Saturday, April 25, 2009

Our table at Bowie HS

Above are some photos from our literature table at Bowie HS on Friday, April 24. Students were interested in doing the penny poll and spinning the peace wheel, and some wanted to discuss the pros and cons of the "war on terror." Bowie is one of the 4 schools in our district with a JROTC program, and of all the schools, Bowie's students seem more willing to openly disagree with our message than students at the other JROTC schools. We're glad they are open to discussion! There are also quite a few students who make a point of saying they're opposed to war and are glad to see us there. Two teachers also came by and talked with us for a while, saying they appreciated the peace wheel, etc. One of the teachers was the only person of the day who was familiar with Barbara Jordan (on the peace wheel). It was good to be able to tell students that a statue of Barbara Jordan was being unveiled that very day at UT -- the first statue in honor of a woman placed on the UT campus, after all these years. (I went to see the statue today, which is very cool. Photo above.)

Along with the penny poll, we also invited students to let us know what they'd rather buy than war, and we posted their creations on the pillar and wall behind our table. The octopus refers to a character in a school play...
photos by makingpeace

Monday, April 20, 2009

Our NOY table at McCallum HS

On Friday, April 17, Hart and I had a good day at McCallum HS tabling during lunch.

There was lots to be inspired about at McCallum. The week of April 4th, they had celebrated the "Week Without Violence," and we saw a long banner up in a hallway and posters up here and there with quotes from various peacemakers.
The banner was great -- posted on it were "pledge cards" that kids had written up saying things like "I will try to be less sarcastic with my mom and less critical of my sister." A teacher told us that the week's events had been organized mainly by students.

Friday was the "Day of Silence" to protest hate crimes against GLTB youth, and several students were honoring the day by not talking at all.
One student had an info sheet pinned to her shirt that included the stories of several victims of hate crimes. We saw two young men wearing dresses -- which takes guts for sure.

I think we had more students than usual linger at our table for a while, talking with us and doing the peace wheel and penny poll and then later coming back with friends to do it again. They liked the "I think for myself" buttons (which were inspired from McCallum because their principal told us last year that we couldn't distribute the NOY buttons with the twisted pistol design because that violated their policy of prohibiting gun images on clothing!). Actually, a student who came up to our table yesterday wore a t-shirt with a vivid image of two figures holding handguns, so I don't think they are enforcing their policy very strictly...

Two teachers came by and said they'd like us to do classroom presentations (Hart spoke to the classes of one of the teachers last year), and one of them asked for a copy of Addicted to War because he wanted to use it in his American History class.

Hart did the penny poll, and the results showed an overwhelming concern for the environment, with health care second. The military jar contained about a tenth of the pennies in the environment jar. As always, the kids were pretty surprised by the pie chart (Hart used the war resisters league tax day flier) showing how taxes are actually spent.

The kids really liked the Peace Wheel of Fortune, even though they still can't say much about most of the figures on it. But they seem to enjoy learning, sometimes reading the info sheets aloud and getting excited about what those people have done. I noticed that more kids seemed to know about John Lennon now than they did last year when we started using the wheel. Is his music enjoying a renaissance along with the peace sign, etc.? I hope so! A majority knew about Flobots because of their "Handlebars" hit--as did one of the history teachers!

Wage Peace!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tabling, spring semester

We're continuing with our tabling in the schools this semester. So far, we've staffed tables during lunch at Austin HS (on two dates), Lanier and Akins and were invited to table at career fairs at Crockett and Akins HS. We have a date scheduled for McCallum HS after Easter weekend.
Here's a favorite moment from the Crockett career fair: a student who realized she didn't know many of the figures on the peace wheel of fortune decided to take the info sheet and sat down to study it. After about 20 minutes of study, she came back and went around the whole wheel, telling us something about each peacemaker. She did it perfectly. Wow!