Jeff Webster and Susan Van Haitsma -
Last week, we made our first SOY visit of the new school year to Austin High School. Tami and I were pleased to be joined by Ben, a Marine Corps veteran and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War who recently moved to Austin. While Ben was a student at the University of North Texas, he did organizing with Rising Tide North America, an environmental group addressing fracking and the tar sands pipeline. It was great to have Ben with us and to be able to stretch out our table of materials so that 3 of us could interact with students. Photos at www.peaceoptions.blogspot.com
Tabling with SOY was a great perspective-building experience for me. Over 12 years ago, while I was a junior, I remember speaking with a Marine recruiter and a former classmate who had just finished boot camp at my high school, after I had already made the decision to enlist. It was empowering to come back into that situation now as a veteran for peace and have the opportunity to share my perspective now, having seen the reality of war, with a new generation of kids growing up in a country engaged in permanent war. War affects everyone, abroad and at home, and the economic draft is alive and well in our schools. I was honored to have the chance to help kids find a more peaceful and rewarding path coming out of high school. This is important work, and I hope to see it continue to grow in Austin.