High school students and teachers speak out: "Why I'm marching on March 20"

March 20 March on Washington banner

High school students and teachers speak out
“Why I’m marching on March 20”

Students and teachers are joining with tens of thousands of others who will be marching on Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 20. Here is what they have to say:

Jinnette Caceres

My students are studying conflict. The question written on the board in our 8th grade Humanities class today was, “What is worth fighting for?” One by one my students listed their priorities: family, freedom, independence, civil rights. I asked them if perhaps Iraqis and Afghanis also fight for these same reasons. We concluded that we all want the same things. Safety for our families, autonomy, and basic human rights. One student asked, “Do people in Iraq think we’re terrorists?” I answer, “Only if we stay silent and let these wars continue in our name.”

Truth is, I also wonder what a 13-year-old in Iraq thinks of us when she can’t go to school because of gun fighting on the sidewalks of her street. My students, too, are at war. Every time education funding gets cut and the troop levels are increased, that’s a bomb being dropped.

We have more in common with Iraqi and Afghani families than with the American politicians who fiddle with our education funding and only think of us as body buffers for a continuing war. Let's all take to the streets on March 20 in solidarity with our Iraqi and Afghani sisters and brothers. 

– Jinnette Caceres
8th grade teacher
New York City, New York

Lorenzo Jackson

I hear everybody saying “change,” yet I see none occurring. So I feel that as a student, knowing what I know, I should be an upstander in this event, let my voice be heard and make a difference.”

– Lorenzo Jackson
10th grade student
New York City, New York

Karina Garcia

Last year, the New York City Department of Education announced over $400 million in budget cuts for our public schools. These types of cuts are happening across the country and they are a death sentence for our schools.

We are mobilizing for the March 20 March on Washington because we are outraged that these types of cuts are happening at a time when our government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the criminal war and occupation of Iraq, and billions more on bailouts for the richest banks and corporations.

– Karina Garcia
9th grade teacher
New York City, New York

Corey Ansel

It’s about time people realize that wars and injustice don’t just fade away. It has taken a mass movement to end the unjust wars of the past and it will take people militantly opposing war in the streets to end the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. On March 20, let's make our voices heard loud and clear: We need money for human needs, not war!

– Corey Ansel
12th grade student
Columbus, Ohio 

Melanie Mac

My students often feel disenfranchised from the government and its decision-making. Their families ride the turbulent waves of welfare, immigration, and education reform. My hope is that my students—and in turn, their families—will feel empowered both by the experience of having a voice loud enough for the government to hear, and by the realization that many people support and share their sentiments.

– Melanie Mac
11th and 12th grade teacher
New York City, New York

Walter Smolarek

At one point or another, most high school students will be subjected to some kind of pitch by a military recruiter. They urge us to “defend freedom,” but it’s obvious that the only freedom the military would have us defend is the freedom of corporations to pillage other nations. They go after us because they want a steady supply of cannon fodder. We need to protest on March 20 and make it clear that high school students will not kill and die for Washington and Wall Street!

– Walter Smolarek
11th grade student
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Please make an urgently needed donation to support our March 20 student travel fund!

Make a generous donation to help high school students travel to Washington D.C. for the March on Washington. It costs a lot for organizations to rent buses and for individuals to buy tickets to come to Washington, D.C. We are setting up a scholarship fund to help cover the transportation costs for high school students. How much we can provide will be based on how much we raise. Please click here to make a generous donation and help a new generation of activists take their place in today's anti-war movement.

More information about March 20 is available at www.AnswerCoalition.org.

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