What Would You Do If You Had $1 Trillion? A Group of Seniors at Northwest Academy of Law Say They Would Invest in Education.
ST. LOUIS [February 26, 2014] — A group of students at Northwest Academy of Law have been selected to participate in the fourth annual “If I Had a Trillion Dollars” Film Festival in Washington, D.C. Students were introduced to the federal budget and asked what they would do if they could spend $1 trillion.
“Their answer was not what you might expect from 17 and 18-year-olds,” said Joshua Saleem, who directs AFSC’s Peace Education Project. “They wanted to spend it on their education.”
In their video, entitled “Education is the Key to Our Success,” the students identified physical improvements that could be made to their school building, including newer computers, high school level books in their library, and better gym facilities. They also said they would increase the Pell Grant amount (currently only $5500) so that more young people could afford college without going into debt.
The “If I Had a Trillion Dollars” Youth Film Festival is sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Young people are directly affected by conversations about state and federal budgets, yet their voices are often ignored. The film festival seeks to change that.
Now that their video has been selected for the Film Festival, students will be fundraising so they can travel to Washington, DC where they will visit Capitol Hill. They hope to make Congress aware of their priorities for the federal budget.
To learn more about the "If I Had a Trillion Dollars" Youth Film Festival, visit www.ihtd.org.
Peer-to-peer learning is proving to be an effective way to promote nonviolence in New Orleans. Through Peace by Piece, a youth-led program of AFSC’s New Orleans program, interns and community partners train youth in conflict resolution and violence reduction using arts and activism.
“The culture of violence is way too familiar to young people in New Orleans. Workshops and events like the Transforming Oppression Fashion Show and Sampson Park Night out Against Crime bring the community together and provide options for young people keeping them engaged in positive activities,” explains Glenn Sullivan, 2014 Peace by Piece intern.
AFSC’s partners include many organizations and community members working to address crime in New Orleans. The program works in schools and neighborhood programs, and includes activities that empower young people to identify sources and root causes of conflict. Exercises in identity, self-worth, and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s concept of the “Beloved Community” help students understand the viability of nonviolence as a lifestyle. Facilitators use spoken word, skits, songs, and story circles as tools for creating nonviolence.
Peace by Piece interns work with two neighborhood groups, Freedom Street Library and A Desire for Change. Both organizations are working to transform public spaces that support youth development, youth-at-play, and youth safety.
By building relationships, creating options, and having a good time, AFSC is working to create peace in New Orleans, one young person at a time.
This is how bloated Pentagon spending works.
As Congress continues to make budget decisions that favor military spending over human needs, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Brave New Films, and a politically diverse group of organizations have come together as a coalition to shine a light on this poster child of Pentagon waste.
In 2014 taxpayers in the U.S. will pay $8.45 billion for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft, although this plane has a history of being overdue, over-budget, and grounded. The cost of just one year of this program could fund the $8 billion the Senate just cut from food assistance to low-income people over 10 years. Where would you rather your tax dollars went?
Tell Congress to stop wasting money on this corporate boondoggle. Take a look at this video and share the link through your social media networks—we want to spread the word about this bad deal.
After you watch, we hope you'll be moved to take action and email Congress to say "Stop the F-35 program today!"
Wilson High School students discuss their human rights learning projects as part of AFSC's D.C. Peace & Economic Justice Program.
Young people involved in AFSC's Peace Education Program in St. Louis talk about the need to end violence and the school-to-prison pipeline.
This video is from the Google Hangout organized by AFSC and Just World Books with five of the contributors to the book Gaza Writes Back: Short Stories from Young Writers in Gaza, Palestine.
To learn more about the current situation in Gaza, check out AFSC's background paper "Gaza Under Siege"
About the Book
Gaza Writes Back, edited by Refaat Alareer is a compelling collection of short stories from fifteen young writers in Gaza, members of a generation that has suffered immensely under Israel’s siege and blockade. Their experiences, especially during and following Israel’s 2008-2009 offensive known as “Operation Cast Lead”, have fundamentally impacted their lives. Their stories are acts of resistance and defiance, proclaiming the endurance of Palestinians and the continuing resilience and creativity of their culture in the face of ongoing obstacles and attempts to silence them. Whether tackling the tragedy that surrounds missile strikes and home raids, or the everyday indignities encountered by Palestinian refugees, through their writing these authors have brought to life the real issues that the people of Gaza face.
One unarmed predator drone costs $18-20 million, not including operating or maintenance costs. Mary Zerkel makes the case that using drones in immigration enforcement is a waste of taxpayer money--and questions why the U.S. is using this military technology to patrol the border with Mexico.
This is an excerpt from AFSC's Oct. 30, 2013 Google Hangout on Air, "Boots on the Border." For more, go to afsc.org/story/recap-boots-border.