Celebrate and Support Conscientious Objectors for International CO Day!

A couple of important events are planned around International CO Day to both celebrate and support conscientious objectors.

Sunday, May 15 is International CO Day; it is also the date the first Civilian Public Service (CPS) camp opened during WWII.  This year is the 70th anniversary of the opening of the camp at Patapsco Valley State Park, Maryland, where for the first time in history, conscientious objectors were allowed to perform non-military alternative service instead of military service.

 Join us for a picnic in Relay, Maryland (just outside Baltimore) and a visit to the site of that first CPS camp.  Below is the invitation:

Civilian Public Service

Celebratory Picnic and Website Launch

May 15, 2011

70th anniversary of the first camp opening at Patapsco State Park, MD

Picnic: Relay Town Hall, 1:00-3:30 p.m.

1710 Arlington Ave., Relay, MD

(Halethorpe post office)

For detailed directions, see:


The event will include a picnic lunch, the launch of a new CPS website featuring a database of all CPS workers and camps, brief remarks by sponsoring agencies, CPS alumni and historians, and a visit to the Patapsco CPS Camp site in Patapsco Valley State Park (a short distance away).

Sponsors: Mennonite Central Committee U.S., Center on Conscience & War, American Friends Service Committee, Church of the Brethren, Kansas Committee for a CPS Memorial

Please RSVP by May 11 to: us.mcc.org/cpspicnic


 On Monday, May 16, join us in the halls of Congress and let the voice of conscience be heard!  Over 70 years ago some church leaders worked tirelessly to ensure that conscientious objectors would have alternatives besides military service and jail.  While the U.S. conscientious objector law was cutting edge in 1940, over the years we have come to see the limitations of that 70-year-old law.  Furthermore, the CO law is part of the draft law, and while the Department of Defense (DoD) has a policy to discharge COs that is based on the draft law, there is no law requiring the military to respect the beliefs of conscientious objectors.  Discharges for conscientious objectors were suspended for a time in the early 1990s.  Join us as we lobby Congress to improve the CO law in the U.S. and for the first time write conscientious objection into military law.  On Monday, May 16, meet at 9:00 a.m. in the Methodist Building (100 Maryland Ave NE—wedged between the Supreme Court and the Senate Office Building—across the street from the Capitol).