VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 14, 2012) - On September 18, 2012 Rodney Watson will have spent three years living inside First United Church in Vancouver and never leaving the property.
Watson is a decorated US soldier who served in Iraq, was stop-lossed and came to Canada in 2006. Faced with a deportation order dated September 11, 2009, he requested sanctuary at First United Church rather than be separated from his Canadian wife and son. Watson maintains his position that no one should be punished for refusing to commit war crimes.
Rodney's Vancouver supporters will be joining him for a potluck event on Sunday, September 16. It will be held at First United Church, 320 E Hastings St. Vancouver at 6:00 p.m. PDT. They will show their solidarity with Rodney and discuss the current situation of war resisters in Canada, in particular the case of Kimberly Rivera and her family. [For details, visit: http://change.org/letkimstay]
Rodney Watson witnessed intense racism and religious persecution while serving in the US military in Iraq. As an African American, he understood what he experienced and determined that he could not participate in it any further. While at home on leave, he received further orders that would keep him in Iraq past the time of his contract. Coming to Canada, he met other US military personnel who made the same decision as him and chose to speak out about it.
Rodney's anchor during the last three years has been his son Jordon. Helping to raise him and watching him grow up is what keeps him focused on his principled position. He is looking at the world from the inside out and really wants to be free to fully live life with his family.
Rodney remains in sanctuary and in solidarity with Bradley Manning (imprisoned whistleblower) and Kimberly Rivera (US Iraq war resister in Toronto facing deportation on September 20). He strongly believes that such people of conscience should not spend one day behind bars or in detention for following their conscience.
The actions of the Harper government will cause the break-up of his and Kimberly's families.
He echoes Kimberly's words to Canadians: "Did you oppose the war on Iraq? So did I".