Tabling at Buffalo Grove HS November 13, 2017

War Resisters International has designated the week of November 20 - 26 a call to action against the militarization of youth. We decided to work with that theme and explore the question "What is militarization". We came up with a list of things that demonstrate militarization of society; things that demonstrate de-militarization of society. Shari turned them into a bunch of cubes with the idea of having the students roll the die and identify if the thing demonstrates militarization or demilitarization. To date, the game hasn't been particularly popular. I had not seen the cubes until today so I wasn't prepared with a sign but I came up with one since and will try at Wheeling November 14.

In any case, we decided to give it another try in December. Maybe with some better signage; clearer explanation?

Otherwise it was rather quiet at BG today. Several students signed up for the peace club.

One of the security guards had not heard that the young man that opened fire on the Baptist church in Texas had been in the Air Force. He was horrified. Especially after I told him that the Army has decided to relax their prohibition on admitting people with a history of mental illness. They did this in August. It will be interesting to see if they reverse this after the recent Texas shooting.

Talked with one teacher that had signed an online petition to impeach our President. But he was disturbed to see his name published after he had done so. It made me wonder how cautious teachers are about expressing their political views.


Tabling at Rolling Meadows HS November 7, 2017

It has been a quiet day at Rolling Meadows High School.

At school, I was positioned near the soda pop and candy machines in the cafeteria. A student trying to buy something from one of the machines requested my assistance. The machine she was trying to use wouldn't accept the coin she had thought was a quarter. She asked to trade it to me for a quarter, and I obliged. She bought her treat from the machine and went on her way.

I examined the coin, and saw that it was a Polish zloty. According to the internet, it's worth about $.27. So I guess I made money on the deal. ;-) I'll pass it on to a friend who has a small international coin collection. They'll get a kick out of it.

The first lunch period I mostly saw folks who were interested in candy. At least I have packages of fresh Starburst candies.  I tasted a new flavor from my new package: blackberry. Pretty good.

Early in the second lunch period a couple female students came by, and we talked about colleges.  I'm still painfully aware, based on my experience with my kid, that the college and career office here is horrible. I think I was helpful to one of the future college students today.  Maybe?

I have seen a couple different boys sauntering past in U.S. Navy t-shirts. IDK if they have been recruited or what.

I haven't gotten anybody interested in the game. I have plenty of candy prizes if anyone comes along.  I have the Peace club sign up sheet on the table. No interest today.

Several students came by and took peace buttons.

A girl with health issues that make her ineligible for military service stopped by.  She seemed interested in the demilitarization idea, but didn't stay long enough to learn about the game.

Our prolific writer at RMHS stopped by the table. He said he had articles he had written. I urged him to email them to me.

As the final lunch period was drawing to a close, a pleasant young male student came by.  He wants to go to a culinary college in New Orleans. But he is convinced he can't get into college, let alone pay for it, without first serving in the military. I don't know who has apparently brainwashed this young person. I tried to convince him he had other options. I gave him one of our cards. I encouraged him to check out our website site. As bells were ringing, and he ran off to class, I urged him to talk with me at the table again next month.  I failed to get his name.


tabling at Elk Grove HS November 2, 2017

When I started unpacking my stuff at EGHS, I was horrified to discover that all my candy had been stolen from my box of peace materials that I had stored in my garage. It had all the signs of a mouse attack in the box. It shredded all my Starburst wrappers, left the shreds, and ate all the candy. I found one factory wrapped berry pomegranate Starburst unmolested. Maybe mice don't like that flavor??

When I arrived I was greeted by a pair of 12th grade girls offering to help.  Sweet young women.

Since I was focused on cleaning up rodent damage, which I didn't want to dump on them, I chatted with one of them about peace club. Evidently she hadn't been contacted about the meeting this past Monday, although I'm pretty sure she had signed up.  I asked her to write down her name and contact info for me.

For the first time in history, I'm trying to counter recruit without candy. This is not pretty. :-(

A security guy, a friend of Esther, began lambasting me about his belief that the guy who was arrested for the attack in NYC should not be hospitalized at taxpayer expense, but should be shot. "The Bible says, 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," he said.

I advised him not to start on the Bible with me, because I'm a minister, and I know more about the Bible than he does. I excused myself to go to the lady's room.  (I didn't tell him I had to go wash sticky little paw prints off my plastic sign holder.  Yech.)

May I please go home now? :-)

The special needs student who tries to take all the peace buttons asked if she could have the game cubes/dice Shari had given to me. Libby, Shari gave me 2 sets, one of which is for you. The special needs student declined to play. The student added two buttons to her collection. She picked her favorites.

I haven't gotten anybody to play the game, except for the young woman interested in the peace club, who won, but I had no candy prizes. :-(

A nice student has dropped by the table a couple times today. She told me her name.  I failed to get her to play the game.

Now that I been at the table for a while, the security guard wanders by and chats. I can always have cordial conversation with Navy veterans like him, because my brother Curtis was in the Navy, and served 2 years active duty at Gitmo during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  And because my nephew, Curtis' son Tyler, is a Marine sergeant now.  And because I grew up in a Navy town, where my parents owned and rented out apartments, mostly to Navy families.  Veterans return to special times in their youth when they tell me about their experiences.  It's easier to chat with them that way than argue with them about nonviolent conflict resolution. And they learn I'm not their enemy, but a sister and Aunt of guys like them.  And maybe I have something worthwhile to say?

A couple girls came by just now. One played the game and won the peace button of her choice. One of them took a peace patch.


tabling at WHS October 9, 2017

Wheeling has a new rule, implemented this year, which forbids students from entering the hallway until the bell rings. Since outside groups sit in the hallway outside the cafeteria, this means we can only talk to students during the passing period which isn't long. They can ask to come to our table and the security staff will let them. I put a sign up that said "Answer the question; pick a lollipop." The question was "What has the US war in Afghanistan accomplished?" It helped a bit to attract students to our table.

The answers were revealing. One young man told me the war had ended in 2007 or 2008; he wasn't exactly sure. He was shocked to find out it's actually still going on after 16 years with no end in sight. Other responses: "Shoot"; "Longest war in US history, right?"; "I have no idea" (my favorite).

Sigh. These students have nothing but war. One student told me her mother was 3 months pregnant when 9/11 happened. Another student told me she was only a couple of months old. The ignorance about this war is staggering. The fact that we get no information through the mainstream media is pathetic.

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tabling at PHS October 3, 2017

Kind of a strange day overall. This was my first visit of the year. New rule - no food in the commons area where I have my table which means I can't pass out candy. Horrors!

Although I didn't have too many visitors, those that did drop by chatted for a long time. One young man is in JROTC. He said he likes it which I understand although I told him that in general I didn't think much of military programs like JROTC in the public schools. Another young man wants to go to college to study business and computer science and then he wants to join the Marines. He feels like it would be a way to serve plus he admits he's attracted by the excitement of it. He talked about a business idea he had but then discovered someone already secured a patent for it. Smart kid.

A young woman stopped by for a minute. She attended the vigil we had in September in response to Charlottesville. She interviewed us then but I haven't checked the student newspaper to see if the interview made it in. Shortly after she left another young woman dropped by to interview me. It was right in the middle of passing period so very loud. Difficult to say how much I got across.

Several interesting discussions with security guards about Afghanistan. I've yet to find anyone that thinks we're accomplishing anything and when I point out that Saturday marks 16 years, they're flabbergasted.

I had contacted in advance one of the teachers that supports our cause. He now teaches world religions. He took flyers about the vigil to put up in his classroom.

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