Tag Archives: toys

Don’t Buy War Toys/Gifting that promotes life, learning and peace!

Dear Holiday Shoppers – War Is Not A Game

The Granny Peace Brigade continued its annual “Don’t Buy War Toys” campaign in one of the best known shopping areas in the USA: Herald Square…the home of Macy’s among others. In the blustery cold wind, our songs were a bit muted, but even then we were joined by a Raging Grannie from Rochester, who just happened to be walking by, and could not resist a protest song!  As usual, many thumbs ups and thank-yous and just one or two who disagreed.As we wish our friends a Merry Christmas, Happy Channuka, Happy Kwanza, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, Happy etc.,  consider giving gifts that promote life, learning, and peace!

– Marty Rajandran with Barbara H., Bev, Edith, Eva-Lee, Joan,  Nydia, Regina, Tibby
for the Granny Peace Brigade

More photos on Facebook

GRANNIES target TARGET: Don’t buy war toys!


The Granny Peace Brigade, together with the NY Metro Raging Grannies targeted TARGET, Brooklyn on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 with the annual campaign “Think Before You Buy” encouraging shoppers to consider purchasing gifts that prepare children to be compassionate, responsible adults instead of gifts that glorify violence and foster aggression.

The sound of music was in the air with the cleverly re-worded Christmas carols, reflecting the messages of peace, justice, ending poverty, no guns among others. The well crafted handout was seen to be carefully read by the passers by; the idea to avoid purchasing toy guns, for example was well received, in view of the horrific police murders of both children and adults holding toy weapons around  the country this year.

I continue to be overwhelmed by the creativity of the Grannies in re-working the traditional carols and well known songs with words appropriate to the themes of stopping war, promoting peace and justice…..the true spirit of this holiday.

For those who missed this action, an example of just one of the songs, this one by GPB/RG Corinne Willinger:
Don’t Buy War Toys (Tune: Frere Jacques)
“Don’t buy war toys, don’t buy war toys
For girls or boys, For girls or boys
Let the children learn
Let the children yearn to,
Live in Peace, Live in Peace

“With wishes to all for a peaceful holiday season”

– Marty Rajandran
for the Granny peace Brigade



In the midst of NYC’s recent holiday shopping frenzy the Granny Peace Brigade and Raging Grannies got together at FAO Schwarz on Fifth Ave. Ever since 2009 we’ve hit the streets each December to remind holiday shoppers that “War Is Not A Game.” We also give people tips on how to select gifts for children in our “Smart Toys For Smart Kids” flyer.

(Click on photos for larger images.)



Earlier in December we’d been to Toys”R”Us in Times Square, and Target at the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. We wound up our tour on December 19, assembling on the plaza outside FAO Schwarz. Some of us stayed outside singing and giving out flyers while others went inside to spread our message quietly.

What happened outside? It was deja vu all over again.


We belted out a number or two, passersby got interested, a security guard asked us to leave, we refused, saying our message was really important, and the security guard called the cops. When the police arrived, Alice, Nancy and Nydia explained our message to an officer, and the officer in turn explained to us that the very public-seeming plaza in front of the store was actually privately owned. If we refused to leave we could be arrested for trespassing. We didn’t want to go that far – this time. We did want as many people as possible to witness the interaction with the officer, in the hope they would think about the increasing privatization of public space. Under these circumstances a long conversation with that officer would be a good thing.


Grannies are virtuosos at delicately extending these conversations. If they are soft spoken so bystanders have to lean in to hear, that’s just fine. They get the timing right too, knowing when to call it quits and have the singers amble off to the public sidewalk for a bit more serenading.

– Eva-Lee Baird
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Meanwhile, what happened inside the store?




Yes, we were inside, and the reaction was very positive. People passing by stopped to talk with us, including a guy in camouflage who was in the National Guard and a group of teenagers who wanted to know more about the Grannies and why we were there.


All discussions were respectful. We also spoke to the manager who may have agreed with us but wasn’t committing to anything. She said the store was now owned by Toys’R’Us and they make all stock decisions and she gave us the name and email of the decision-maker. Security was clearly sent to keep an eye on us, subtly, and we were not thrown out of the store.

Happy new year and hope to see you soon.
– Fran Korotzer
Photos: Bud Korotzer

P.S. the Granny Peace Brigade  sends a huge thank you to Bud Korotzer for giving us so many wonderful photos.

2013_12_19budBud,  your support means so much to us.

When Is It Okay For Kids To Play With Guns?


Once a year
U pick a toy
One that’s good
For a little boy
So what do they think of your little son?
He oughta get a blaster gun?

When is it okay for kids to play with guns? Is it ever okay for kids to play with guns? And what do kids mean when they play with guns? Let’s look at the stories children tell as they point toy guns at each other. Two generations ago some of us grannies, with siblings and friends whiled away escaped-from-school afternoons playing cowboys and Indians. And a generation later when our kids were kids “World War Three” was played on the sidewalks of New York. The narratives came from stories adults were telling in newspapers, books, movies, songs, TV programs and advertising. These stories all served to steep one generation in racism and another in cold war paranoia. Guns were props. Some so were lovely gun belts you could find at the outdoorempire guide to gun belts. Shooting people was okay. The enemy changed with the times.

Today’s stories have morphed but children still play with guns and the message remains; shooting people is okay. Just ask the folks at the Toy Industry Association. Every year they hold a gala event where they give awards to the toy they think is best in several categories; toys for boys, for girls, for toddlers, science toys and more.

This year there were seven nominees in the best “Boy Toy” category, with several promoting violence, and the worst of the lot being the Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire Blaster (Ages: 8 years & up). According to Hazbro, the manufacturer, “Massive capacity and supreme speed combine to make this blaster the ultimate upgrade to any arsenal. Load up and dominate with the ultra-high-capacity Hail-Fire blaster!…It holds up to 8 clips, and delivers a semi-auto barrage of darts as fast as you can pull the trigger.”

Hey kids — It’s story time.

OK, we know the Blaster shoots foam darts that can’t hurt anyone, but is it a good idea to inculcate kids with the idea that shooting people doesn’t do any lasting damage? And the rapid fire, multi-shot blaster is sooo much more exciting than cap guns ever were!

Somebody had to tell people in the toy industry that promoting toys like the Strike Elite Hail-Fire Blaster just wouldn’t do, so on February 9, the night of the Toy Industry Association awards ceremony at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, members of the Granny Peace Brigade were outside the Plaza greeting people as they arrived for the ceremony. We bestowed our message on the attendees with signs, songs and Valentine’s Day cards, and two days later we took those same signs, songs and Valentine’s Day cards to the Javits Center where the annual American International Toy Fair was underway. At the Plaza and again at the Javits Center many of the toy traders thanked us for our presence and for our message. One attendee from Europe told us about the “disgusting and terrible” toys on display at a toy fair he attended in Hong Kong. On his return to Europe he sent us these pictures he had taken at the Hong Kong toy fair. We have a global problem.



You can help. A good start would be contacting people at the Toy Industry Association. They need to dial way back on the promotion of toys that glorify violence and war. Our kids deserve different stories. The Toy Industry Association folks know perfectly well that for every communication they receive there are at least 1,000 silent people who agree.

Toy Industry Association Senior Team
President Carter Keithley – E-mail: ckeithley@toyassociation.org
Mailing Address:
Headquarters / 1115 Broadway / Suite 400 / New York, NY 10010
General contact E-mail: info@toyassociation.org

We have work to do.

In peace always,

– Eva-Lee Baird
– Joan Plune –
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Smart Toys Not War Toys Campaign


Fourteen Grannies gathered and sang in Harlem: Eva-Lee, Nydia, Joan P., Edith, Susan G., Mercy, Barbara H., Bev, Jenny, Connie, Judith, Ann and Ahmad (filming), Laura and Peg. We moved to the recruiting station because Lazarus, the toy store nearby was not featuring military or violence-provoking toys.

We were well received there by the bus stop where folks paused to sing, take literature, and listen. “Good singin’ y’all!” And a little girl in pink stood with us to her mother’s delight. The occasional marine or recruiter would pop out, but we didn’t block their door, just sang against toys of war. Afterwards, Eva-Lee, Nydia, Susan G., Laura and Mercy went to nearby Manna’s for soul food and peppery chicken soup. Eva-Lee took some wonderful pictures. This link should get you to the photos if you don’t have a Facebook account.

– Mercy Van Vlack
For the Granny Peace Brigade and the Raging Grannies



As the winter solstice arrived, nine Grannies and one Buddy sang anti-war-toys lyrics to shoppers on Flatbush Avenue outside the Atlantic Center Mall  and gave peace cards stating “War is Not a Game.”









We then entered the mall and weaved in and out of the Target toy aisles, serenading shoppers with “Don’t buy war toys, Don’t buy war toys, Girls and Boys” (a la Frere Jacques).

Our signs proclaimed “No War – No War Toys” and we were greeted with smiles and approving nods from the shoppers.


The serenade resounded through the top floor and lasted about ten minutes until…


…store security called for help and eventually escorted us down the escalator.  The Flash Mob had had its fun and then melted away.

– Nydia Leaf
for the Granny Peace Brigade
Photos: Eva-Lee Baird