A “cemetery” of U.S. military teen casualties is planned in Santa Barbara on Friday. This will be the first monthly War Moratorium & Teen Cemetery at SBCC for this academic year.
The SBCC student club, Peace Now!, will have its weekly meeting at noon Friday on the West Campus’ Caldron Overlook, near the Teen “Cemetery.”
The “cemetery” display of tombstones will open at 10 a.m. Friday and will be sporting a new eight-foot banner that states: DON’T ATTACK IRAN: End The Occupation of Iraq/Afghanistan Now! There will be a loudspeaker available for anyone to read aloud the names and circumstances of the 397 18- and 19-year-old U.S. casualties from the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.
The actions here, across the country and around the world mark the continuation of the War Moratorium, to unite individuals and groups who act to end wars on the third Friday/weekend of every month.
The local Teen “Cemetery” is sponsored by Santa Barbara Veterans for Peace Chapter 54. The tombstones will be set up by volunteers from the Santa Barbara Veterans for Peace and SBCC students. Set up begins at 8:15 a.m., display participation is 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and the commemoration will be taken down between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.
Individuals passing by on the walkway between the East and West campuses will be asked to place a placard of the color photo and information of a teen casualty on the tombstones. Information about the cost of war and the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan will be shared. Free books, newspapers and DVDs on the cost of war also will be available, and donations will be accepted. Cell phones will be available to make free calls to President Barack Obama, his Cabinet and Congress to end both wars now and to support other peace and justice issues.
An SBCC form for students to be taken off the military’s recruitment list, in opposition to the Solomon Amendment will be given out. The 1996 amendment allows colleges and universities to give student names, phone numbers and other private information to 17 components of the U.S. military service branches each term. Students can prevent the release of their information to military recruiters by using the 1974 Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act to withold the release of their “directory information.”
Two petitions are currently being circulated at the Teen “Cemetery” to be sent to Obama and Congress:
» Withdraw our military from Iraq and Afghanistan immediately for American Friends Service Committee, 637 Dearborn Ave., Third Floor, Chicago 60605
— Gilberto Robledo represents Santa Barbara Veterans for Peace Chapter 54.