Thursday, May 29, 2008

NOY table at LBJ/LASA HS

On May 23, we staffed a NOY literature table at LBJ/LASA (Liberal Arts and Science Academy) and tried out our new home-made Peace Wheel of Fortune. The idea comes from the folks at Project YANO (Youth and Nonmilitary Opportunities) in San Diego. On our wheel, we included the following peacemakers of social change: Camilo Mejia, Mohandas Gandhi, Helen Keller, Raul Salinas (local poet and teacher), Julia Butterfly Hill, Bayard Rustin, Alan Pogue (local photojournalist), Pete Seeger, Diane Nash, Thich Nhat Hanh and Dolores Huerta. The idea was that if students could tell us something about the accomplishments of the person the wheel ticker stopped on, they could choose a prize among our buttons, etc.
We gave hints and had a few books on hand about some of the folks on the wheel. I encouraged students to do a wikipedia check...

The person on the wheel about whom almost every student knew something was Helen Keller. Yet, no student knew about her strong anti-war stance. Some students had heard of Gandhi, but several couldn't place him in India.

This trial run of the peace wheel was an eye-opener for me. I really thought that students would have learned more about the major historical nonviolent movements. If this peace history was taught in an in-depth way in the public schools, young people would know there are viable, road-tested alternatives to the use of military force in conflict situations.

As in our previous tabling, we did our penny poll at LBJ/LASA to ask what students would like to see our federal resources used for. With 48 students participating, the tally was:

Education - 42%

Health Care - 20%

Environment - 19%

Humanitarian Aid - 12%

Military - 7%

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