Veterans Community Media Center of San Francisco

Veterans Voices


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Mental Health/Homeless Summit

MH-Homeless-VetExpanding Partnerships & Resources To Improve The Lives Of Veterans & Their Family Members
Friday, August 29
New Federal Building, ground floor
90 Seventh Street, San Francisco
Contact: Dr. Jennifer Boyd 415 221-4810 x342,


VA Health CareBring together organizations that serve Veterans, to strengthen partnerships between the VA and the community.
Enhance access to Mental Health and Homeless services for Veterans and their families in San Francisco and northern San Mateo counties.

8:00 – 9:00 Registration and Resource Fair

9:00 – 9:45 Welcome and Charge for the Meeting

  • Eduardo “Eddie” Ramirez MPA, MSgt, USAF (Ret) Administrative Officer for Mental Health, San Francisco VA Medical Center | Past President, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Commission | President, Golden Gate Chapter120, Air Force Association | Commander, 8th District Council, American Legion | Past Commander, Cesar E. Chavez Post 505, American Legion | Founder of OneVet OneVoice Initiative | Founder of the San Francisco Veterans Town Hall Collaborative | Founder of the San Francisco Veterans Film Festival
  • Diana Nicoll MD Chief of Staff, San Francisco VA Medical Center
  • Deborah Dacumos, Col., USAF (Ret) Commissioner, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Commission
  • Sophia Vinogradov MD Associate Chief of Staff for Mental Health, San Francisco VA Medical Center
  • Joanne Peters, LCSW Chief, Social Work Service, San Francisco VA Medical Center

9:45-10:00 Veteran Success Story

  • David Fish US Army Veteran

10:00-10:45 Accessing Veteran and Family Resources

  • Eduardo “Eddie” Ramirez MPA, MSgt, USAF (Ret) (see above)
  • Craig Newmark Founder, Craigslist

10:45-11:00 Break/Resource Fair


  • Matthew Romanishin Certified Peer Specialist San Francisco VA Medical Center
  • Emory Wilson Certified Peer Specialist San Francisco VA Medical Center
  • Rodney Roberson Certified Peer Specialist San Francisco VA Medical Center
  • John Wilson Certified Peer Support Technician San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Bruno Clinic


  • Mama Art Cafe

11:00 – 12:00 Breakout Discussions

Families and Caregivers

  • Keith Armstrong LCSW Chief, Mental Health Social Work San Francisco VA Medical Center
  • Justine Underhill LCSW University of California San Francisco
  • Scott Maynard LCSW Caregiver Support Program San Francisco VA Medical Center, Downtown Clinic

Peer Support

  • Christine Tam MA Coordinator, Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate Program
  • Rodney Roberson Certified Peer Specialist, San Francisco VA Medical Center


  • Miriam Beyer San Francisco VA Medical Center, Downtown Clinic
  • Leon Winston Swords to Plowshares


  • M. Jake Martin San Francisco VA Medical Center, Downtown Clinic
  • Johnnie Stanton Local Veterans Employment Representative EDD, State of California
  • R. Bruce Goodchild Local Veterans Employment Representative EDD, State of California

Spiritual Care

  • Deborah Dacumos, Col., USAF (Ret) Commissioner, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Commission
  • Carolyn Talmadge Chaplain, San Francisco VA Medical Center


  • Daniel Evenhouse LCSW Director of Community-Based Services Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Bruno Clinic
  • Bob Hollis, PhD Vet to Vet

12:00 – 1:00 Box Lunch/Networking in breakout rooms by topic

1:00 – 2:00 Military Cultural CompetenceThe Missing Link in Engaging Veterans & their families.

  • Star Lara Swords to Plowshares
  • Geoff Millard Swords to Plowshares

2:00 – 2:15 Break/Resource Fair Tables

2:15 – 3:45 Reports from Breakout Sessions (20m each) 

  • Main results from session
  • What we can do as partners
  • Best ways to increase the flow of Veterans between VA and community

Discussion and commitments for action Breakout presenters:

  • Sophia Vinogradov MD, Joanne Peters LCSW
  • M. Jake Martin LCSW
  • Deborah Dacumos Col USAF (Ret)
  • Eduardo “Eddie” Ramirez MPA, MSgt, USAF (Ret)

3:45-4:00 Closing

  • Bevan Dufty Supervisor, District 8, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
    Director, HOPE (Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement)

4:00-4:30 Resource Fair and networking time

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Legacy Of Agent Orange In Vietnam & The US

Posted on

San Francisco-Ho Chi Minh City Sister City Committee (SFHCMSSC)
Agent Orange Update
Wednesday, August 27
5:30 pm, Free
Light Refreshments
RSVP: 415 447-6075,
City Hall, Mayor’s Conference Room #201
1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco

San Francisco City Hall

Agent Orange — a defoliant used during the Vietnam War was manufactured byDow Chemical Company and Monsanto Corporation for use by the US Military. It was shipped to Vietnam in orange striped containers and thus the chemical was branded “Agent Orange.” The chemical was highly dangerous and was found in some locations to be hundreds of times greater than levels considered safe by the US EPA. It has been reported that as many as 3 million Vietnamese have been affected by Agent Orange. According to some sources, it still impacts the people of Vietnam. It also has affected Veterans of the US Military and the Vietnamese Military. Read more…

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Post 7: Dr. Hakim “No To Wars”

Posted on  Veterans For Peace

by Kabul, Afghanistan

No Afghanistan in Ukraine, No to Wars!

Salaam, Friends — I would like to introduce a new series of interviews I am doing with each of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, by sharing an article just published by Dr. Hakim, their founder and adviser. I believe the article, and the interview he includes, shows the substantial impact the US presence has had on the lives of families here. Despite the US investment of more than $100 Billion dollars in non-military aide since 2001, the corruption is so rampant that the ordinary citizens live in virtual poverty.  I seek your replies to the compelling message that guides me from the Nuremberg Principles that if I see an atrocity and do nothing, I am complicit.  I invite all of us to question what we can do together to reverse this situation…..

In solidarity,
Sherri Maurin
Veteran For Peace member, Kabul, Afghanistan, Peace Journey, Tuesday, August 12 2014

We’re human fodder caught in the crossfire of armed groups and armed governments
No to wars!” By Dr Hakim August 12, 2014

“Her father was killed in Helmand amidst fighting between the Taliban and theAfghan/US-NATO forces,” said a relative about Gul Jumma, who looked down, shy and full of angst, sensing a future that’s not promising. Gul Jumma, together with the Afghan Peace Volunteers, expressed their opposition to wars in this video. Gul Jumma holds up the sign for ‘Ukraine’, indicating ‘No to wars in Ukraine’. She understands what it is like to be caught in the crossfire, as happened to her father when he was killed in battle.Continue reading

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Post 6: Street Kids Program

Posted on Veterans For Peace

Children in the Street Kids program studying Dari & mathI am dressed for “going out.” Norms for modesty require that women’s heads and necks be covered at all times, that tunics ideally go to the knees, and that a skirt or loose fitting pants be to the ankles. Socks are preferred, but sandals are acceptable. The women are teaching me to tie my scarves for maximum modesty, and ensure that my clothing is appropriate. Only two of my tunics are long enough, and I contrast these standards with the short shorts and skimpy tops so prevalent for young girls in the US during these hot summer months! However, I do know that this style is very comfortable for sitting cross-legged on the floor at the Center!

I was delighted to sit in on a class for street kids who are learning to write Dari (their language) and to do simple math. The more than twenty students are attentive, engaged, and actively participating, even though it is late on a hot afternoon. Read more…Hadissa & Farzana, teachers in the Street Kids program

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Post 5: Experiments In Simple, Nonviolent Inter-ethnic Community

Posted on Veterans For Peace
by Living in Kabul

As I write a huge explosion startles us; it is hard to tell how close it is, and many of our community are out taking exams at the University or working at the Borderfree Center. We scramble to begin calling them, and go online to find out details. Twitter feeds tell us that a suicide bomber has targeted a foreign force convoy several districts away; four civilians were killed and seven injured (read Washington Post story). This is the reality of life in Afghanistan where an estimated 42 children are killed each week. Sometimes the explosions are “sticky bombs” stuck to the bottom of a car, and other times they are small Improvised Explosive Devices‘ (IED.) Fortunately, for today, we are all safe.

Afghan Peace Volunteers Sherri Maurin

Afghan Peace Volunteers
Yesterday and today have been spent with the Afghan Peace Volunteers  (APV.) We have talked often during the monthly Global Days of Listening, and they share their struggles and hopes to build a new reality, grounded in nonviolence. Community life is not easy for them; the majority of their lives have been lived under fear from the US’s longest running war, and they have grown up distrusting other ethnic groups and Internationals, especially Americans. Their willingness to reach out to other ethnic groups, and to us, and to try and overcome a lifetime of enmity, continues to amaze me. Continue reading

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Post 4: A Friday Picnic In Afghanistan

Posted on Veterans For Peace
by Fridays, in the Muslim world,
are days of relative rest and the gathering of family and friends.

Sherri & Friends Sherri Maurin

We decided to go on a picnic, and twelve of us crammed into a van to head for a peaceful area about an hour outside Kabul’s downtown center. Those of you who have experienced traffic in Cairo can get a small sense of how challenging it is to cross Kabul. There are no lanes, no signals, and no rules; there are hundreds of potholes and honking horns. However, the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APV) are young and we cross town, bobbing and weaving and honking our way through traffic, clapping and singing with music blaring from our radio.

The land is bone dry clay, hard as rock, and I couldn’t visualize a park, but we wove higher into the hills, following dozens of others trying to escape the incessant heat, to an area that was cooler with more trees and a bit of grass. Continue reading


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Post 3: Arrival, New Friends, Border Free Center

Posted on  Veterans For Peace SF
by Salam from Kabul!
Peace To You From Afghanistan!

Borderfree Center Opening Sherri Maurin

I arrived at 10am on Thursday morning, to sweltering heat and heavy lines. Smiling, yet shy children, peaking out from behind mother’s scarves, made the long wait at Customs easier, but once I was released into the scorching heat of Kabul, my all black clothing, including a head scarf, seemed like a bad choice!

The entrance was virtually empty except for the armed guard off at a distance. No one is allowed close to the airport, so the search to find my waiting friends, when all of the numbers I had weren’t working, was a challenge! They were there, but without internet or phone access we never connected, and instead I was given a ride by an Al Jazeera reporter just returning to Afghanistan to cover John Kerry’s arrival. Continue reading


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