The Twin Cities area antiwar student walkout on Friday, November 16 was an inspiring moment. The energy and loud chants lasted for the entire two mile march and enthusiasm remained strong until the end of the big indoor teach-in at Ausburg College in Minneapolis. The main rally started just after 1pm, but students from across the region kept pouring into Government Plaza up until the 2pm march, when our counters estimate between 700-900 students took to the streets (scandalously, the police told the media there were only 200 of us!). Check out the media reports, video, and pictures below.
In all, students from over 40 high schools (and middle schools!), as well as 15 colleges, participated in the walkout, with several holding local rallies or events of their own (at Macalester College, students held antiwar workshops all day long). The indoor teach-in at Augsburg College started with students from each school represented giving short, inspired speeches. A lot of students from outlying areas who walked out were not able to make it to the main rally and march.
The speeches from the the students were stunning. Magdalena Kaluza from South High and Tyrus A., YAWR’s new staff organizer, MCed the rally. Kelsey Groenke from Perpich YAWR started spoke first, demanding “Troops Home Now,” and pointing to the growing death toll in Iraq and among soldiers. She was followed by Marat Banks from Central High YAWR, who spoke to YAWR’s demand for “Money for Jobs and Education, Not War,” explaining how the massive military spending is putting strains on our social programs and putting our generation in debt. Then Peter Karns from Como High, who recently “un-recrutied” himself, told about the under-handed tactics military recruiters use, the poverty draft, motivating YAWR’s call for “Military Recruiters Out of Our Schools.”
Brandon Day of Iraq Veterans Against the War gave powerful testimony of his personal experience in combat, the needless death of his friends, and the criminal lies of the Bush administration. Ty Moore of Socialist Alternative spoke last, explaining the failure of the Democratic Congress to cut the war funds, and the importance of the walkouts as a pointer to moving the antiwar movement into active resistance to the war machine. The indoor teach-in at Augsburg also featured other student speakers, spoken word, and former military recruiter Mary Horgan who recently joined Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Out of the walkout, we expect to build several new chapters of Youth Against War & Racism and step up our campaign to end military recruitment in schools – through both direct action inside individual schools when recruiters set up shop, and at the same time, through pressure campaigns on area school boards to pass restrictions on their access.
For more info, visit myspace.com/yawrMN
Over-all, much of the mainstream media seems to have really blacked out the walkout this time. The past two walkouts received prominent coverage on TV evening news, front page stories in local sections of the two big papers, and prominent radio coverage. This time, despite a press conference a month in advance to announce the walkout, the coverage was extremely skimpy. We’ll leave it to you to speculate the reasons for this shift!
Video report for Twin Cities Daily Planet
article from the Twin Cities Daily Planet
Minnesota Public Radio article
Pioneer Press article:
Minnesota Monitor article: