Assal Ravandi, President/CEO, Academy of United States Veterans

My fellow Americans,

As veterans we have been and continue to be members of one of the most diverse institutions in our country — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coastguardsmen. We represent people from every corner of our land, every shade of humanity, immigrant and native-born, Christian, Muslim, Jew, and nonbeliever alike, all serving this country we love with a sense of duty and pride.

In only four years, the Academy of United States Veterans has made great strides in creating platforms for dynamic conversations across divergent views in a way that has both expanded minds and exemplified the notion that people can have different viewpoints and yet support a common good with intellect, passion, and humanity.

I believe it is the culture of respect for civil liberties within the veterans community that has been instrumental to the success of bringing together countless Americans from all walks of life. It is through our unique expression of our values that we are able to offer unmatched insight into the fundamental ideals shared by our communities across America.

The 5th Annual Veterans Awards (Vettys) is a milestone in which we take great pride. Our community is filled with stories of joys and sorrows that make up the fabric of our lives. Every year the Vettys becomes the merging point of our paths as public servants. Because even though we all may have started on separate journeys, the destination remains the same.

The task at hand may seem out of reach. But we must try. We can practice kindness. We can respect one another. We can take pride in our America that places diversity and inclusion at the core of its values. As we launch our United Colors of America campaign for 2019, we invite you all to join forces with us in honoring the diversity of our heritage as Americans. Help us honor an America defined by deep and meaningful equality, from civil rights to labor rights, from women’s rights to LGBTQ rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unity. As veterans we defend the rights of women and men, young and old, Latino and Asian, African American and Caucasian — people of all classes of society, and orientations, and we stand with ALL Americans in ensuring their dreams are realized.

I invite you to support our cause through the countless ways that we can continue this conversation of humanity. Let us put on the camouflage of everyday life in America to prove that we have more that unites us than divides us. Let us carry the message of unity from our military to our American community.

With love,

Assal Ravandi

United States Army Afghanistan Veteran 

President | CEO

Academy of United States Veterans

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