No War With Syria! — Rally at ODU

On Sept. 8th 2013 the Old Dominion University chapter of Young Americans for Liberty hosted a rally on campus against any military strike on Syria. The rally had been pre-planned for another location, but after being contacted by organizers we decided to have our chapter host it on ODU’s campus and try to bring in as many students as we could in the few days we had.  

After finalizing the plans, we created a Facebook event that quickly grew to having over 8,000 invitations and almost 300 people RSVPing.  We created fliers that we then posted all around the University as well as contacting local news organizations.  

the stage

When the day came for the rally, we had some issues with paperwork and security which were quickly taken care of. There were many organizations represented at the rally from both ends of the political spectrum including the Tidewater Libertarians, the local Tea Party, various Republican groups, Moveon.org, and End the Violence.  

We had tried to invite Congressman Rigel and Congressman Scott, but unfortunately they could not come. Instead we had veterans speak as well as other activists and speakers, including:

  • Jared Hendrix, a political activist and operative. He’s worked for five years as a grassroots lobbyist ad has worked on political campaigns in three different states, from the local level up to the presidential level. He is an elected member of the Republican Party of VA State Central Committee and also served as Congressman Ron Paul’s State Director in North Dakota for his 2012 presidential campaign.
  • Xavian Draper, who works on the Joint Staff as an officer of the U.S. Air Force Reserves and received an award of valor from combat operations in Iraq. He is a member of the Libertarian Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee as the chair of the 1st Congressional District. He holds a master’s degree from Louisiana State University and is a graduate of the Air Force War College.
  • Reid Greenmun, a past Chairman of the Tidewater Libertarian Party, a member of the Hampton Roads TEA Party and Virginia Beach Taxpayer’s Alliance. Reid is a 12-year Naval veteran. For 30 years he has been employed as a defense contractor in support of the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. His is a Subject Matter Expert on military command and control systems, and has supported Special Operations Forces with the design of their Mission Planning Systems. Today he is working to help modernize all of the business systems used by all Naval Shipyards across the world. Reid’s daughter is a student at ODU.
  • Joe Cook, the Council Organizer for MoveOn.org Hampton Roads. Politically, he identifies himself as a Democratic Socialist and he has been involved as a community activist on numerous progressive, liberal and environmental causes.
  • Dean Longo, a decorated USAF veteran who flew highly classified airborne reconnaissance missions to support US national security policy. He’s worked directly with the White House, CIA, and State Department to help develop policies protecting the US and its allies. After Dean left the Service, he became an entrepreneur and started a consulting firm. He was twice elected Chairman of the Newport News Human Rights Commission and is extremely involved in a number of different civic and charitable organizations in the area. Dean was the Republican nominee for VA’s 3rd Congressional district in 2012.
  • Matthew Cheatham, a senior at Regent University, organized the grassroots headquarters in Norfolk for Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign, and has spent the last three years working with adults with special needs.
  • Robert, the Chairman of the Tidewater Libertarian Party, Former United States Marine and from a family of five Marines, A former elected Virginia Beach City Councilman. He’s been a member or officer in over 30 different community organizations and has received over 20 different awards and recognitions for his civic involvement.
  • Lance Irons, the current Pesident of YAL at ODU. After asking everyone to contact their congressman and Senators. The chapter members passed out fliers with the names and numbers of the Hampton Roads current congressman and also Virginia’s Senators.

group photo

All in all we had a turnout of about 100 people. Although the turnout was less than what we had hoped, WAVY TV 10 did a story on the rally which was posted on their website and also covered on a TV broadcast as well as their main Facebook page, potentially reaching hundreds of thousands of people. Also, there was advertising for the event on the Hampton Roads Beat Website.

This was a great event and we were able to get contacts and have four students contact us about wanting to get involved!

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