Washington, D.C. (December 10, 2018) — This week, after weeks of news headlines about VA problems relating the GI BIll, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the leading Post-9/11 veterans advocacy and support organization, launches its fourth and final Storm the Hill of 2018. On the heels of a turbulent Veterans Month, where news broke on Veterans Day 2018 that thousands of veterans were waiting on late GI Bill payments, there has never been a more important time to focus on the issues impacting the post-9/11 generation.
For months, we’ve been hearing from veterans across the nation about delayed and inaccurate GI Bill payments. And still, as the holidays approach and a new semester will begin for many in just under a month, veterans are experiencing problems with their GI Bill payments from the VA. This entire mess only underscores why IAVA made #DefendTheGIBill one of our Big 6 Advocacy Priorities for 2018.
Defending the GI Bill will lead the bi-partisan focus of this week’s Winter Storm the Hill. From December 11th to December 14th, IAVA will be leading its grassroots advocacy activation with member veterans and leaders from across the country converging in our nation’s capital for a week of awareness, unity and impact. Check out the progress IAVA’s advocacy work has made in the first three quarters of this year alone here.
“Despite numerous victories in the veteran space in 2018, we still have much further to go in order to pay more than lip service when it comes to helping our nation’s military and veterans. And the stakes for veterans’ policy have never been higher. We must stop politicizing our military and veterans and start actually helping the next Greatest Generation. That’s why IAVA launched its biggest and boldest campaign ever this year, our Big 6 Advocacy Priorities for 2018, because veterans’ voices deserve to be at the center of the conversation,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA. “As IAVA has done for over a decade, Storm the Hill will rally veterans from across America to continue a national conversation on the issues we care about the most. And we’ll challenge all Americans to stand with us.”
As part of Winter Storm the Hill, IAVA will also deliver two testimonies in New York state — a state with one of the highest populations of veterans in this country. The first to the New York State Assembly in the state capitol of Albany, focusing on veteran employment, which is linked to overall wellbeing and education outcomes. The second will be to the New York City Council on GI Bill payments and overall education outcomes. They will be delivered by members of our best-in-class Rapid Response Referral Program team, who handle veteran employment and education cases with veterans in crisis on a daily basis. Follow along on Storm the Hill’s site and our testimonies hub for more on these powerful testimonies throughout the week.
And to highlight the ongoing urgency of the GI Bill fiasco, on Wednesday, December 12th, IAVA will co-host a bi-partisan press conference with Representatives Brian Mast (R-FL) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) at 11:00am ET at the House Triangle. Both Representatives have been leaders for IAVA on issues like burn pits and support to women veterans and are also both post-9/11 vets themselves. If you’d like to join us, please inquire with firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more, visit our Storm The Hill page.
About Storm the Hill. IAVA’s Storm the Hill is a quarterly advocacy and leadership development campaign and the most powerful non-partisan policy impact program for post-9/11 vets in America. Started in 2005, IAVA’s Storm The Hill began with just five young veteran leaders sharing a single cheap hotel room and begging for meetings from Members of Congress disconnected from war and veterans issues. Today, Storm The Hill has grown into an internationally-recognized powerhouse of impact and a model of citizen power and grassroots success celebrated by both parties, international media and the White House. Storm The Hill was created to ensure that our members worldwide have a voice in Washington. And it has grown to be a true force, leading efforts to expand body armor, create the New GI Bill and pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act.
About The Big 6. The Big 6 contains the challenges and opportunities that IAVA members care about most – and see as areas where we can uniquely make an impact. IAVA members are poised to educate the public, design solutions for positive impact, and lead the way to the future. That starts with our 2018 Big Six. Each Big 6 Priority will drive toward outcomes in 4 key areas: 1) Public Awareness 2) Executive Action 3) Legislative Change 4) Local Support. IAVA’s broader and comprehensive Policy Agenda covers issues ranging from homelessness to employment to a national memorial for post-9/11 veterans and can be found online here.
About #DefendTheGIBill. In 2008, the Post-9/11 GI Bill was created and supported with IAVA leadership and has now sent more than one million veterans to school, and remains one of the military’s best retention and recruiting tools. Last year, IAVA worked with VSO partners to pass the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, which included numerous expansions for the GI Bill, including elimination of the 15-year time limit to use the benefit. But the GI Bill is constantly under threat of cuts by Congress, which is why IAVA continues to #DefendTheGIBill. And we must continue to hold the line in defending these essential, earned benefits that are a cost of war.
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"Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America...remains the most important organization representing the new generation of veterans." - TIME Magazine
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the premier veterans advocacy and support organization on the planet. Founded by an Iraq veteran in 2004, IAVA is the non-partisan leader in advocacy, public awareness, and 1-on-1 case management support. Our mission is to connect, unite, and empower over 425,000 veterans and allies nationwide. We have connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided thousands of veterans of all generations with life-saving and life-changing personalized support from our Masters-level social service professionals.
Learn more at iava.org.