Thursday, December 30, 2010

SOY stencil art

From our workshop...stenciled paper folders to give to students during our Spring school tabling. More designs on the way...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More reflections on the repeal of DADT

Here is a comment on Cindy Sheehan's piece (previous post) from a friend who is a military veteran:

Cindy writes, "We live in a world governed by binaries, straight or gay, them or us, freedom or tyranny. Until we break away from this norm, we shall forever be shackled to a narrow existence, manipulated by a political establishment that serves its own interests."

In this one sentence I think she has expressed and raised to my consciousness the underlying reason why I have 'felt good' about the move to remove the stigma of gays in the military...or anywhere else. This is an underlying principal. Next we deal with the problem of how the military is employed and we advocate for change for all members of the military regardless of their biological or physical differences.

I think often of how we train our children to accept and celebrate differences...or as she points out...binaries. My school/the other school; my team/the other team, people who wear my color of tee-shirt...etc. It's ingrained in our culture, perhaps in all cultures. But it is 'So 20th century' just as war is, and racial prejudice is, and....

... Changing the culture of the military (and corporations) is one of our most important challenges. In the meantime, I still see the movement for accepting gays as equals in the military as positive because it helps eliminate a binary and will perhaps cause others to look more closely at the greater danger of thinking in terms of 'them and us'.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cindy Sheehan: "Don't Go. Don't Kill."

Posted by Cindy Sheehan on December 25, 2010. Sheehan's son, Casey, was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004.

Don't Go. Don't Kill.
By Cindy Sheehan

The recent repeal of the US military policy of "Don't ask, don't tell" is far from being the human rights advancement some are touting it to be. I find it intellectually dishonest, in fact, illogical on any level to associate human rights with any military, let alone one that is currently dehumanizing two populations as well as numerous other victims of its clandestine "security" policies.

Placing this major contention aside, the enactment of the bill might be an institutional step forward in the fight for "equality"; however institutions rarely reflect reality.

Do we really think that the US congress vote to repeal the act and Obama signing the bill is going to stop the current systemic harassment of gays in the military?

While I am a staunch advocate for equality of marriage and same-sex partnership, I cannot – as a peace activist – rejoice in the fact that now homosexuals can openly serve next to heterosexuals in one of the least socially responsible organisations that currently exists on earth: The US military.

It is an organisation tainted with a history of intolerance towards anyone who isn't a Caucasian male from the Mid-West. Even then I'm sure plenty fitting that description have faced the terror and torment enshrined into an institution that transforms the pride and enthusiasm of youth into a narrow zeal for dominating power relations.

Wrong battle for equality

It is hard to separate this issue from the activities of the military. War might be a "racket", but it is also the most devastating act one can be involved in, whether you are the aggressor or a victimized civilian, no one can shake off the psychological scars of war. No one.
Its effects on the individual as well as collective human psyche are terminal. Championing equal rights is an issue of morality, war is immoral, and the US military is heading further and further down the path of immorality.

Even with the advent of WikiLeaks, transparency and accountability of US military activity has been sucked into a black hole of silence. Drone attacks, illegal cross-border interventions, extra-judicial assassinations all occur in the name of national interest. It is not in the interest of equal rights activists to support an institution that is intent on ignoring every protocol of human decency.

Face it, gays are now and have been in the military since before Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War.

The only difference being one can now admit their orientation without fear of official recrimination - a major boon for the equal rights movement! The capacity for increased carnage should not be celebrated as a victory!

I cannot help but think about those that are on the receiving end of US military aggression. So a minor change has occurred at the input juncture of the war machine, but the output remains the same: we dismantle systems of indigenous governance, support disingenuous often criminal overlords, commit endless acts of brutality, and worst of all leave entire nations rudderless, spiraling downwards into the same abyss that engulfs the US military's lack of accountability.

I wonder what the response towards don't ask, don't will be overseas? I wonder if mothers across the Swat Valley in Northern Pakistan are cheering the repeal of the act (most likely not), gathering in the streets to celebrate a victory in the global pursuit of human equality, only to be forced to take cover as yet another hellfire-laden drone appears on the horizon. Hell hath no fury as a drone operated from somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Don't equal human rights extend to those that the Empire has mislabeled as the "enemy"? Or do we now have to ignore the fact that innocent people are being slaughtered by the thousands?

Unjust binaries

We live in a world governed by binaries, straight or gay, them or us, freedom or tyranny. Until we break away from this norm, we shall forever be shackled to a narrow existence, manipulated by a political establishment that serves its own interests.

We should embrace complication, appreciate difference and most of all not be duped into accepting "victories" that clearly benefit an elite, that you and I (pardon the binary) will never be part of.

Some of us in the peace movement work really hard to keep our young people out of the hands of the war machine that preys on disadvantaged young people in inner cities and poor rural settings.

To see a demographic that is (without appearing to stereotype) traditionally better educated, more politically progressive, and economically advantaged fight to join this killing machine is very disheartening.

I can see how one could view the repeal as a step forward, framed in the context dictated by the political elites of the Washington beltway. I can imagine much displeasure amongst the military brass – but I cannot reiterate enough how this is not a progressive moment in the social history of the United States.

The US military is not a human rights organisation and nowhere near a healthy place to earn a living or raise a family. My email box is filled with stories of mostly straight soldiers and their families who were deeply harmed by life in the military.

Because of the callous and violent nature of the system, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is on the rise and suicide rates among veterans and the spouses of active duty soldiers are skyrocketing.

Veterans still find it very difficult to access the services, benefits and bonuses that were promised to them by their recruiters. I cannot imagine the repealing of DADT significantly improving the material conditions experienced by gays during military service.

While the children of war profiteers and politicians are protected from any kind of sacrifice, this Empire preys on the rest of our youth – gay/straight; male/female – and spits their mangled or dead bodies onto the dung heap of history, without a qualm or a twinge of conscience.

Joining the US military should never be an option for the socially conscious while our troops are being used as corporate tools for profit, or hired assassins for imperial expansion. Soldiers are called: "Bullet sponges," by their superiors and "dumb animals" by Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state.

While soldiers are dehumanised and treated like dirt, they are taught to dehumanise "the other", and treat them as less than dirt. It is a vicious cycle, and the way to stop a vicious cycle is to denounce and reject it, not openly participate.

I want to bang my head against a wall when another young gay person commits suicide as a result of despicable bullying, yet people within the same community have fought hard for the right to openly join the biggest bully ever! Don't go, don't kill!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Human Rights Day at LBJ/LASA HS

Hart and I really enjoyed our tabling date today at LBJ/LASA HS. We tried out a new peace wheel prize -- stenciled pocket folders -- which were the first prizes to be chosen, so we'll produce more of them for next time. I learned how to do the stenciling through reading a great article in one of last year's issues of Rethinking Schools.

We met several students who have been part of the two-year Fire Fighters program that has been such a good pilot project at LBJ. We learned, however, that the program may not be funded after next year's students finish. This would be a real loss. We were hoping that the program would be extended to other high schools in our district, in fact. All the students we talked with spoke highly of the program. I could tell that they were proud of their accomplishments in learning the challenging EMT and fire fighting skills. Seniors will take their certification tests next week, they said.

Today, Dec. 10, is the United Nations International Day of Human Rights, so we invited students to contribute to a poster about the rights they value most. Freedom of speech was the most often cited. We had a few copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights available for students to see.

Thanks to all students and staff who welcomed us and made use of our resources today!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Iraq War veteran, Jason Hurd's Letter to America

Posted today on The Huffington Post:

In honor of Veterans Day, Huffington Post Impact and Causecast present Salute To Service, a week-long series honoring the remarkable men and women of America's armed forces. Each day, a war veteran will share a personal essay about victories and struggles during war and in its aftermath, as well as nonprofit projects to support at home.

My name is Jason Hurd, a 31-year-old Iraq Veteran from Kingsport, Tenn. I served 10 years as a U.S. Army combat medic from 1997 to 2007.

After spending four years on active duty at Fort Lewis, Wash., I joined the Tennessee National Guard and deployed to central Baghdad from 2004 to 2005. I went to Iraq knowing that our occupation was both illegal and immoral, but as a medic I felt a duty to deploy with my fellow soldiers. The mission of the Army's medical corps is "to conserve the fighting strength," i.e. the medic must ensure the health and combat readiness of each soldier under his care.

I forged strong relationships with soldiers in my unit; we were close friends. What if one of them were killed or injured? Could another medic provide the same level of care I could? Despite my moral reservations, I thought my unit would do some positive things during deployment: protect Iraqi civilians and help them rebuild their country.

I was wrong. You can't protect people while simultaneously oppressing them.

My experiences in occupied Iraq traumatized me. I returned home angry, with debilitating depression and vivid memories playing through my mind like an eight-millimeter reel: dead soldiers, dead civilians, car bombs, IEDs, rockets, the smell of open sewage, bodies splattered on walls, U.S. soldiers firing at unarmed Iraqis. The war followed me home. Despite a rudimentary understanding of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), I never expected the condition to exact such a toll on my life. I destroyed numerous relationships, was fired from my job, attempted suicide in a friend's bathroom, and spent a week on the psychiatric ward at Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, N.C. -- all within three years of returning home from Iraq.

Healing the trauma of war never happens overnight and often means a lifelong struggle. In that context, healing requires at least two things: a long-term commitment to health and a supportive community. I found that commitment and community when I joined Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) in August 2007. We are a group of active duty service members and veterans having served since September 11, 2001. IVAW's mission and goals are three-fold: immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, reparations paid to Iraqis and Afghans for the destruction we've caused and full benefits for all returning veterans regardless of discharge status.

In pursuit of our goals, IVAW recently launched our first national campaign called Operation Recovery: Stop the Deployment of Traumatized Troops. While IVAW seeks to end deployments for all troops, the current wars continue in part because our government denies troops their basic right to heal.

According to the Department of Defense's own conservative reports, 17 percent of those currently deployed in Afghanistan take at least one psychotropic drug -- an antidepressant, a sleeping pill, an anxiety medication -- the same drugs that I am prescribed as a disabled veteran. Up to half of deployed troops suffer from PTSD. Sixty percent of women serving in the National Guard and Reserve, along with 27 percent of men, experience Military Sexual Trauma (MST).

According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, the DOD can't even establish that service members are mentally fit to deploy nor can it ensure accurate mental health assessments when they return. Is it a good idea to deploy a soldier multiple times after she's been raped? Should we deploy Marines who require psychological help now? Should we force troops to deploy after receiving closed head injuries?

According to current DOD policy, a unit commander can force a traumatized troop to deploy against a medical professional's advice -- all in the name of "combat readiness". I believe these practices are egregious and violate our country's most basic values. GIs deserve to heal from their wounds -- both visible and invisible -- before we hand them weapons and return them on a fourth, fifth or sixth combat tour.

IVAW cannot accomplish this alone. Our government needs traumatized troops to fuel the occupations overseas. We need you to fight with us. Visit to learn more about our campaign and sign the pledge supporting no more deployments for traumatized troops.

SOY table at Reagan HS

We gave some literature to the career office at Reagan HS, and as we were walking through the hallway, we saw the display pictured above. We question the implication that military service leads to higher education and greater income. In fact, it usually doesn't.

The US Bureau of Labor reports that veterans have higher unemployment rates than non-veterans. For women veterans aged 18 - 24, the unemployment rate is double that of nonveteran women in the same age group (16.3% unemployment among vets vs. 8.4% among non-vets according to 2007 statistics). And homelessness is also higher for veterans compared with nonveterans. Approximately one third of homeless adults in the US are vets, when vets only comprise about 11% of the general population.

Veterans face post-traumatic stress injuries that can make family and work life more difficult on many levels. Beginning salaries for enlistees are low, considering the long hours that are required for most assignments. Fewer than half of veterans get a college degree with their GI Bill benefits, partly because family responsibilities and military duties often don't leave enough time for school.

A surer path toward higher education and higher paying jobs is to attend college sooner rather than later and not trade 8 years of your early adult life for a military contract.

photos: Top: Jason and Hart, Iraq Veterans Against the War, with our table. Bottom: A display in the hall outside the college and career room.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Under The Hood Cafe benefit tonight

Great piece by Alice Embree, board member of Under The Hood Cafe and Outreach Center in Killeen, Texas:

We can’t give you anything...
Making the war personal

By Alice Embree / The Rag Blog / November 14, 2010

We can’t give you anything but war, buddy
That’s the only thing we’ll hire you for, buddy...

These lyrics, to the tune of “I can’t give you anything but love, baby," were on my mind as several of us made a now familiar drive to Killeen, Texas, last weekend. The words were written by Vernell Pratt of the 70s-era Soeur Queen.. They have a relevant ring in this recession.

I probably wouldn’t have known anyone in our current “volunteer” army if I hadn’t gotten involved with the coffeehouse Under the Hood in Killeen, Texas. Comparisons are often made to the Vietnam-era GI resistance, particularly because Under the Hood’s predecessor, the Oleo Strut, was well known in that resistance.

Yes, there was a Vietnam-era draft that made the war personal for a generation. You could avoid mucking through the jungles in the boot-steps of French colonialists if you were privileged. George W. Bush is certainly an example. But what was markedly different was the economic landscape. This recession has provided a perfect storm for military recruitment. Piled onto the jobless landscape, you have escalating college, health care, and housing costs.

The soldiers entering the military in the post-911 atmosphere do so for reasons of patriotism and pocketbook. They are lured by lies about Iraq’s relationship to the Twin Towers and never told about the previous U.S. relationship with jihadists in Afghanistan while the Russians were there. But the lure of steady pay, bonuses, and benefits is almost a no-brainer given the devastated job market.

Monthly paychecks, housing subsidies, recruitment bonuses, deployment bonuses, medical and dental care for soldiers and their dependents, post-discharge VA care, and assistance for education. It is no accident that soldiers refer to their “job” and their “contract” all the time. It is no accident that any soldier who resists a deployment is forced to make a careful calculus of the monetary cost. An “Other Than Honorable” discharge often means re-paying a bonus, losing healthcare, and losing access to college assistance.

The Baby Boomers who were in Austin remember college with $70 rents, tuition of $50 a semester, coffee for seven cents in the Chuck Wagon. Not so, in this environment where college graduation means the “commencement” of daunting loan payoff.

Meanwhile we veer through the current political landscape with blinders. Does anyone, besides Michael Moore, ever speak about the relationship of mounting deficits and endless war? Does anyone really believe that continuing tax cuts for the wealthy has a relationship to job creation? Haven’t the tax cuts been in place? How’s that been working out for job creation?

We are in one of the best run shill games ever. Stagnant wage growth, transfer of wealth to the wealthiest, a ransacked job market, global companies packing manufacturing jobs off to the lowest bidders on the planet. The “housing bubble” was a Wall Street con man’s paradise with average folks piling on debt and Wall Street trading derivatives of that debt until the house of cards fell down and they got bailed out with taxpayer dollars.

Meanwhile, back at Fort Hood in Killeen, suicides are continuing their record-breaking pace. Multiple deployments with no end in sight have taken their toll with outright casualties and walking casualties, with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We hear about it on Veteran’s Day and then almost everyone tunes it out.

Please don’t tune out an alternative this Sunday. Support Under the Hood’s mission to provide a free speech zone, a pro-soldier, anti-war presence a mile from the gates of the largest military base in the country, Fort Hood. Sunday, November 14th, 6-11, Jovita’s in Austin, $10 dollars. If you can't attend, you can support Under the Hood through its website, here.

[Alice Embree is a long-time Austin activist and organizer, a former staff member of The Rag in Austin and RAT in New York, and a veteran of SDS and the women's liberation movement. She is active with CodePink Austin and Under the Hood Café. Embree is a contributing editor to The Rag Blog and is secretary of the New Journalism Project.]

photo from Under The Hood

Saturday, November 13, 2010

They Speak

It was inspiring to hear the poetry presented during today's round of the Texas Youth Word Collective They Speak poetry slam series. The next slam will be held in the same location: Ruta Maya Coffee House on South Congress on Saturday, Dec. 11. Workshop at 2 pm and slam at 3 pm.
Be there!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Our SOY table today at Akins HS

It was good to have a table today at Akins High School, one of the largest schools in our district. Hart and I also appreciated talking with a St. Edwards University student who came to observe us for a thesis she is writing about recruiting in the schools.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Youth Poetry Slam season in full swing

An announcement from the good folks at the Texas Youth Word Collective:


THEY SPEAK YOUTH POETRY SLAM - SEASON #9!Presented by the Texas Youth Word Collective
EVENT: They Speak Youth Poetry Slam
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 13th, 2010, 3 pm
(slam sign-up from 2:30-3:00)(Writing Workshop – 2:00pm)
ADMISSION: $5 cover, free for slam participants
PLACE: Ruta Maya World Headquarters,
3601 S. Congress, Austin , Texas 78704
CONTACTS: Dr. Sheila Siobhan (512) 422-6653, Co-Director
Ron Horne (512-632-5033, Co-Director

Okay. One down, five to go. The first slam of the new season saw a slew of students from McCallum High School. What they lacked in experience they more than made up for in enthusiasm. In fact, based on her performance, one of their students is half way toward qualifying for next spring’s They Speak Slam Off. She was joined by another new voice, a freshman at UT, and a member of last year’s They Speak team. McCallum sent many new voices to this year’s slam. We can’t wait to hear more new poets with new poems from schools throughout the Austin area. Come on Round Rock; come on Del Valle; come on AISD, you’re not gonna let Pflugerville show you up are you?! We hope to see more schools send more students to compete to make a spot on the 2011 They Speak Youth Slam team to take on the world next year in the City by the Bay: San Francisco!!!

In Los Angeles this past July, your Austin 2010 They Speak Youth Slam Team out-performed dozens of other youth slam teams from across the country and around the world to make the semi-finals of the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. This team was sooooo good; they were the first Austin team to make the semi’s since 2004. They were, in a word, exceptional. Their poems were soulful, clever, and poignant; mamas were crying, boys were cheering, and tears flowed like rivers in their final bout. The team made us proud in L.A.

So, come help us continue to launch this, our 9th season of the city wide youth poetry slam - They Speak Youth Poetry Slam. This year we are back in our old house, Ruta Maya World Headquarters on South Congress. And just like when we started, we’re starting back on Saturday afternoons, we’ll be in the old spot with the old vibe, and we will be starting on time, promptly at 3pm for the benefit of those who show up on time and our venue owner. We’re still going to have the same great dj, another great host (secret released prior to the show), some of last year’s phenomenal youth poets, as well as some surprising, great new faces to rock your world as they do every year.

We are conducting writing and performance workshops by none other than National Poetry Slam Finalist, and two-time Austin Slam Champion, Christopher Michael as well as other nationally reknowned writers and performers here in the Austin area. Christopher Micael coached the 2010 They Speak Youth Poetry Slam Team all the way to the Semi-Finals of the Brave New Voices International Youth Slam Festival, an achievement that hasn't been copied since 2004. Aspiring writers and performers will have the unique opportunity to work with, and learn from, a nationally well-known and respected spoken word artist. We ask parents and teachers to encourage their children and students to attend.

We invite you to see what all the excitement is about and be inspired by the voices and leaders of tomorrow. Those participants between the ages of 13 and 19 will be eligible to compete for a spot on the team we take to Brave New Voices 2011 in the Bay Area, San Francisco, California.

Please come for an afternoon of stirring, thought-provoking poetry. This project is funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Monday, November 1, 2010

SOY welcomed at Bowie HS

Hart and I had a SOY literature table today at Bowie HS and were welcomed by many students. They were interested in the screened patches, and we are now out of the panda design, which proved the most popular. Hart again offered to write students' names in Arabic for them, and many students asked him to do that. The peace wheel and literature were of interest, too. This was our busiest table at Bowie that we can remember.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Success: students in Bay area opt out of Pentagon's data base

Check out this good news from students and allies out in Oakland, CA who are organized as BAYPEACE (Better Alternatives for Youth). In their latest achievement toward protecting students from unwanted contact from military recruiters, they worked with the school board in San Francisco to allow students to opt out of the Pentagon's "JAMRS" data base. Here is their report:

Another Victory for Student Privacy from the JAMRS Military Recruiting Database!
On October 12, 2010 the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Board unanimously passed Resolution No. 108-24A1— a Recommitment of the San Francisco Unified School District to Further Protect Student Privacy from Military Recruitment.

The resolution, presented by Commissioner Sandra Lee Fewer, was the third "JAMRS opt out" resolution inspired by the BAY-Peace Youth Manifesto Campaign. BAY-Peace: Better Alternatives for Youth, working in partnership with the American Friends Service Committee, is behind the three year, grassroots, youth-led campaign aimed at raising students' awareness of their right to opt out of having their personal information sold to the military by the private military recruiting database called "JAMRS."

According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, Joint Advertising Market Research Studies (JAMRS), is a private database funded by the Department of Defense with the goal of maximizing recruitment efforts. In 2005, the Pentagon announced the existence of the JAMRS Database—a massive registry of 30 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 25 for military recruitment purposes.

The JAMRS database includes information such as name, date of birth, gender, mailing address e-mail address, race and ethnicity, telephone number, high school name, graduation date, Grade Point Average, college intent, military interest, field of study and the student's ASVAB test score. The information is collected from a wide range of public and private sources, unbeknownst to the youth themselves or to their parents. A 2007 lawsuit by the New York Civil Liberties Union won the right of students to keep their personal information from being sold to the military by opting out of the JAMRS database.

These new Student Privacy resolutions in Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco each require that a "Joint Advertising Market Research Studies (JAMRS) opt-out form to be included in every high school student's registration packet" to inform students of their right to tell JAMRS not to sell their personal information to military recruiters. They also require that opt-out forms to be made visibly available at all Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco High School campuses.

The three districts already provide the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) opt-out form to protect students from unwanted pursuit by military recruiters. However, since most students and parents are not aware that their information is also being collected by JAMRS, a second opt-out form is considered to be necessary for further protection.
The Student Privacy Resolutions address the increased use of detailed personal information by military recruiters to target those young people whose options are limited by the economic crisis. In the words of Phuong Vuong, a teacher and organizer with BAY-Peace, "As a school District serving working class students of color, the population most targeted by military recruiters, the San Francisco Unified School District should do all it can to support youth to have fulfilling opportunities, opportunities that really embrace life and intellectual development."

Luis Montoya, a BAY-Peace Youth Action Team member, got loud applause from the crowd when he expressed his appreciation to the San Francisco Board for giving students the right to protect their privacy. "You are giving voices to the voiceless, and we all know that nobody can avoid the voices of the voiceless. So thank you!"

Board President, Jane Kim expressed her surprise that a second opt out form was necessary to protect student privacy. "I had no idea that there was a private company that was giving out student information to the military, and I'm really glad that Commissioner Fewer was able to follow up and to work with our legal office... to bring forward a policy for our district as well." Ms. Kim thanked the American Friends Service Committee for bringing the JAMRS issue to the attention of the Board.
Sandra Schwartz, of the American Friends Service Committee testified to the importance of protecting students from the "...extremely aggressive military recruiting practices that occur... At last count we are working in twenty five schools throughout the Bay Area and some of those schools have recruiters on campus every week."

According to Commissioner Jill Wynn, "Our district has always had a strong, strong tradition of opposing military recruiting in the schools... Our policy is quite clear. We follow the specific letter of the law and that is that we allow the same access, and only the same access, that we allow to other post secondary options for students... Military recruiters believe they can track people down, follow them around the school yard, go after them over and over again and come back to the school whenever they want to... We've had military recruiters say that 'the law requires you to let me in here whenever I want to' and that is absolutely untrue." Commissioner Hydra Mendoza also expressed her frustration with military recruiters who attempt to have free access to students. "I also want to publicly say to the recruiters that you're not welcome in our schools."

BAY-Peace has recently received funding to support their Youth Action Team to get the word out to community activists in school districts around the country about the JAMRS military recruiting database. Grants from the A. J. Muste Foundation, Resist and the Rose and Sherle Wagner Foundation will help BAY-Peace youth to distribute copies of our new video called "The List," which was produced with youth from The Factory this summer, to educate students about their right to opt out of JAMRS. Please join them in supporting this important project!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Our SOY table today at McCallum HS

Hart and I had a great school visit at McCallum HS today. Photos above. A few observations:
Quite a few students lingered and then brought friends over to the table. They participated in the penny poll (the environment jar had the most votes for federal budget priorities), peace wheel and "I'd rather buy" fliers, which we posted on the bulletin board behind us. The most popular patch design was probably the one of the pandas eating bamboo. Animals are important!
Several students staffed a Breast Cancer Awareness table across from us. It makes me sad that young people have to be worried about cancer. Our message about the environmental costs of war and militarism tie in with that.
McCallum is the arts magnet school, and it's always great to see the student art that is on display in the halls, a couple of photos of which are above.

Friday, September 24, 2010

SOY table at Lanier High School

We had our first Sustainable Options for Youth literature table of the fall semester at Lanier HS today. Hart and I were pleased to see so many students come by the table and participate with the peace wheel of fortune, the penny poll and the "I'd rather buy..." posters, which we put up on the bulletin board behind us.

Hart is studying Arabic at ACC this semester and offered to write students' names in Arabic script to take with them, and that was popular.

Photos above of our table, silkscreened cloth patches (peace wheel prizes), posters filled out by students, penny poll (early on) and some of the paintings that Lanier has displayed on their walls.