As follow-up on my Peace of the Action series covering the up-coming 20 March PEACE demonstrations across the nation Pro-PEACE Veterans and Military Families Prepare for DC Protests, we note that not only Veterans, active duty troops, but also teachers and students have joined the Peace Movement.
Yes students and teachers are beginning to take even more of an active role in the Peace Movement as they join with tens of thousands of others who will be marching on Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 20. Of not most are high school teachers and students – a group most vulnerable to military recruitment for Iraq and Afghanistan given we have NO DRAFT.
Is it not time for Academics and Students on our Colleges and Universities to take a more proactive role in Peace, or is THE DRAFT really what it will take to get your attention Below is what they have to say in high school.
ROBERT L. HANAFIN, GS-14, U.S. Civil Service-Retired, VT News
High school students and teachers speak out
“Why I’m marching on March 20”
My students are studying conflict. The question written on the board in our 8th grade Humanities class today was, “What is worth fighting for?”“Do people in Iraq think we’re terrorists?” One by one my students listed their priorities: family, freedom, independence, civil rights. I asked them if perhaps Iraqis and Afghanis also fight for these same reasons. We concluded that we all want the same things. Safety for our families, autonomy, and basic human rights. One student asked, I answer, “Only if we stay silent and let these wars continue in our name.” Truth is, I also wonder what a 13-year-old in Iraq thinks of us when she can’t go to school because of gun fighting on the sidewalks of her street. My students, too, are at war. Every time education funding gets cut and the troop levels are increased, that’s a bomb being dropped. We have more in common with Iraqi and Afghani families than with the American politicians who fiddle with our education funding and only think of us as body buffers for a continuing war. Let’s all take to the streets on March 20 in solidarity with our Iraqi and Afghani sisters and brothers. Jinnette Caceres, 8th grade teacher, New York City, New York
I hear everybody saying “CHANGE,” yet I see none occurring. So I feel that as a student, knowing what I know, I should be an up-stander in this event, let my voice be heard and make a difference.” – Lorenzo Jackson, 10th grade student, New York City, New York
Last year, the New York City Department of Education announced over $400 million in budget cuts for our public schools. These types of cuts are happening across the country and they are a death sentence for our schools. We are mobilizing for the March 20 March on Washington because we are outraged that these types of cuts are happening at a time when our government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the criminal war and occupation of Iraq, and billions more on bailouts for the richest banks and corporations. – Karina Garcia, 9th grade teacher, New York City, New York
It’s about time people realize that wars and injustice don’t just fade away. It has taken a mass movement to end the unjust wars of the past and it will take people militantly opposing war in the streets to end the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. On March 20, let’s make our voices hear loud and clear: We need money for human needs, not war! – Corey Ansel, 12th grade student, Columbus, Ohio
My students often feel disenfranchised from the government and its decision-making. Their families ride the turbulent waves of welfare, immigration, and education reform. My hope is that my students—and in turn, their families—will feel empowered both by the experience of having a voice loud enough for the government to hear, and by the realization that many people support and share their sentiments. – Melanie Mac, 11th and 12th grade teacher, New York City, New York
At one point or another, most high school students will be subjected to some kind of pitch by a military recruiter. They urge us to “defend freedom,” but it’s obvious that the only freedom the military would have us defend is the freedom of corporations to pillage other nations. They go after us because they want a steady supply of cannon fodder. We need to protest on March 20 and make it clear that high school students will not kill and die for Washington and Wall Street! – Walter Smolarek, 11th grade student, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
More information about March 20 is available at www.AnswerCoalition.org.
Help build the March 20 March on Washington!
Posted by: Bobby Hanafin, VT News
Readers are more than welcome to use the articles I’ve posted on Veterans Today, I’ve had to take a break from VT as Veterans Issues and Peace Activism Editor and staff writer due to personal medical reasons in our military family that take away too much time needed to properly express future stories or respond to readers in a timely manner.
My association with VT since its founding in 2004 has been a very rewarding experience for me.
Retired from both the Air Force and Civil Service. Went in the regular Army at 17 during Vietnam (1968), stayed in the Army Reserve to complete my eight year commitment in 1976. Served in Air Defense Artillery, and a Mechanized Infantry Division (4MID) at Fort Carson, Co. Used the GI Bill to go to college, worked full time at the VA, and non-scholarship Air Force 2-Year ROTC program for prior service military. Commissioned in the Air Force in 1977. Served as a Military Intelligence Officer from 1977 to 1994. Upon retirement I entered retail drugstore management training with Safeway Drugs Stores in California. Retail Sales Management was not my cup of tea, so I applied my former U.S. Civil Service status with the VA to get my foot in the door at the Justice Department, and later Department of the Navy retiring with disability from the Civil Service in 2000.
I’ve been with Veterans Today since the site originated. I’m now on the Editorial Board. I was also on the Editorial Board of Our Troops News Ladder another progressive leaning Veterans and Military Family news clearing house.
I remain married for over 45 years. I am both a Vietnam Era and Gulf War Veteran. I served on Okinawa and Fort Carson, Colorado during Vietnam and in the Office of the Air Force Inspector General at Norton AFB, CA during Desert Storm. I retired from the Air Force in 1994 having worked on the Air Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon.