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To Give A Voice

Ian Cozzens

This image is from Celebrate People’s History/Iraq Veterans Against the War: Ten Years of Fighting for Peace and Justice, a portfolio that celebrated IVAW’s first ten years and was produced by Justseeds, IVAW, Booklyn, Repetitive Press, and the Civilian Soldier Alliance.

(IVAW is now known as About Face: Veterans Against the War)

Ian G. Cozzens is a queer and trans artist, and organizer living and working in Providence, RI. Ian works on silkscreen posters; drawings of buildings, letterforms, and occasionally people; connecting people; and putting together events in Providence’s queer community.

A multitude of hands are raised to protect, support, and amplify the voices of dissenting veterans and service members.The central figure stands apart, on the threshold of a brightly lit room—within the military, but looking in from the outside: unable to get on board with the totality of the armed forces’ mission and culture. The supporting hands emerge from a camouflage pattern forming the shadows in which the central figure stands—representing the military’s image and uniform as a propagandizing force, attempting to erase individuality—and, conversely, celebrates the strength of IVAW’s founders in stepping forward from their military experience to speak out against the wars and abusive military culture.

Text on the image states, “To give a voice to the active duty service members and veterans who are against the war but who are under various pressures not to speak up…” And: “In July of 2004, at the annual convention of Veterans for Peace in Boston, Massachusetts, Iraq Veterans Against the War was founded by Mike Hoffman, Kelly Dougherty, Alex Ryabov, Isaiah Pallos, Diana Morrison, Tim Goodrich, and Jimmy Massey.”

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