September 21, 2017
Truth in Recruitment is making big moves! Not only are we preparing for an upcoming meeting with the SBUSD to discuss implementation of the existing recruiter policy. We continue to publicize the realities of military services, this time at Santa Maria High School (SMHS) in North County!
Through an important connection made with Professor Ricardo Valencia who teaches Chicano/Latino Studies and Modern World History at SMHS we were invited to present to his 4 unique classes one of them 10th grade Spanish speakers only! Luckily we had an outstanding team that included two Spanish speakers, one whom is a Vietnam veteran and the other whose brother served in the Marines. Michael Cervantes from Veterans for Peace Oxnard Chapter, coordinator Kate Connell and our most recent intern Lisha Pacheco (me).
Our mission began early in the morning, as we headed towards SMHS we [recited and] gave feedback to each other on what would help us share or message much more clearly and thoroughly in the 50 minutes of class. Once we arrived, we were welcomed by an enthusiastic SMHS staff particularly Mr. Fast who drove us to our first class in an attempt to help us arrive early. In our first class we had the opportunity to engage with 60 students right off the bat. We hit the ground running and our presentation went extremely well. We received significant feedback from the students which is always reaffirming.
As the day progressed and we had the opportunity to walk among the students, while moving from one class to the other, my commitment to offer students alternatives to military service was renewed. Students are vulnerable especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, we must provide them with resources to make the best choices. Especially now that military recruiters are stepping up their game, and infiltrating educational institutions by providing “supportive services” such as having a National Guard recruiter man the Anti-Bullying office on the SMHS campus, which our host showed us at the end of the school day. Suffice to say its walls covered with military propaganda from all of the branches – so much for anti-bullying. I am proud to be part of a group that counteracts such tactics.