tabling at Prospect HS 12/1/2015

Really good day at Prospect today.

Two young women stopped by. They saw the word "peace" in our tablecloth and that caught their attention. After I explained who we are they immediately wanted to know what they could do to help - give money, whatever. I encouraged them to write something for the zine. I asked them if they would be interested in starting a peace club. They really liked that idea. When I suggested they ask Mr. Camardella if he would be willing to be the sponsor, they said they were thinking the same thing. I told them to tell Mr Camardella that they would do all the work with our help. Hopefully something will come of this.

Later a young man stopped by. We got to talking and he ended up sitting and talking to me for the entire lunch hour. He said he was diagnosed as ADHD as a child and we had a long conversation about whether he has a "defect" or just learns in a different way. We had a long wide-ranging conversation about problems in the world, how to fix them, tolerance, respecting people's differences, how high school really sucks for a lot of young people.

He started a meditation club at Prospect and has found meditation very helpful in his life. He also is very interested in a peace club. He pointed out, quite accurately, that our method of tabling at the school and trying to change hearts and minds through a series of short conversations isn't particularly useful; that we need to use more social media. He's absolutely right.

And for whatever reason, Prospect always announces our group on the hall monitor -

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tabling at RMHS December 1, 2015

A bright young man named Joseph Maltese came by. He's a 9th grader at RMHS. He gave me a lengthy speech about his political views. He loves animals and cares deeply about the environment. He introduced me to Sea Shepherd, q.v. I gave him a zine and asked him to send us an article. Brilliant, articulate kid. I hope we'll hear from him. I told him our contact info was in the zine.

A 10th grader named Rebecca came by. Sharp woman! She loves to write. I gave her a zine and asked her to write and send us an article. I'm not clear where we are on the new issue.

A trio of boys, probably 9th graders, came by. Said they would write their thoughts on what the Afghanistan war has accomplished. We'll see. A young woman named Annie came by. She's a substitute security person. She lives in Mt. Prospect. She's interested in what we're doing. I gave her a zine. Lots of awesome people at RMHS today!

tabling at Buffalo Grove HS 11/11/2015

Due to an unfortunate scheduling conflict (a funeral) I switched my day at BGHS and was there on Veterans Day. Having a big sign with the caption "Today is Armistice Day. What is Armistice Day?" seemed to attract more visitors. We were pleased to find out that many of the students knew about Armistice Day. It appears it was discussed in social studies. Unfortunately many had not heard of the Kellogg-Briand Pact; including several teachers. But to be fair, I had not heard of the Kellogg-Briand Pact until a few years ago and it was because the West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition sponsors a peace essay contest every year with the pact as the focus.

Included below is the text of the handout we distributed:

What is Armistice Day?

Armistice Day is November 11

The Armistice of 1918 ended the terrible slaughter of World War I. The U.S. alone had experienced the death of over 116,000 soldiers, plus many more who were physically and mentally disabled. For one moment, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the world agreed World War I would be the war to end all wars.

On June 1, 1954, Congress changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

In 1918, after Armistice Day, a 10-year campaign launched that year resulted in the ratification of the Kellogg-Briand Pact which legally banned all war making. 

What is the Kellogg-Briand Pact?

The Kellogg-Briand Pact was a 1928 international agreement in which signatory states promised not to use war to resolve “disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them.” Parties failing to abide by this promise “should be denied of the benefits furnished by this treaty.” It was signed by Germany, France and the United States on August 27, 1928, and by most other nations soon after. Theoretically it is still in effect today.


tabling at Wheeling HS November 10, 2015

This time I decided I needed something to attract the students to my table so since it was the day before Armistice Day (aka Veterans Day) I made a sign that said "Tomorrow is Armistice Day. What is Armistice Day?" Most of the students that wandered over had not heard of Armistice Day but they had heard of Veterans Day. And most were mildly amused to realize that, when the armistice was signed, the point was to avoid any future wars. Everyone agreed that they would not use war to resolve conflict.

Hard to believe that we signed such an agreement.

The sign did help spark some discussion which was the goal. I had an interesting conversation with two young Hispanic students who had contrasting opinions on the effectiveness of war. One young man said that the wars we've been involved in recently are making us stronger and safer from terrorism. His friend took the position that they were only building up hatred and resentment of the United States and we would be better served by not interferring.


tabling at Elk Grove HS November 5, 2015

Tabling was a bit slow last Thursday, aside from the cake shots donated from a local bakery and being sold as a fund raiser for needy kids … then three young male students walked over wondering what my table was about and why I was there.

So, I asked my usual question ”are any of you thinking of joining the military?” One young man spoke up and said he and one of his friends were planning on joining. So my next question was “why?” – then I shut up and waited to hear what they had to say.

It was the usual - my grandfather was in the military, my uncles were too so I’m planning to enlist. “Why?” - to serve my country …

Then we talked a bit about how his grandfather was drafted and maybe his uncles too and he now has the ability to make his mom very happy and break the cycle.

I explain we’re not against the military; just want the students of D214 to make that decision after they’ve gone to community college, trade school or a university…mentioning how their brains aren’t developed until they’re at least age 25. Then ask the question “What if you waited to make that decision until you’re age 24/25 instead of at age 18? Do you think you’ll still make the same decision then? If you’re not sure; why commit yourself to eight years in the military?”

They think about that for a minute and I say “look. You’re sophomores now – you have a long time to think about it. Will you at least give it more thought over the next two years and allow that maybe you’ll decide against it?”

They agree that “yes, you made a good point”

So, they have some candy and go on their way ~

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