The Granny Peace Brigade brought the Ms. Gizmo Penny Poll to the East Harlem Outdoor Teen Fair. Our table was lively and often crowded with interested parents and students who took the time to think about how their tax $$$s should be spent in their community. The opportunity to speak with young students was most rewarding. They understood that they did pay a tax when buying ‘stuff’ but not sure where the money went. “The the Government gets it to plant trees, or clean up the neighborhood.” “Where would you like your tax dollars to go?” Now, having to think about it and taking their time, pennies quickly accumulated in the education, arts, and jobs tubes.
There were many very inspiring individual actions. In one case, one little girl about aged 10 was helping her younger sister understand what each of the categories was, both spending considerable time making their decisions on how to spend their money. Another young man returned throughout the afternoon to see how the pennies were allocated. He was encouraging other young people to invest in the environment. He kept saying that is the most important issue affecting young people! And there were all those helpful children who translated into Spanish the categories for the parent or adult with them.
It was a practical, real-time learning experience with rewards. The Trade-Off handout was appreciated by all, as it clearly indicated how a reduction in tax dollars to military expenditures would supplement additional programs in their community – including pre-school programs, after school programs, affordable healthcare and housing. Isn’t it time to cut military spending, bring our war dollars home and for all communities to be afforded the basic needs and services they deserve?
-Barbara Harris (text and photos)
for the Granny Peace Brigade