Friday, October 10, 2014
What good news to hear that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 has been awarded jointly to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India. At 17 years old, Malala Yousafzai is the youngest recipient ever of the Nobel Peace Prize. She has championed education rights for girls and, even though she is a victim of gun violence, she has taken a strong stand of nonviolence in confronting violence and inequality. Kailash Satyarthi has focused his work on ending child labor and child trafficking. Both Nobel recipients share a passion for the right of children to education and the right to not be exploited by adults.
We at SOY also believe that children should not be subject to military recruitment in schools when they are younger than 18 years old. As Malala has said and proven through her own life, the power of education is stronger than the power of a gun.
Friday, October 3, 2014
The Military Invasion of My High School
The role of JROTC
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Saturday, September 20, 2014
A news story headline from February 2013 that is part of our SOY display reads "VA: Suicides hit 22 per day." That statistic just hit home in a terrible way when we learned that beloved Iraq Veterans Against the War member, singer-songwriter, bicycle activist, peacemaker Jacob David George, took his own life this week. I remember meeting Jacob when he rolled into Austin by bicycle to attend the IVAW convention in July 2010. His energy was contagious. He crisscrossed the country on his bicycle to speak about his 3 army tours in Afghanistan and the moral injuries he sustained as a result. His efforts to speak candidly about his pain and about his own views on the war were very meaningful for those who heard him speak and sing.
Jacob tried many kinds of treatment for his combat-related post-traumatic stress injuries. He said that throwing his Army medals away during the IVAW protest at the NATO Summit in Chicago was one of the most healing actions that he had experienced. He also returned to Afghanistan on a delegation with Voices for Creative Nonviolence to offer solidarity with the Afghan Peace Volunteers there. The long term cure for war trauma is preventing war in the first place, and that was what Jacob was trying to do. We mourn his death and the war that caused it.
Here are the lyrics to his song, "Support the Troops"
“we just Need to support the troops"
well, this is from a troop
so listen carefully
what we Need are teachers who understand the history of this country
what we Need is a decent living wage, so people ain’t cold and hungry
what we Need is bicycle infrastructure spanning this beauteous nation
what we Need are more trees and less play stations
what we Need is a justice system that seeks the truth
what we Need are more books and less boots
what we Need is love
for every woman and man
from southern Louisiana
to the mountains of Afghanistan
Now, it's true
The troops need support
the support to come home
they need treatment and jobs
war ain't no good
for the human condition
I lost a piece of who I was
on every single mission
and I'm tellin’ you,
don't thank me for what I've done
give me a big hug
and let me know
we're not gonna let this happen again
because we support the troops
and we're gonna bring these wars to an end
Thanks to Jan Barry for posting these lyrics on his website
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
We provided our usual brochures on military realities, alternatives to military enlistment, and an assortment of stickers, paper folders and reprints of the comic book-style story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott that was produced by the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Students were up to the t-shirt challenge and we appreciated their ideas toward International Day of Peace (coming up on Sept. 21). Their responses to the question, "What could help stop or prevent war?" were these:
Results of the Penny Poll were almost equally tied priorities for Health Care, Education and the Environment (72, 72 and 71 pennies in those jars, respectively), 52 pennies for Humanitarian Aid and 42 pennies for the Military.
It was good to see this poster for a Global Student Leaders Summit on environmental sustainability and the announcement about the Spring 2015 trip to Costa Rica as part of that. Austin HS has an Academy for Global Studies. We agree that knowing more about the world is part of the solution!
Thursday, August 28, 2014
This summer, my cousin, Yusuf, a high school student in Pennsylvania, had a great job. He worked with the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) for 8 weeks, full-time at Valley Forge National Park.
YCC connects young people between the ages of 15 and 18 with work projects that help protect public lands in our national park system. The Corps was founded in 1970. Applicants are chosen by lottery, so previous park experience is not necessary. Pay is federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher.
I asked Yusuf about his summer job:
Q: How did you learn about the program and how did you apply?
So, if you are in high school and looking for a summer job that would help protect our environment and give you good job experience, consider applying to the Youth Conservation Corps. Thanks, Yusuf!
photos from the Valley Forge National Park flickr site