Danielle Vyas calls for justice

August 10, 2008 by Philip Barron  Email This Post Print This Post

Danielle Vyas, an activist and the author of ModernMusings.com, first learned of the story of LaVena Johnson via Electronic Village and immediately set about spreading the word. She submitted the story to the Care2 network of activists and added it to stumble, and digg, casting for the widest audience possible. After learning of the original petition to the two Armed Services Committees calling for a renewed investigation of LaVena’s death, Vyas decided to take similar direct action. She launched a petition of her own - her very first - based at the Care2 petition site. Addressed to both houses of Congress and President Bush, the petition calls for a re-investigation of the LaVena Johnson case and full disclosure. Below, the text of the petition appeal:

We the undersigned, urge you to reopen an investigation on the death of Ms. LaVena Johnson. Ms. Johnson, a 19 year old private stationed in Iraq died in July of 2005. Upon her death, the army declared that Ms. Johnson’s death was self inflicted.

Due to the dedicated investigation of Dr. J. Johnson, further evidence has been found from the autopsy of Ms. Johnson’s body and from the barracks where her body was found.

This evidence includes a blood trail leading toward where her body was found, signs that a perpetrator attempted to burn both the barracks and her body, signs of physical struggle in the form of two loose front teeth as well as a bruised lip which had to be reconstructed by the funeral home which attended to her body.

When Dr. J. Johnson presented this new evidence the response he received from the military is that the case is closed.

We urge you, in the name of democracy, in the name of justice, in the name of civic honor to reopen the investigation of Ms. Johnson’s death and fully disclose all findings.

Ms. Johnson was an honor roll student, who straight from high school enlisted herself voluntarily into the army. If her sacrifice is to be honored in action, her death must be thoroughly investigated and if it is found that Ms. Johnson was murdered that the perpetrator be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Rebuilding the morale of our military, of our citizens and our country demands real answers.

We thank you, in advance, for your focused consideration and commitment to justice.

Dyas has set an original goal of 1,000 signatures for the effort, but that target was so swiftly reached that she revised the goal upwards to 3,000 names. Again, that goal has been exceeded; as of this writing, the number of signatories to the Vyas petition stands at 3,197.

The goal more than achieved, Vyas is now arranging a meeting with Rep. Shelley Berkley in which the petition will be presented. She calls for concerned citizens to sign the ColorofChange-sponsored petition to Rep. Henry Waxman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Note: A few words from Danielle Vyas herself!

I found out about the tragedy surrounding the death of Private Ms. LaVena Johnson for the first time from my good friend and fellow net activist Wayne Hicks of the Electronic Village. I was outraged at the military deeming Ms. Johnson’s death a suicide when there was so much physical evidence to the contrary. Broken teeth, bruised lips, blood trails, evidence of arson and even rape warrants an in depth investigation surrounding the loss of potential that 19 year old LaVena undeniably had to offer the world.

I, immediately, began researching deeper and came upon Philip Barron’s independent efforts toward achieving accountable justice for Ms. Johnson and noted that his successful petition had closed. Putting two and two together, with an increase of attention given to Ms. Johnson’s death and no active petition at that time decided to write and promote my first petition. I had to turn my outrage into action.

Many of us on the internet and blogging have gathered “friends” in various social networks. I decided to take advantage of my connections to both share Ms. Johnson’s case and the petition. Thanks to others who used the power of their voice, we met the first goal of 1000 signatures in a few weeks. I then increased the goal due to the great response to 3000 signatures.

Last week, we exceeded our goal of 3000 signatures and to date have 3,250 collected signatures. I instantly thought what next, how will I use the power of over 3000 people and have decided to arrange a meeting with my Representative Shelley Berkley of Nevada and hand deliver the signatures along with a small crew of local activists. When the meeting occurs we will be recording the event and will spread it virally through the internet.

Gabriel Rey- Goodlate of the organization Color of Change caught the increased buzz surrounding the Justice for LaVena Johnson campaign and started their own campaign sending out an email to their members and have gathered over 50,000 signatures.

This has been an amazing personal journey. I have learned without a doubt that we must turn our outrage into action. I am not a professional activist. I have never made a petition before and have never even met my Representative in person. If I am able to do it, anyone can.

Ms. LaVena Johnson deserves to be honored with a reinvestigation into the circumstances of her death which is the ultimate goal.

I sincerely thank Philip Barron, Wayne Hicks, Gabriel Rey- Goodlate and everyone who signed and forwarded the petition and to those who spread the campaign to their audiences.

Danielle Vyas


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9 Responses to “Danielle Vyas calls for justice”

  1. Danielle Vyas on August 11th, 2008 9:51 am

    Excellent write up, Philip.

    I again thank you for spearheading the cause of Justice for LaVena Johnson first.

    Danielle Vyas

  2. ModernMusings.com | LaVena Johnson Website Revamped! on August 12th, 2008 10:56 am

    [...] Mr. Barron has revamped the site lavenajohnson.com and so graciously highlighted my own humble efforts. [...]

  3. virginia on August 14th, 2008 7:54 am

    let Pfc. La Vena Johnson Family have some closure on their child death.

  4. T.Newton on August 23rd, 2008 4:11 pm

    God bless you for gaining so many petitions and keeping this issue alive. I first read about it in the Final Call. As usual, there has been complete silence from the corporate media. We cannot rely on the media to pursue this issue.

    Please keep me abreast of the hearings conducted by the Waxman committee. I am willing to go to Washington D.C. to observe these hearings to insure that this case gets the justice it deserves. I propose that buses, and car pools are organized to go to Washington DC to observe these hearings. Please keep me in touch. Thank you.

    Terrance Newton

  5. Lynn Brown on August 24th, 2008 12:42 am

    My heart goes out to the families of the women lost in the Army and the way they lost there lifes I pray for there Loves Ones Many God contuine to Bless and Strengthen them…Our System needs a Big Change, I feel a investiagations needs to be done on this The Johnsons and can get closer I and maybe many more are clueless to such conduct in OUR ARMY USA ( WHAT A SHAME) A BILL SHOULD BE PASSED TO STOP THE MADDNESS .. EVERY YOUNG LADY IS SOME ONE BABY . WHO WOULD WANT SOME CRAZY THING LIKE THAT TO HAPPEN TO THERE BABY……


  6. Angela Wilson on August 30th, 2008 7:51 am

    I feel so bad for her family, may GOD walk with them.

  7. William P Muhammad on September 3rd, 2008 6:47 pm

    This situation is as shameful as it is sad. As an Army veteran, I am even more saddened because of the implications of a cover up. After Pat Tillman, the young female soldier from West Virginia, Blackwater etc, how many more stories like this will we continue to hear?

  8. Marianne Spencer on September 12th, 2008 2:21 pm

    Just wanted to say I am sorry this happened to another army soldier. And hope that they can resolve this situation so that the family can rest in peace. MS

  9. junemoon on October 18th, 2008 7:39 pm

    the military can hide a lot of things that happen on base rather then on base. i too was in the military for 12 years and was in a situation that i almost lost my life. i could only tell someone once i got off of active duty but now i suffer from ptsd, major depression disorder, and other service connected illness that is difficult to live with everyday. i am sure my life expectancy is shorten now because of my illnesses. i hope justice is found for this young lady.