Per the previous post, seven of us congregated on SoCo on the afternoon before Valentine's Day to distribute fliers and "Make Out Not War" stickers to folks on the sidewalks. The fliers contained the info below, stressing the ways that family relationships are hurt by war and military life, and asking people to phone their Congresspersons to weigh in on misplaced budget priorities.
People were fairly receptive to the fliers and stickers, and there were lots of smiles in response to our entourage. When we stood in one place and handed out the fliers, I noticed that people seemed more reluctant to take them than when we strolled along and passed them out as folks passed us. Some people were eager to see the info and wanted to have their photos taken with us (especially with Heidi in her Valentine costume!). A couple of my favorites were the child above and a man who asked us to put a sticker on the back of his wheelchair.
We distributed 400 fliers and about 500 of the stickers.
Special thanks to Hart with IVAW for joining us!
Here's the flier content:
• Military divorce rates are on the rise. The divorce rate in the armed forces edged up again in 2009 despite many programs to help struggling couples. (Source: http://www.wivb.com/dpp/military/Military-divorce-rate-edges-higher1259359250732) • Military families and partners are at high risk for domestic violence. In one study, it was determined that the military rate of domestic violence was three times higher than civilian rates. (Source: http://www.civicresearchinstitute.com/dvr_military.pdf) • Prolonged deployments are associated with increased rates of depression among U.S. Army spouses. Studies show that many soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer mental health problems. This new study shows that long and multiple deployments also take a toll on the families. (Source: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/362/2/101 • The rate of child maltreatment in families of enlisted soldiers increased by 42 percent when military spouses were off at war. The child maltreatment rate in military families doubled after October 2002, while civilian rates remained the same. (Source: http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/42/17/8.1.full) The Obama administration plans to ask Congress for an additional $33 billion to fight unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, on top of a record request for $708 billion for the Defense Department for 2011. At a time of high unemployment, when 12% of Americans rely on food banks due to hunger, spending so much to fund war is tragic. PLEASE call your congressperson to say: Freeze Pentagon spending and support real family values by funding job creation, health care and education. Congressional switchboard: 202-224-3121
photos by makingpeace (the sign, "Peace &" read "JOY" on the other side)
I am co-coordinator of Sustainable Options for Youth (Nonmilitary Options for Youth) in Austin, Texas. The Sustainable Options for Youth blog describes activities of SOY in the schools and includes information about other work like ours around the country. Wage peace!