For Immediate Release: December 20th, 2004
Contact:  Medea Benjamin (415) 235-6517
Jodie Evans (310) 621-5635

Military Family Members who've lost their sons in Iraq deliver humanitarian aid to Fallujah refugees

San Francisco, CA – A delegation of military family members whose sons died while fighting in the Iraq war will travel to Jordan from December 27, 2004 to January 4, 2005 to deliver $600,000 worth of humanitarian supplies for refugees from the U.S. attack on Falluja. The November attack, which virtually leveled the city and left some 2,000 Iraqis and 71 U.S. soldiers dead, also created thousands of refugees, who are living without adequate food, water, electricity and healthcare. Most of these refugees are children.

“This delegation is a way for me to express my sympathy and support for the Iraqi people. The Iraq war took away my son's life, and it's taken away the lives of so many innocent Iraqis. It's time to stop the killing and to help the children of Iraq,” said Rosa Suarez of Escondido, CA, whose son Jesus was a marine who died in Iraq on March 27, 2003.

In an Internet appeal, the military family members, in collaboration with U.S. peace groups, physicians' organizations, and September 11 families, quickly raised $100,000 in donations from Americans who are concerned about the impact of our government's policies on innocent Iraqi civilians. And humanitarian groups such as the Middle East Children's Alliance and Operation USA contributed $500,000 worth of medical supplies.

The delegates will leave from various airports in the United States and fly to Amman, Jordan on December 26. In Jordan, they will meet with humanitarian and healthcare workers to hand over the supplies. They will also meet with human rights groups and women's organizations based in both Iraq and Jordan. The delegation will hold a press conference on Thursday, December 30 at 10 AM at the Intercontinental Hotel in Amman, Jordan. They will travel to the Iraq/Jordan border for a peace vigil on New Year's Day, and return to the U.S. on January 4.

In addition to Rosa Suarez and her husband Fernando, the delegation members also include Amalia Avila, whose son, Lance Cpl. Victor Gonzalez, died in Iraq on October 13, 2004; Nadia McCaffrey, whose son, Army Spc. Patrick McCaffrey, died in Iraq on June 22, 2004; Adele Welty, whose son, New York City firefighter Tim Welty, died in The World Trade Center on September 11, 2001; Jeffrey Ritterman, MD, of Physicians for Social Responsibility; Jodie Evans, Co-founder of CODEPINK: Women for Peace; and Medea Benjamin, Co-founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK, among others.

 “The holiday season is a time when many people want to express the values of compassion, love and sharing for our fellow human beings. This humanitarian aid delegation is our show of compassion for the Iraqi people. At the same time, we will be showing our support for the US troops by calling on the US government to bring them home now,” said Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange and CODEPINK, the organizations that have organized the delegation.

The Delegate's Bios | More on the Families for Peace Delegation