Michael T. McPhearson is the executive director of Veterans For Peace, an international organization of military veterans and their associates based in Saint Louis, MO. He is a co-founder and former co-chair of the Don’t Shoot Coalition formed in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson MO. A native of Fayetteville North Carolina, Michael has been influenced by the military all his life. In 1981 Michael joined the Army Reserve as an enlisted soldier and attended basic training the summer between his junior and senior high school years. He is a graduate of Campbell University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. Michael was a field artillery officer in the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division during Desert Shield /Desert Storm, also known as Gulf War I. He separated from active duty in 1992 as a Captain. He has been an active member of the Greater Saint Louis Association of Black Journalist and the American Civil Liberties Union. He served on the Executive Committee of the St. Louis Branch of the NAACP and the Steering Committee of the Bring Them Home Now campaign.
Notable for the launching of Cindy Sheehan and Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas. After addressing the membership she asked for volunteers to accompany her to Crawford where she intended to ask President Bush about the “Noble Cause” her son died for in Iraq. A contingent of veterans went with her in the White Rose Impeachment bus and launched a legend.
The publicity from Camp Casey penetrated mainstream media nationwide. Riding that wave, three small RVs of VFP and MFSO members kicked off a 50-city tour, starting from northern, central and southern points along the Mississippi River headed for DC with demonstrations with stops along the way to extend the message: BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW. Shortly after embarking, however, Hurricane Katrina hit and a new chapter of VFP enterprise began.
The White Rose bus, driven by Pat Tate of chapter 116, carrying Cindy Sheehan, detoured south to the Louisiana town of Covington, where they set up a satellite communications station and immediately began organizing relief supplies sent from all across the country.
Later, in New York, Cindy Sheehan and others, with VFP support, made the public case for Bush’s failure to respond adequately to Katrina related to his failing occupation of Iraq.
Veterans For Peace helped returning U.S. veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars launch Iraq Veterans Against the Iraq War (IVAW). IVAW held their first official meeting at the 2005 VFP annual convention.
VFP holds major action outside recruiting center in Times Square, NY to expose the issue of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) which is an epidemic in the military but not treated as one. VFP is contributing to changing this through events like Military Rape Awareness Week, declared by the VFP board to be October 12-16, 2009. Members of VFP, Iraq Veterans against the War, Granny Peace Brigade, Codepink: Women for Peace, World Can’t Wait, Artists Response Team and We Will Not Be Silent, stood outside the recruiting center in Times Square NYC to warn women recruits about the alarming rates of sexual assault and rape of women in the military. Sandra Lee, a survivor of military rape and Eve Ensler, internationally known playwright both spoke to the crowd and led the march to the recruiting station
Worked with Iraq Veterans Against the War and Military Families Speak Out to resist U.S. intervention in Iraq and Syria: press conference, lobbying.
Veterans For Peace members delivered letter to Israeli ambassador to stop the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza.
Participated in the Zero Troops Left Behind Campaign with Peace Action and Military Families Speak Out calling for all troops to be brought home of Afghanistan. We highlighted that the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is incomplete and the war continues to rage on under a different name.
Launched the Veterans For Peace Advisory Board with prominent names and stellar activists. Veterans For Peace recently launched the Veterans Challenge Islamophobia campaign to confront the rising tide of anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate speech against all people. We are organizing veterans and events across the country to stand against hate. all veterans who agree that bigotry and religious intolerance must be challenged are welcome. Veterans do not have to join VFP or agree with VFP on other issues to participate. Veterans For Peace is organizing the campaign because Islamophobia here in the U.S. is a path for further demonization of Muslims in foreign lands as a prelude to call for U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq and Syria. This is a proactive effort to blunt the rise of hate and calls for more war.