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Conference of State Council Presidents, March/April 2020

GA-21: What it Isn’t


Rex Moody, © Michael KeatingAt the Conference of State Council Presidents meeting in January, there was considerable discussion about Resolution GA-21, Changing the Name of Vietnam Veterans of America. Several SC Presidents reported they had received questions from their members wondering if changing the name of Vietnam Veterans of America to something that doesn’t include “Vietnam Veterans” and opening the membership to younger veterans was a done deal, and some members expressed concern that a final decision may have already been made.

There was considerable difference of opinion and confusion regarding the purpose and status of the Resolution. In response, I determined it would be beneficial to explain to the membership what the Resolution is—and what it isn’t. 

This is the first of two articles. An article in the next issue will address “Resolution GA-21: What It Is.” It is not the intention of the CSCP to influence the membership to support or oppose Resolution GA-21, but rather to provide factual information so members can use that information to form their own factually based decisions.

Resolution GA-21, Changing the Name of Vietnam Veterans of America, reads, “Resolved, That: Require VVA’s Officers and Board of Directors to investigate the requirements to change the name of Vietnam Veterans of America to a name that would entice Post-Vietnam era veterans to join the renamed organization and then open up membership to these newer veterans. The proposed changes would be presented to the delegates at the 2021 Convention for ratification.”

Resolution GA-21 simply requires VVA’s Officers and Board of Directors to investigate the requirements to change the name of VVA to something that would entice Post-Vietnam veterans to join the organization and then to open up membership to younger veterans. The Resolution only directs the National Board of Directors (of which the VVA National Officers are members) to investigate the requirements to make changes—not to actually make those changes.

Resolution GA-21 does not, and cannot, authorize changing the name of VVA or authorize changing the requirements for membership in VVA because both are embedded in the VVA Constitution. The name is established in Article I, Paragraph A, and the requirements for VVA membership are established in Article I, Section 3, Paragraph A. Full membership is open to any veteran who served on active duty during the dates established by federal law for the Vietnam War. 

Changing the name of VVA or changing its membership requirements requires amending the VVA Constitution. That can only be accomplished at a National Convention by a 2/3rds vote of the delegates present.

So Resolution GA-21 is not a done deal. Rather, it is the first step in investigating the requirements for renaming VVA and then opening membership to Post-Vietnam veterans. Resolution GA-21 does not address the benefits that would be gained by changing the name and then opening the organization to younger members. To gain the delegate support necessary to approve those changes in the VVA Constitution the National Board of Directors must provide the membership and delegates with a well-developed plan that includes information detailing the benefits to be gained by changing the name and opening membership.

The CSCP expects Resolution GA-21 and related amendments to the VVA Constitution to be hot topics in the months leading up to the 2021 VVA National Convention, and encourages the VVA membership to remain actively engaged in the subject. VVA members should discuss the initiatives in Resolution GA-21 among themselves and at the chapter and state council levels, and they should ensure their voices are heard by the Regional Directors. State Council Presidents are members of the CSCP and are expected to represent their members at CSCP meetings. Regional Directors are responsible for representing their members at meetings of the National Board of Directors.





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