’s Summit on Youth and the Military. We had different panelists talking about the Selective Service System, their experiences in the US Army, as well as members of the Unified U.S. Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana. We started off by having an equity walk led by Santa Maria High School (SMHS) student Jenny. While she was doing the activity, I noticed how students and adults saw more military recruiters than seeing different colleges in high schools. This made me realize that nothing has CHANGED since adults went to high school! Recruiters are mainly recruiting students that are low income because students are scared, they can’t go to college because of money.  I go to SMHS and we are mainly low income and the lowest school cohort that has passed the A-G requirement than Pioneer Valley (PVHS) and Ernest Righetti High Schools. Military recruiters inform us about the “good” in the military.

Cover of the Summit’s Program Guide
The Summit’s Program Guide

Monisha Rios talked about what her experience of Military Sexual Trauma in the US Army. We all heard what she saw while she was there. She was talking about what can truly happen to kids and women in the US Army. Monisha impacted a lot of parents and students because they realized what she lived through and saw, that she’s not the only one! Edward Hasbrouck talked about the Selective Service System (SSS), mandatory conscription for military. He talked about students registering for the SSS when they apply for Federal Student college financial aid via the FAFSA without knowing it and that even undocumented men are required to register. Edward provided a frequently asked question sheet, for the first time available in both English and Spanish. Zander, a PVHS alumnus, talked about how their experience with the military in high school. Zander informed us that they were surprised when they saw military recruiters at their college San Francisco State.

Thank you to TIR staff, volunteers and cosponsors!

The Summit helped me understand the importance of youth having a voice and to not be afraid to speak up about the problems we see in the community. This event impacted me by showing me that there are more alternatives for youth than going to the military. The speakers told us what really happens in the military. I would like the community to support youth and families by speaking up, going to board meetings, and school/parent meetings like Cafecitos. Truth in Recruitment works to inform the community on what is happening around the schools. We need youth to not be scared to speak up, go to marches, meetings and events.

Alicia, SMHS student, Emcee at the Summit on Youth and the Military

This event was cosponsored by Future Leaders of America, Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, Importa, House of Pride and Equality, US Unified Deported Veterans Support House, SB CAN, the McCune Foundation, the Fund for Santa Barbara and the Veterans for Peace Santa Barbara Chapter.

Selective Service System Registration Comes Under Fire Again

Testimony before the National Commission on National, Military and Public Service, April 24, 2019
Callum testimony
Callum giving public comment before the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service. He and his sister Arianna, were the only draft-age youth to testify before the commission.

“Despite the all-volunteer military, men in the U.S. still have to register for the draft when they turn 18. But the fairness of the system, and its very existence, are again being questioned.” David Welna, National Public Radio, Washington DC.

On April 24 and 25, 2019, a group of witnesses testified in favor of ending draft registration included Ari Standish and Callum Standish from Berkeley Friends Meeting; Kate Connell from Truth in Recruitment and the Santa Barbara Friends Meeting; Paul Jacob (one of the 20 nonregistrants who were prosecuted in the 1980s before the Justice Department realized that show trials of activists were encouraging more resistance), Center on Conscience and War Executive Director Maria Santelli, Counseling Director Bill Galvin, and staff attorney Iman Hassan; Chris Kearns-McCoy of Friends Committee on National Legislation; Kindra Bradley, Executive Director of Quaker House; and others including men who have not registered when they were supposed to do so. The Thursday morning panel, which included Diane Randall of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) and Edward Hasbrouck, who was imprisoned for refusing to register for the draft, was the first time in almost forty years that draft resisters or conscientious objectors have been invited to tell Congress or a Federal commission, in public, what we think should be done about draft registration. More testimony in support of ending draft registration rather than trying to expand it to women was offered during the public comment periods following questioning of each of the panels of invited witnesses during the two days of hearings this week.

Edward Hasbrouck Testimony undefined

“This was the first time that members of the NCMNPS had been confronted, face to face, by young people who they would have to prosecute if they tried to enforce the current draft registration requirement or expand it to young women as well as young men. The report of the NCMNPS, including a yes-or-no recommendation on whether draft registration should be continued (and if so, a separate yes-or-no recommendation on whether it should be extended to young women as well as young men) is due in March 2020. Congress will probably take up the issue in 2021, after the 2020 elections and after the government has exhausted its appeals of the court ruling that the current registration requirement for men is unconstitutional.

Although it wasn’t made public until after the hearings, the NCMNPS 
received a letter earlier in April 2019 from Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), who was one of the sponsors of a bill introduced in 2016 to repeal authority 
for draft registration. “I strongly urge members of this Commission to 
recommend disbanding the SSS altogether,” Rep. DeFazio wrote. The only 
other official submission to the NCMNPS from a member of Congress 
disclosed to date is from Re. Gwen Moore (D-WI), the sponsor of a bill 
introduced in 2017 to require the Selective Service System to allow 
registrants to indicate, at the time of registration, their intent to seek 
classification as conscientious objectors if and when they are ordered to 
report for induction into the military.

Most of this blog originates from a report by Edward Hasbrouck.

Here are links to full coverage of both days: April 24, 2019 and April 25, 2019

The Second Annual Social Justice Education Conference

Keynote Speaker Ricardo Valencia, Santa Maria High School teacher, on the value of an Ethnic Studies curriculum in public schools.

Last Saturday, May 4th, the Central Coast Coalition for Undocumented Student Success hosted the 2nd Annual Social Justice Education Conference at Santa Maria High School. Truth in Recruitment was honored to be part of such an inspiring program. The Conference featured over a dozen organizations which lead public workshops on the necessity of education that focuses on social justice and equity. Truth in Recruitment facilitated a workshop that illustrated the roles race, gender, sexuality, income and education play into military recruitment. While it was great spreading our message to new people, the true power behind the Conference came from the personal connections we made with like-minded members of our community.

Angelica, parent of students at Ernest Righetti High School, giving testimony about her child being targeted by recruiters at a ERHS career day.

We met Jaime Cuello, a fourth grade instructor who had always dreamed of being the ‘fun teacher’ at school. Not only has Jaime met this goal, becoming a teacher that his students adore and respect, but he has exceeded his general duties as an educator. Jaime has made social justice a key component of his classroom, going beyond the required curriculum to teach his students about ethnic histories, social inequality and activism. Jaime’s students gain this knowledge with pride, sharing what they have learned with their fellow students and families.

Interns Doug, UCSB senior and Angel, Pioneer Valley High School alum, faciltate TIR workshop.

The Conference closed with a quote from Assata Shakur that reads, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” Dr. Denise Isom lead the group as we repeated the phrase, coming together in solidarity for our various causes. The strength of community building was clear. Truth in Recruitment left the Conference with new allies and knowledge to continue our efforts back home.

¡Reunión comunitaria 28 de enero!

¡Únase con Truth in Recruitment en el Condado Norte de Santa Barbara el lunes 28 de enero para nuestra primera reunión comunitaria de 2019! Ofreceremos cena, así como la oportunidad de aprender más sobre nuestro trabajo en el norte del condado y sobre cómo podemos continuar apoyando a nuestros jóvenes que se enfrentan a una presión constante para alistarse en las fuerzas armadas con la presencia de reclutadores militares en sus escuelas secundarias.

Si usted es un padre, un estudiante o un miembro de la comunidad, todos son bienvenidos a escuchar las experiencias de los padres y los estudiantes, e identificar los próximos pasos para la organización y sus partidarios.
Información logística:
Donde: 120 E. Jones St., Santa Maria
Hora: 5:30 a 7 pm

¡Esperamos verte ahí!

Zulema Aleman, Coordinadora del Norte del Condado

North County Community Meeting on 1/28!

Join Truth in Recruitment in North County on Monday, January 28th for our first community meeting of 2019! We will be providing dinner, as well as an opportunity to learn more about our work in North County and how we can continue to support our youth who face constant pressure to enlist by the presence of military recruiters on their high school campuses.

Whether you are a parent, student, or a concerned community members, all are welcome to hear the experiences of parents and students, and identify next steps for the organization and its supporters.

Logistical information:
Where: 120 E. Jones St., Santa Maria
Time: 5:30 to 7 PM

We hope to see you there!

Zulema Aleman, North County Coordinator


Selective Service Registration

The cover of a booklet published in 1951 by a couple of Army veterans on how to survive after being drafted.


The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service is
continuing to work toward recommendations to Congress and the President on
whether draft registration should be ended, extended to women, modified to
include people with skills in special demand by the military (health care,
foreign languages, tech, etc.), and/or replaced with a compulsory national
service scheme with both military and civilian components. More information can be found on Edward Hasbrouck’s website. 

Draft registration ceased entirely from 1975 to 1980, and the Selective Service System was cut back to “deep standby” status with only minimal headquarters staff and no local draft boards. But since 1980, all cis men, and anyone assigned male at birth, US citizens and most cis men and anyone assigned male at birth US residents, have been required to register with the Selective Service System within 30 days of their 18th birthday, and notify the Selective Service System each time they change their residence until their 26th birthday. Draft registration is one of the ways that all cis men and anyone assigned male at birth (and possibly soon cis women and anyone assigned female at birth as well) have to interact with the military and think about their relationship to military “service”.

The Federal government requires that all cis men and anyone assigned male at birth residing in the United States register with the Selective Service System (SSS) during a 60 day period that begins 30 days before their 18th birthday. Although it is not technically conscription, the military draft, it is a list of people who could be called up if the draft were reinstated.

Some people may feel conscientiously opposed to cooperating with draft registration. If you are a conscientious objector whose conscience allows you to register you should go to the post office and fill out the registration card. Write somewhere on the face of the card, between the lines or above your signature, “I’m opposed to participation in war in any form because of my ethical, moral, or religious beliefs,” or words to that effect. You should make a photocopy of the card before surrendering it to the postal clerk. This cannot be done if you register electronically on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, only if you register by mail with a paper/hard copy.

Here is an article arguing that Why Mandatory National Service is Both Unjust and Unconstitutional by Ilya Somin.

Transgender women are required to register. This link takes you to a Selective Service System page that describes all of those required to register.

More information on SSS registration and Conscientious Objection is available from the Center on Conscience & War, 202-483-2220 | 1830 Connecticut Ave. NW | Washington, DC 20009 |

National Counter Recruitment Strategy Summit in Chicago, June 23-24, 2018.


As an intern for Truth in Recruitment in Santa Maria, I had the opportunity to attend the National Counter Recruitment Strategy Summit in Chicago with our coordinator, Kate Connell. The summit consisted of learning the history of the counter recruitment movement along with developing goals and strategies that can be implemented by counter recruitment activists. I had the opportunity to work alongside several counter recruitment activists at the summit in breakout sessions. I was not only able to learn a lot from each and every one of them, but was also able to contribute by sharing my own experiences and giving my perspective as part of the youth.


Taking a part in attending the summit allowed me to have more knowledge on the counter recruitment movement itself and has overall helped me to become more prepared. The goals and tactics that were developed will help face the challenges that may come in the community of Santa Maria. Truth in Recruitment has and will continue to strive to create an impact to the community by working with students, parents, and teachers to make a change happen.

–Selina Perez, Santa Maria High School student and intern.