United for Peace – 2006-06-06 23:31:56
National Call-In Day, Wednesday, June 7
• Call your Congressional Representative
• Call (888) 355-3588 (toll-free) or 202-224-3121
An open debate on Iraq is OVERDUE!
The people of Iraq want their nation back; they understand that the departure of US troops will be the first step toward quelling the violence that has overtaken their country.
People in the US want their sons and daughters home. Children want their mothers and fathers home. Most of the US troops think they should leave in the next 6 months, if not sooner. Facing this is a moral and non-partisan challenge.
But, after more than three years, over $300 billion spent and the death of more than 100,000 Iraqis and nearly 2,500 American soldiers, Congress still refuses to debate real alternatives to the President’s stay-the-course policy.
It is a policy that over 80% of Iraqis, more than 70% of US soldiers stationed in Iraq and a majority of the people in the US say is not only a failure but fails to stop terrorism and creates more hatred towards our troops in Iraq. Even reports of civilian massacres by US soldiers in Haditha and has not moved Congress to act.
United for Peace. www.unitedforpeace.org | (212) 868-5545
“Seniors against War”
Wear Black Bands to Graduation
Alan Schnepf / Tribune-Herald Staff Writer
HAWAI’I (June 4, 2006) — The black armbands seemed harmless enough, but to 14 Honokaa High School students, the meaning of the cloth was important enough to risk getting kicked out of their graduation ceremony.
Eli Bowman, the class’s 18-year-old salutatorian, said a group of students decided to wear the armbands to the ceremony to protest the U.S. war in Iraq. When school administrators got wind of the plan, however, Bowman said they sent a clear message to his class at an assembly last week: Anyone wearing a black armband to graduation Saturday morning wouldn’t make it inside the door.
So Bowman and some others decided to put their armbands on once they were inside the Honokaa Armory for the ceremony Saturday morning. No one was thrown out and Bowman actually was able to bring the issue up during a short speech.
“The graduating class of 2006 are wearing black armbands as a silent protest against the war in Iraq,” Bowman told the capacity crowd. “A war that the majority of the American people oppose.”
It was an applause line that forced him to pause for a moment and he made no other mention of the war or the armbands.
Principal Natalie Gonsalves said administrators had decided not to keep anyone out of the ceremony for wearing an armband. Initially, though, she said the administration told students they could wear the armbands only “before and after” the ceremony with no repercussions.Then Gonsalves said she studied the law and decided the armbands were part of the students’ freedom of speech.
She came upon a landmark 1969 U.S. Supreme Court Case called Tinker v. Des Moines. A pair of students at a public Des Moines high school filed a lawsuit after they were suspended for wearing black armbands at school in protest of the Vietnam War.
The Court ruled that action violated the First Amendment rights of the students.
“To me they’re expressing their views in a calm way,” Gonsalves said.
“I was very proud of them.”Bowman, who was surprised when people clapped, said he was still under the impression that he risked being booted from the armory for wearing an armband.
“This is what we were told, but apparently it was an empty threat,” he said. The overwhelming majority of the class did not wear armbands to the ceremony and some had no interest in making political statements at the event.
“They could have brought it up on a different occasion,” said 17-year-old Rudy Lopez. “It’s a time for celebration.”
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