With the continued occupation in Iraq, the fight against militarism is growing, and local organizations are joining forces at the Youth Against Militarism Rally this Saturday.
Youth Against Militarism is a group, consisting of high school students and recent high school graduates, designed to educate their peers on the military’s recruiting strategies in hopes of ending the occupation in Iraq and stopping what they say is excessive military violence.
“As the war and occupation in Iraq continues, military recruiters are upping their strategies,” said Cheryl Distaso, event co-coordinator. “We are trying to bring awareness to the community that recruiters are everywhere, and they’re not always honest.”
In affiliation with the Center for Justice, Peace and Environment (CJPE), Youth Against Militarism hopes that their multi-generational speakers will only drive home the importance of being educated on this issue.
Norberto Valdez, an associate professor of Anthropology and Ethnic Studies and a Vietnam War veteran, will be speaking at the rally.
“I am contributing, through my own research, to the education of youth regarding militarism, U.S. foreign policy and the atrocities occurring in Iraq,” Valdez said.
Valdez is speaking to address concerns the youth might have about their possible participation in this war or future wars, and to educate youth on the military’s reportedly deceptive recruiting practices.
“We are in a time where tools of mass deception are rampant,” Valdez said. “The ideology of patriotism tends to ill-inform us.”
Recruiters do not always inform students of their violent participation in war, Valdez said, but rather of perks like educational and travel opportunities.
Valdez wants to ensure that students see both sides of the story
“Since I’m an educator, I want to encourage students to ask questions,” Valdez said. “My objective is to have youth question what their government tells them, what recruiters tell them, what their parents tell them, what everyone has to say.”
Also speaking at the rally is Youth Against Militarism representative Katie Whittle, Lee Gary, member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Joe Stern, a World War II veteran.
The event will begin in Old Town Square at 6:30 p.m. where music and the speakers will be present.
Participants will then march to the CSU lagoon for a slam poetry session held by Mallory Denae, followed by the film “Sir, No Sir,” which depicts the rebellion of American soldiers against the Vietnam War, at dark.
Senior Reporter Ricki Dugdale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.