March 19 marked the sixth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It has been six long years of war, sectarian violence, terrorist attacks and military occupation for the people of Iraq, following more than 12 years of debilitating economic sanctions and U.S. bombing raids.

Over the past six years, more than 5 million Iraqis have fled or been forced from their homes and livelihoods because of war, violent sectarianism and military occupation. Over 1 million Iraqis have died since March 2003. Hundreds of thousands are now in need of medical attention and humanitarian aid.

Iraqi refugees have fled to Syria, Jordan or other neighboring countries. Over 2 million Iraqis are displaced within Iraq.

"Funds raised will go to Direct Aid Iraq, an organization that provides medical and humanitarian aid to Iraqi refugees."

In response to the humanitarian crisis, Benefit for the People of Iraq will take place on Wednesday, March 25 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the John Waldron Arts Center Auditorium, 122 S. Walnut St. in Bloomington.

The benefit concert will feature musical offerings by Janiece Jaffe, Curtis Cantwell Jackson, and Deborah & Jonathan Hutchison.

Featured speaker, Noah Baker Merrill, Project Director of Direct Aid Iraq, will talk about the needs of Iraqi refugees and the work of Direct Aid Iraq. Merrill will also present a new film, "Remember Iraq," giving injured and displaced Iraqis an opportunity to speak for themselves about their experiences and needs.

Funds raised will go to Direct Aid Iraq, an organization that provides medical and humanitarian aid to Iraqi refugees.

Tickets are now available at Howard's Bookstore and Athena in Bloomington, and will also be on sale at the door.

How will we, as citizens of the United States, respond to those tragically impacted by the foreign policies of our government?

This benefit concert is just one small tangible way to move toward peace and healing for Iraq.

Timothy Baer is Campaign Coordinator, The Declaration of Peace and an organizer for the Bloomington Peace Action Coalition. He can be reached at


For more information

  • Bloomington Peace Action Coalition
  • Direct Aid Iraq
  • Questions about the event can be directed to or by calling 988-1917.