The goal of our speaker’s bureau is to provide a valuable resource to Civic Organizations and to New York area educators who recognize the importance and educational value of augmenting their history, social studies, literature, etc., curricula with relevant oral histories of those who have personally experienced war. Through this collaborative effort, we hope to educate young people and old to understand the realities of war, a lesson that has been tragically neglected. While our ultimate goal is to create a world in which conflict and war can be replaced with understanding and non-violence, our agenda is not political. Our aim is only to inform and enlighten.
Our veterans are knowledgeable and proficient speakers with many years of experience working in a variety of classroom settings. Should you desire our veterans to speak at your church, civic meeting, in your classroom, assembly, athletic event, homecoming, etc., please feel free to contact me.
Short bios of three of our speakers:
Veterans For Peace Long Island Speakers' Bureau
Camillo “Mac” Bica, Ph.D
Mac is the Chapter Coordinator and a professor of philosophy at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. His primary area of specialization is in social and political philosophy and ethics, specifically in the relation of war and morality. While recovering from his experiences as a United States Marine Corps Officer during the Vietnam
War, he founded, and for five years coordinated, the Veteran Self Help Initiative, AKA the HOOTCH Program (a therapeutic community of war veterans suffering withPost Traumatic Stress Disorder), at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Brooklyn. Dr. Bica has presented numerous papers dealing with such topics as Just War Theory, the effects of war on the participants, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, ethics and war, and political and social responsibility..Dr. Bica’s forthcoming book "There are No Flowers in a War Zone" is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2010.
Thomas Brinson, LCSW
Thomas has been a veterans advocate since he returned from his year’s service in Vietnam in 1967-68, flying into Washington, DC’s National Airport in Washington, DC, early in the evening of April 4, 1968, being puzzled as to why Washington was burning in the aftermath of Martin Luther King’s assassination.
An ROTC-commissioned US Army officer, he served in the Central Highlands of Vietnam as a Combat Support Platoon Leader, escorting convoys throughout II Corps.
A New York State licensed social worker, specializing in addictions and trauma, he and a colleague, Vince Treanor, wrote seminal literature and did initial trainings nationwide on the correlation of addiction and PTSD among combat veterans.
From September 2003 until June 2005, he served as a peace worker with the Nonviolent Peaceforce near Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, in one of the most conflicted areas of that brutal 25-year civil war, surviving the devastating Tsunami of December 26, 2004.
April 19, 2010
Thank you a million times over for sharing your stories with us today. There was a huge buzz in the hall after school, with students in other classes questioning me about whether and when they'd get to meet you. It is so critical at this point in their lives that they get exposure to people who have had real war experience. I feel like it could really make a difference in their decision process. Both Tania and Elizabeth, the two other teachers present, also commented on how powerful your statements were and how important it was for students to get that perspective.
Thanks again for everything. And please pass on my appreciation to Walter as well.
Media Arts Educator
Flushing international high school
Ray Zbikowski, LMSW
Ray is a Vietnam veteran who served with the Navy Air Wing in the "Blue Water Navy." He was assigned to an electronics warfare squadron that flew jamming and reconnaissance missions in support of the Seventh Fleet. His duties included aircraft maintenance and was an aircraft plane captain and enlisted aircrewman aboard EA-3B Skywarriors.
Ray is a New York State licensed social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Northport, NY for 28 years. He provides Emergency Room and outpatient mental health services to a diverse population of veterans and their families whose eras of service span World War II to Iraq,Afghanistan and other assiciated conflicts. Ray is is a charter member and Assistant Coordinator of Veterans For Peace, Long Island Chapter #138.
VFPLI Members Camillo "Mac" Bica and Walter Gafforio speaking to a class at Flushing International High School studying the Vietnam War.