NEW Media SURVEY Just for Kids of Vietnam Vets! February,19, 2016
Dear Kids of Vietnam Veterans and their Families,
I want to take a few moments to let you know about an opportunity to share your story and your children’s story (grand children of VN Veterans). Last year a news organization called ProPublica started asking for information about Vietnam Veteran’s health. You may have looked at, or taken the brief survey they put out. They have put out a new survey geared just for the kid’s of Vietnam veterans. Here is the link, you can read more about it below.
For many in the community, it was great the journalist were interested in the story of Agent Orange, but some, honestly, including myself, were weary of discussing such information without knowing where, or who was going to use it.
For example, I was unsure of the affiliations of those asking for information. I found out it will not be given to the VA or any other organization when I reached out to those working on this at ProPublica last year. I discussed with them in depth that we Children of Vietnam Vets (COVVs) sometimes have trouble trusting outsiders we do not know. We can be suspicious of intentions. After all, many of us have been raised and trained to be hyper aware. We have watched as those in power who have been commissioned to watch over the solider, their widow, and their orphans have failed us over and over. I wanted to know more.
First off, I found out their idea to do a story on the effects of Agent Orange on Vietnam Veterans and their kids started after a COVV photographer Stephen M. Katz, started putting two and two together about his own health concerns. He approached others to discuss the possibility of doing a large investigative piece on our health and wellness. I’m sure Stephen will share his story when the time comes. I spent time in conversation with Stephen learning about his desire to know more about the health and wellness of his peers.
Then I found out the mission statement of ProPublica:
“ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with “moral force.” We do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.”
For the last several months i have been discussing how to reach COVVs with ProPublica. How to get us to respond to their inquiries for stories. We have come up with building a form with a few questions that specifically targets us, our health concerns, and our children’s health concerns.
ProPublica has taken the suggestion to reach out to us with questions specifically geared to us. We have “children” in our organization’s name however, we are adults who can and should have the opportunity to speak for ourselves.
Now is our chance, this is a media based survey, it is not a “research study,” However, I do believe this is the first time in history, a media outlet has reached out to learn about us, from us, something no other media outlet has bothered to do in large numbers. It has the potential to get the attention of researchers if we can get a large percentage of COVVs to take the survey. If you are a family member, there is a questionnaire for you as well. You will see the prompt when you open the link.
My plea is all of us will take this opportunity to tell our stories in mass numbers. We will tell what has been hidden from most. It doesn’t matter if you or anyone else related to you is ill or not. If you are a COVV please take the survey.
This is going to be a large body of work not a single little story. They have already researched for almost a year.
Please participate. This is a simple FREE way to get our voice heard.
A NOTE ABOUT OUR COMMITMENT TO YOUR PRIVACY: We appreciate you sharing your story and we take your privacy seriously. ProPublica and the Virginian-Pilot are gathering these stories for the purposes of our reporting, and will not share your information with third-parties—including government agencies—without your express permission. In the questionnaire, we ask if we may share your information with our reporting network; we will only do so with your permission. If we would like to include you in an article, we will also contact you in advance.
Here is the link:
Please take immediate action on this.