March 8 was Parent-Teacher Conference night at NYC high schools when parents meet with their children’s teachers. Volunteers from the Granny Peace Brigade and anti-military friends were outside high schools to greet parents and hand them two flyers. This action is part of the Granny Peace Brigade’s demilitarization of youth in public high schools campaign.
Our flyers provide information about non-military options for life after HS and also suggest questions to ask recruiters who are promoting enlistment. It’s our mission to provide information and resources to counter the military recruitment hype.
Options for Life after High School gives families a helping hand to survey many websites and resources for job skills training, scholarships, financial aid, community outreach, volunteer programs. Download: Non-Military Options for Life After High School
Questions to Ask – Points to Consider providing information on military recruitment practices and promises and offers questions to ask and responses to expect in order to inform families and the student of misleading or unclear information. Download: Questions to Ask – Points to Consider Before Enlisting
Parents are friendly and thank us for this information. As a volunteer notes: This is an important one-on-one interaction, and very possibly gives a would-be recruit pause to consider alternatives to the military. School staff members are interested as well. At several schools, a teacher or guidance counselor took several copies of the flyers to share inside the school.
This action shows how many parents want to end war and provide better educational opportunities for their children.
Parent/teacher conference night occurs twice a year. If you are interested in volunteering for our next action, please contact us.
Students not Soldiers! Barbara Harris for the Granny Peace Brigade
Call Sen. Schumer
Washington (202) 224-6542,
NYC (212) 486-4430,
Syracuse (315) 423-5471
It’s often hard to get through to Washington offices, but Syracuse staffers will take messages and send them to Washington offices.
Blocking the entrance to the US Mission to the UN, 15 peace activists from the Catholic Worker Movement, Granny Peace Brigade, Raging Grannies, among others, called for ending the blockade of Yemen, together with ending the intensive bombing of homes, water and sanitation infrastructure being assisted by the USA, and resulting in a million cases of cholera (reported as the largest outbreak in a country in recent times) and millions of cases of severe and acute child malnutrition, an estimate of 7 million facing starvation, new outbreaks of dengue and diphtheria, and thousands dead and tens of thousands injured.. With more than 50% of hospitals destroyed, many health workers unable to work due to the bombings or fleeing the violence, shortages of all foods and depleted medical supplies due to the blockade, limit help reaching the most at risk. Yemen is now facing the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world.
A Rally of at Ralph Bunche Park started the day’s events, with several speakers including David McReynolds, two times a presidential candidate, Carmen Trotta, Catholic Worker Movement, Kate Alexander, Peace Action, and Isaac Evans-Franz who also read a moving statement on the situation of children and women by a leading American-Yemeni activist, each presenting insights into the conflict. The US is not alone in arming and aiding the Saudi-led bombings: Canada, France, England, Germany among others are culpable in the destruction of Yemen, which has been and continues to be the poorest country in the Region. Politically, the civil war is very complex, and many feel there will not be a military solution. Efforts are underway by peace groups to urge our Congress to take action to end the US complicity in the war, which started in 2015 by President Obama, but now is intensified by Donald Trump. While Trump has asked the Saudis to end the blockade to enable humanitarian action, the US has not taken a stance to end the bombing. Of course not, as we have sold billions of $$$ worth of bombs and advanced weaponry to the Saudis and, recently, reported sold cluster bombs, deemed illegal under a UN treaty.
Two groups of protestors formed, one marching to the US UN Mission, with a group wearing vests with the photo of an infant/child from Yemen, immediately blocking the entrance. A crowd of about 50 supported their action! A second group proceeded to the Saudi Arabia UN Mission.
At the US Mission, the group was left unhindered for almost an hour, but then the police moved in, normal warning to leave or be arrested given, and then proceeded with the arrests. Alice, (Raging Granny/GPB) said one officer was a bit nasty commenting that they were wasting police time on a day when NYC faced its first suicide bomber attempt.
Alice responded, that as grandmothers, we are concerned about children dying here, Yemen, anywhere. Later, she mentioned other police at the jail were more supportive specifically saying they have the right to stand for what they believe. Bev and Joan also felt the police were generally polite.
Joan though had a problem. In the jail, she was asked to remove her shoelaces. Then the cop noticed the string around her trousers. He asked her to remove it, but Joan said she had nothing underneath! He relented to allow her to keep her pants up!
At the Saudi Arabia Mission, a smaller group gathered. There was no indication that the Mission was there….in the Institute of International Education (II E) office building. So a protestor held a sign indicating the site was also the Saudi Mission. There were more police than demonstrators! We peacefully blocked the main doors, but a side door remained open. Just before the arrests at the US Mission began, all but two remained. At that time, with only two of us (Florino-peace action and I) there, security said we were blocking the door.! We thought they were going to arrest us! To our surprise, not today. As people entered and left, I called out: “end the blockade; stop bombing Yemen.” A man came out, looking particularly distinguished, walking towards a black diplomatic car, with someone who looked like a bodyguard. So I shouted my mantra! The gentleman turned his head to see where it was coming from. He didn’t look happy. Was he the Ambassador? Senior person in the Mission? Don’t know. But think they got our message.
What was achieved? The crowd today was limited as much of the city was closed due to a bombing attempt. Media coverage limited to bloggers and some international news agencies, as NY media was across town. But still our presence was registered. And we will be back! Until the dying/killing in Yemen ends.
We thank the organizers of the day’s events: Felton Davis, Carmen Trotta, and their colleagues from Catholic Worker; Isaac Evans-Franz, Action Corps NYC, among others. It is noted that other demonstrations were also underway this day in LA and Washington, DC by CodePink.
Join the weekly vigils every Saturday 11-1pm currently at the CUBE at Astor Place.
We urge calls and letters/emails to our Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and to our House members: Let Yemen Live!
– Marty Rajandran with Eva-Lee, Joan, Bev, Barbara H, Barbara W, Nydia, Alice
Last month, the Granny Peace Brigade walked up 5th Avenue with Vets for Peace in the Veterans Day commemorations. As usual, we were virtually at the end, followed by high schoolers, both boys and girls, proudly marching in proper soldier form, from various J-ROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training) groups In the city. Teens marching as soldiers, sometimes with mock rifles, is not our vision for these children.
And so we were at City Hall once again on 30 November, a day all city councilors would be present, to continue our campaign to get the military out of our schools.
$1.5 million of NYC taxpayer money is spent on J-ROTC. The balance funded by the Defense Department. Our vision for these young students is a well-rounded education. Too many of our high schools no longer have sports, music, art, vocational-skills classes, all of which also teach discipline, team-work, communicating and other skills.
Join us on 7 December at City Hall, first on the streets at 12 noon and then to a session of the City Council Education Committee.
STUDENTS NOT SOLDIERS
Marty Rajandran with Ann, Barbara H., Eva-Lee, Joan, Regina, Nydia and Phyllis Parade photos: Bud Korotzer
City Hall Photos: Eva-Lee Baird
On Saturday, Nov 11 members of the Granny Peace Brigade were honored to join Veterans For Peace in the parade up Fifth Avenue in NYC…
“…to increase public awareness of the Costs of War, restrain our government from intervening in the internal affairs of other nations, End the arms race, Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, seek justice for Veterans and all victims of war, and to Abolish War as an instrument of national policy…. “This year with a rise of hate and fear, we must end reckless rhetoric and military interventions that endanger the entire world. Instead of celebrating militarism, we want to celebrate peace and all humanity. We demand an end to all forms of hate, patriarchy and white supremacy and we call for unity, fair treatment and equality for all. We call for tearing down of walls between borders and people. We call for an end to all hostilities at home and around the globe. Today the U.S. has a president who says diplomacy with North Korea is a waste of time. Diplomacy is in fact the only hope.
War is an immoral and tragic waste. The world has said it before and is saying it again now.
NO to WAR!”*
First two photos and first slide show – Bud Korotzer Second slide show – Eva-Lee Baird for the Granny Peace Brigade
Volunteer activists and parents attending Parent Teacher Conference night met briefly in front of 12 NYC public high schools. Parents were at the school for a scheduled conference with their child’s teacher, and volunteers were distributing 2 flyers providing anti-military educational information. Parents accepted the flyers with much appreciation.
Questions to Ask – Points to Consider Before Enlisting offers questions to be asked military recruiters as well as responses to the information and ‘promises’ made to students. This helps families and youth better understand the recruiting jargon and to not accept misleading information. Leave our kids alone.
The Non-Military Options for Life After High School flyer gives families a helping hand to survey many college websites, resources for job skills training, technical and trade programs, financial aid, and scholarship opportunities. Parents appreciated receiving this flyer.
It became obvious that parents do not want their children to enlist. Many expressed an anti-war message. This is an action where you realize how many want to end war and provide a non-military educational experiences for their children during their years in high school.
At John F Kennedy, Jr. High School a male volunteer had the opportunity to talk for several minutes with a group of five male teenagers. One of these young men was considering a military career, but decided to think about it more deeply after he told him, “Trump wants you.” He also asked them, “Do you want to fight their wars?” Rod gave them a role model.
A mother offered a sign of relief. I’ll look at the Options websites with my child. I wanted info about City College financial aid. We were confused, and I haven’t received any assistance from the guidance counselor.
A volunteer chatted with one teacher who was interested in our materials, took 4 copies and promised to distribute them to her students – it doesn’t get better than that.
Volunteers receive gratitude from parents for the information. All who volunteered, although they had little time for conversation with parents, made a difference. It is appreciated when someone cares about their child’s future, is willing to stand in front of the High School, and generously reaches out with educational information and advice they rarely receive.
Thanks to the volunteers for their commitment to this action – to provide families with non-military educational information and options. We will be back at the high schools March, 2018. Keep posted – perhaps you will join us at that time.
PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCE NIGHT – at NYC PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS
Call for Volunteers – Thursday, November 9, 2017
Resist Military Recruitment * Reject Militarism
President Trump has been quite outspoken about ensuring a strong military “the most tremendous”. To realize his mission, $92 billion has been added to the military budget in support of Department of Defense war activities and for increased recruitment in all military branches. At the same time, an estimated $9.2 billion will be cut from the public school Education Budget.*
Military recruiters continue their relentless pursuit of high school students as potential soldiers. Endless war and the threat of new military involvement require a trained and ready young military force. A recruiter’s work is never done. High school students are their bread and butter and enlisting students is their goal. It’s our responsibility to counter the recruiter’s outreach.
Join us for the Parent Teacher Conference Night Action:
Thursday, November 9th, 5:00pm -6:30pm at high schools throughout the city.
Volunteers distribute 2 flyers to students and parents:
1. A resource guide highlighting non-military job training programs, college financial and scholarship opportunities, and community service programs for students to reach their goals.
2. Questions to ask recruiters, the truth and reality of military service, and facts underlying the military recruiter’s promises.
To volunteer for the Parent Teacher Conference Night leafleting action please contact us for more details. A brief training session can be arranged at your request.
Let’s end war one youth at a time. Your time will be well spent and may make a significant difference for a student and family.
Counter Recruitment – Granny Peace Brigade NYC
For additional information on counter-recruiting and materials that you can download, go to: www.grannypeacebrigade.org and select the Counter Recruitment page.
*President Trump’s budget proposal, released in March, seeks to cut education funding by $9.2 billion overall. It would take away some federal support, such as money for the Special Olympics and a reading initiative, while promoting school vouchers and boosting dollars for charter schools.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, said the plan is “an historic investment in America’s students.”
To others, it is anything but. Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Assn., called it a “wrecking ball”, California Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said “it fails,” and Obama administration Education Secretary John B. King Jr. called it “an assault on the American dream.”
We have bombed them killing civilians and children. We helped Saudi Arabia kill over 10, 000 (still counting) with the sale of weapons and refueling of the bombers we sold them. And now FAMINE threatens this country, one of the poorest in the world! Millions!
The GPB joined a week long action across from the UN from 10-16 April organized by the New York Catholic Worker Community with many other groups. Around 20 fasted in support of the Yemeni people calling for:
Ending of all drone attacks and military special operations within Yemen;
End to US weapon sales and military aid to Saudi Arabia;
Compensation to those who suffered losses due to US air strikes.
the UN to end a blockade and air strikes, a silencing of all weapons, and a negotiated settlement to the war in Yemen.
Fifty-five US Congress Members including NYC’s Nadler have signed a letter to POTUS expressing concern for our actions in Yemen. This is just a first step. We must ensure the blockade ends and that UN food aid reaches starving children.
What can we do when so few seem to care?
Let your Congress members know YOU care!
NYC Parent Teacher Conference Night provides an opportunity to bring non-military alternatives and educational opportunities to families. On the evening of March 23, 2017, volunteers were at 11 high schools handing out 2 flyers to parents as they arrived to meet with their child’s teachers. Flyer information includes websites for colleges, training programs, community service, scholarships and financial aid as well as questions to ask recruiters in order to better understand the hype of enlistment promises and military service requirements.
With just a few words, “Consider non-military alternatives to the military for your child, check out the many websites, learn more about financial aid and the many opportunities available for your child” parents accept the information often with a thank you included.
Several parents stop to speak with volunteers for more information or to share their thoughts.
One parent commented that there had been some kind of assembly to inform parents about this, but that it was perfectly useless. She was so happy to have all the info in the palm of her hand.
One mother told a volunteer that her son was approached by recruiters as he got out of the subway at the 125th St station on his way home from school. The mom said the recruiters gave her son appealing stuff, for example, a water bottle. Her son seemed to be considering enlisting and she was concerned.
A mother who had been approached by recruiters when she was in dental assistant school never knew how the recruiters got her personal contact info. She said they were persistent. She didn’t want recruiters to be taking to her kid.
The reward of meeting a parent and hearing ‘Thank you for helping me understand and providing information’ is the reward volunteers receive. And thanks to all the volunteers for their time, effort and commitment to providing non-military alternatives to families – you have made a difference.
We hope you will join us in November when we will bring our message and information to parents at NYC high schools again.
Students not Soldiers, Barbara Harris
Photos: Eva-Lee Baird for the Granny Peace Brigade
Committed to the struggle to make a safe and peaceful world for all children and grandchildren