A teacher from NYC wrote this after having the We Are Not Your Soldiers Tour in her classroom:
“At the time the “We Are Not Your Soldiers” tour visited our high school, my students were preparing to take the New York State Regents exam. Many of my students have failed the exam at least two times. As their last shot before making the decision to drop out or get a GED, I was concerned that failing the regents exam would encourage some my students to join the military instead.
Matthis Chiroux, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and Elaine Brower, member of the World Can’t Wait, hosts of the “We Are Not Your Soldiers” tour, presented a compelling excerpt of the “Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan Eyewitness Accounts” testimonials which summoned the visual and emotional interest of otherwise unresponsive youth. Matthis engaged the students with his own personal recollection of the military. He asked important questions, revealing truths of the racism of the war on Iraq, and connected to the personal lives of the students, while Elaine Brower offered the perspective of a mother, a point of view many of my students are sensitive to having been raised by only their mothers.
After the World Can’t Wait presentation, it was apparent that my students were affected. The next day one student showed me a poem he wrote about a young boy from the ghetto enlisting in the military and dying, another asked for a World Can’t Wait T-shirt, and yet another, who had wanted to join the military, handed me a recommendation form for a vocational school. Others are still lost forever to the military but the “We Are Not Your Soldiers” tour offered the education American youth really need and that more teachers need to be more conscious of.”
From a teacher in Chicago
“The recruitment of our young people for violent wars that have little meaning and rare efficacy, is a criminal offense itself. World Cant Wait has come and talked to students at the Multicultural Arts School the last three years about a) the recruitment efforts of the US military that target the impoverished and minority youth, b) the realities soldiers face when dispatched in combat situations, and c) the options we have for challenging and changing recruitment on our campuses. Youth in Chicago are already facing street warfare based historically in the disenfranchisement of African-American and Latin-American communities. It is a sad irony to be ‘fighting for freedom’ in wars overseas based on similar inequitable relationships. “We Are Not Your Soldiers” workshops have motivated poetry and creative writing exercises where our students express their feelings and concerns about military recruitment and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Knowing more about what is really going on empowers our students’ abilities to make informed choices and valid arguments against US military actions.”
From a teacher in Columbus, OH
“Liz Lazdens and Anthony Wagner, speaking on behalf of World Can’t Wait, recently spoke to classes at our school. They were very organized and informed and the students were engaged in an interactive manner. Anthony’s accounts of his experiences while fighting in Iraq made a particularly strong impression on the students. If teachers are seeking to create discussion about American policy in Iraq and Afghanistan and challenge students to think about how schools should address military recruitment then I would recommend they consider inviting speakers from World Can’t Wait.”