Monday, September 29, 2008

Our literature tables at Austin schools

Here's an update on our Nonmilitary Options activities so far this semester...

We've had literature tables at Travis HS, Lanier HS and McCallum HS and have dates planned for Austin HS, LBJ/LASA HS and Garza HS in the next two weeks.

We've done the penny poll and used the new Peace Wheel of Fortune at most of the schools so far this year.

The peace wheel generated lots of interest today at McCallum HS. Most students knew at least one or two of the peace sheroes and heroes on the wheel. Quite a few students knew about the hip-hop/rock band, Flobots (especially their hit song, Handlebars), which was great!
The idea of the wheel is that students spin it, the ticker stops on one of the peace sheroes/heroes, and if students can tell us something about that person, then they choose a prize.

Students liked the new "I think for myself!" buttons, which we used for peace wheel prizes along with Addicted to War books and the new "It's My Life!" books from the American Friends Service Committee.

We gave students who tried the peace wheel an info sheet to study up. Here it is. So, if you see us at your school, you've got an advantage!
Pursuing Justice, Peace and Freedom through Creative Nonviolence
Raul Salinas (1934 – 2008) was an Austin poet and educator who founded the Resistencia Bookstore on South First St. and shared his passion for art, writing and social justice through writing workshops in Austin schools.

Bernice Johnson Reagan is a composer, scholar, educator, performer and founder of the African American a cappella group, Sweet Honey in the Rock. As a college student, she was active in the Civil Rights Movement and was an original member of the SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) Freedom Singers in 1962.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968) is perhaps the best known of all US Civil Rights leaders. Following methods used by Gandhi and the freedom movement in India, King’s oratory, writings and personal example directed the movement in using nonviolent strategies such as mass marches, boycotts, sit-ins and direct negotiations in achieving equal rights.

John Lennon (1940 – 1980) was a member of the British rock band, The Beatles, and also had a successful solo career. He and his spouse, Yoko Ono were outspoken peace advocates who expressed their views through music and performance art.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a Nobel peace laureate and leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma who has lived under house arrest in Burma/Myanmar for some 14 years. Even though the government is ruled by a military junta, she is considered a leader by the Burmese people and continues to urge nonviolent resistance to the regime.

Cesar Chavez (1927 – 1993) led worker strikes, boycotts and marches for higher wages and better working conditions for agricultural workers in the US, including South Texas. He and Dolores Huerta co-founded the United Farm Workers, led the successful California grape boycott and helped organize other labor organizations in Texas and the Midwest.

Julia Butterfly Hill is a poet, speaker and environmental activist who lived for two years on a platform 18 stories high in a 1,000 year-old redwood tree in California as a protest against clear-cutting. Her book about that experience, The Legacy of Luna, was published in 2000.

Flobots is a rock/hip-hop band based in Denver. Their lyrics promote nonviolent social change. Their current release is Fight With Tools.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869 – 1948) was one of the most influential nonviolent activists in history. He helped lead India to independence from British Colonial Rule and his nonviolent methods inspired MLK and others in the US Civil Rights Movement.

Helen Keller (1880 –1968) was the first deafblind person to graduate from college. She learned to speak and became a world traveler and author who was outspoken in her advocacy for peace, women’s voting rights and labor rights.

Camilo Mejia is an Iraq war veteran who refused to return to combat because of moral objections to the war. His conscientious objector claim was denied by the US Army and he served a prison term. He is now president of the board of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Go forth and wage peace!

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