Cynthia Thomas feels it’s time for peace-loving Americans to wake up. “The antiwar movement here in the United States sort of died down once Obama was elected,” she says. “In our military community we are wondering what the hell’s going on. Our soldiers are still dying—we’re still stuck here in these wars.”
Thomas’ frustration led her to found the Under the Hood Outreach Center and Café, an antiwar coffeehouse in Killeen, Texas. In an interview with London’s Socialist Review (Nov. 2009), the military wife and mother describes how families like hers banded together in the shadow of the Fort Hood military base to support their soldiers. “The majority of Americans now don’t want the war,” she says. “But the politicians don’t care what we think.”
Antiwar coffeehouses hit their zenith during the Vietnam War, popping up near military bases across the United States. The java shop in Killeen, which also serves as a gathering place for soldiers, provides resources for those who need legal or medical assistance or simply a safe space to talk.
The outreach led to the first antiwar march in Killeen since the Vietnam War. Thomas says the community response was largely positive, no small feat given the community’s pro-military vibe.