Make Choices Not War

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

-By Barbara Harris

CODEPINK NYC and the Granny Peace Brigade partnered for peace at The East Harlem Youth Fair, sponsored by Councilwomen Melissa Mark-Viverito, Tuesday August 30th. We engaged the community with information about the cost of war, truth in military recruitment, and non-military options for youth after high school.  Ms Gizmo provided an opportunity for local taxpayers to determine how they would distribute their tax dollars for community needs – providing reflective moments of decision. A review of the government tax allocation pie chart, which show the actual allocation of taxes for 2012, leads to discussions about the dismal distribution of tax $$s to social and community programs and the whopping amount allocation to past and present war costs.  Comments include: Cuts, cuts, cuts to local services, can’t get an affordable apartment in East Harlem, a high school student can’t get a job and needs to work, a young boy wants art in his school.  Youth, parents, neighbors stop at the "Truth or Myth" poster display to consider the issues of military enlistment.  Participating in the interactive Q & A experience, many are not sure about the effects of post traumatic stress disorder, or treatment of girls in the military, or what kind of skill training they might get.  The fact that an enlistee signs a contract for 8 years is a big surprise to most.  “No way. I just want to get a job or some money for college.” The handout, Options for Life After High School, offers non-military alternatives to review as well as financial aid, scholarships and community service.  Lots to consider and so much to learn.

All those who stopped by the table were encouraged to fill in a sign – Make ? Not War. This activity was well received, and signs indicated such choices as: Make - friends, peace, cakes, love, and happiness.  Now wouldn’t that be just wonderful?


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