Monday, November 9, 2009

In the lunch room at Akins HS

Last Friday, Hart and I had a NOY table at Akins HS in far south Austin. I always enjoy being at Akins, partly because we are set up right in the middle of the cafeteria where students wait in line at the various food counters. The students see us and our banners ("make art, not war" and "peace is green, peace is creative") and are curious. "What's this about?" is usually the first question.

Akins has a large JROTC program and several students who came up to the table identified themselves at JROTC members. Often, JROTC students are wearing dog tags. Hart had his dog tags on, too, and that got conversations going.

During the break between the two lunches, a special ed teacher came up to the table and said, "I'm pro-military." We responded that because we are anti-war, we are pro-enlisted people. That is, we are pro-human being, which especially includes people in the military who we don't want to see killed or injured. She said she'd worked as a civilian on several US military bases abroad and was married to an enlisted person. She also identifited herself as a strong Christian and was worried about the US "becoming socialistic." We had an interesting back-and-forth with her -- very cordial even though we disagreed. She said Jesus was "a warrior." Hart countered that he was a 'warrior' with words, but not with a sword.

A vice-principal who hadn't heard of NOY came up to the table and took a few pieces of literature to read while he was officiating in the cafeteria. He returned them later without comment. We've vetted our literature with several staff at Akins in the past -- with the coordinator who sets up our visits and the previous principal. We also make materials available through the counseling area and the library and have been invited to table at their career fairs in the spring.

Right before the end of the second lunch, a bunch of students decided to start filling in the "I'd rather buy ________ than war!" fliers, some of which are posted here.

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