Santa Barbara High School Band Presentation June 4th, 2018

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Lisha and Stephen presented to a class of the Santa Barbara High School Band. There were about a dozen students present, including a mix of gender, race and attitudes toward the military.

After brief introductions, Lisha queries the students about their relationships to military service and feelings about, stressing that we were not there to shame anyone, but rather to invite a frank and honest discussion of the pros and cons or military service as a career or educational life-path.

There was one student present who was in a “pre-enlistment” program of the Navy, and happily announced that she’d be spending the summer training. She also shared that she had encouraged several friends to join her program, but also that she realized that they were probably not going to be getting college educations from the Navy.

In keeping with the TiR materials, we stressed that enlisting is making a large commitment with precious few actual guarantees of when you’ll get in return.

In order to have some discussion of musical careers, Stephen showed several new musical instrument projects he’s undertaken with UCSB students.

Santa Barbara High School Career Day

My time at Santa Barbara High School working with Truth in Recruitment was satisfying and it felt like we (Lisha) and I made a big splash. Many students were at the table and we spoke to a great many and had several penetrating conversations.  The students were open to what we had to say and they answered our many prodding questions about what they know about the military and about their plans for the future. We were badly needed and outnumbered, so it was nice to have Americorp there as “an alternative” in addition to reminding them at SBCC is free for them.  I greatly appreciated all the work that Kate and Lisha have done with all the games, the posters and information. The buttons, literature and games were magnets, and provided an “in” into their thinking about the military and whether they wish to join it.  Quick suggestion: I would have a poster with at least six alternatives to the military. I was unsure whether or not the game which is a “wheel” was ever used, most of the students did not know the people on it. Perhaps a few basics on “THE MILITARY” and its environmental record, since all the students indicated concern for the environment.

Black History Celebration Santa Maria

The Black History Month Celebration at Pioneer Park in Santa Maria on Saturday 2/17/18 went beautifully; the site in a tree sheltered open spaced field was sweet and the many people we met, too!  We talked with countless folks about what Truth In Recruitment is about and doing, plus handouts, buttons and wristbands were offered.  And of course, everybody got given a flyer about the upcoming Santa Maria High School Family Forum scheduled for Tuesday 2/27/18 about Military Recruiters On Campus. 

 

On SaturdayTruth In Recruitment was among some 28 participating community organizations including CAUSE, Democratic Club of Santa Maria Valley, Lompoc Valley, AGIF Education Foundation, United Domestic Workers Union, the NAACP, the Girl Scouts of America and others.  All providing informational pamphlets, services, membership sign-up lists and other resources to help educate the public.

 

There was live music with a band, dancers and speakers including keynote speaker Congressman Salud Carbajal and newly elected 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann.  Capping the event, Black History Month celebrants were generously provided with a delicious Santa Maria BBQ and the successful day was unanimously enjoyed by all.

NAACP, Lompoc Chapter- Presentation.

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This was a tough group to talk to about Truth in Military Recruitment at U.S. High Schools, especially in SB North County. I thought Kate & Lisha did a great Job. The majority of the audience were either retired or current Air Force Personnel, I assume as Officer’s or non-commissioned officers. They were highly educated with adult college educated children. There was one High school age female whose testimony was that Military Recruiters where an ever present entity in her High School. I believe she was a senior at a Lompoc High school.

The audience had testimonies that the service had been good for them. However they also spoke about the racism inside and outside the military service. I spoke to them about my experience with
Veterans For Peace, Arlington West, SBCC Teen Memorial and EOPS at SBCC. I tried to relate to them the Cost of War, especially the human cost. The Teen Memorial or Teen Cemetery tried to reveal a name and face, of the 18 & 19 year olds that had perished in the Iraq & Afghanistan wars. We tried to convey to high school & college aged students the lost human potential to their families,
community, and nation. These young men & women could have been the future leaders of their communities, cities, states and nation.

I also tried to explain that the high school students of yesterday & today have the right to know that they have alternatives to military service. College is an alternative to all high school students. Not just to the “shinny Pennies”. EOPS at the California Community Colleges is an opportunity for all students. They have vocational & transfer programs to 4 year colleges. One does not have to be a stellar student to attend. The high light of the night for me was when a former SBCC EOPS student of mine approached me after our presentation. He was a professional working and living in Santa Maria and completing his Phd at UCSB. He was in EOPS and a tutor at SBCC then transferred to UCSB where he obtained his BA & MA. Over all this was a satisfying presentation!

–Gilbert Robledo, Vietnam Veteran

Santa Barbara Women’s March, January 20th 2018.

Does a Military career empower womyn?

This the question that Truth in Recruitment asked the people of Santa Barbara, Saturday, during the womyns rally?

We definitely received a variety of valuable answers, nonetheless it was clear that at the core of all of the responses was a genuine interest in the empowerment of girls and womyn. Participating in the rally was a humbling opportunity to acknowledge and receive validation from, other organizations who are pushing towards the similar direction of change. Witnessing, young womyn of numerous backgrounds express themselves unapologetically was priceless and truly motivating. It fed the fire that motivates Truth in Recruitment to share our message with as many people as possible, especially during a time in which:

  • Multiple branches of US military want to increase the recruitment of women to 10% of the armed forces.
  • 1 in 3 women have experienced sexual assault while serving in the military.
  • Youth of color and low economic status are disproportionately targeted.

In addition to the march renewing our social responsibly this was my daughter’s first demonstration, since we didn’t actually get to march. It was so beautiful to see her engage will all the nearby attendees, and their reaction towards a 13 month old encourages me to bring her along ALWAYS. We also ran into some of the mom friends “hermanas” that we’ve met in this journey ; who are raising their children with intention.Thanks for being such an awesome example! Lastly,

to add to this day’s supportive ambiance our friends from Veterans for Peace Joy and Gilbert Robledo helped us table and promoted our literature and resistance buttons. Can’t wait for what next year’s gathering will bring!

Santa Maria High School Career Fair

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Tabling at Santa Maria High School career fair on October 12 was such a refreshing experience. We were welcomed by gusty winds, and a well-organized staff who had taken the time to set up a delicious continental breakfast for all attendees.

Shortly after we arrived, students began rolling into the career fair space. Interacting with freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors was inspirational in so many levels. Although we intended on guiding the students through our table in a certain order, creating room for spontaneity definitely paid off! Students wanted to engage and go deeper on topics such as job training, and so by adjusting our game plan we accomplished our goal of informing students and addressing their questions and concerns on a more personal level. We came prepared with information and activities such as: spinning a wheel of fortune with prompts for them to consider regarding ways that youth might be drawn to a military career such as “Travel and Meet New People?” They also voted in a penny poll, choosing to give funds in jars labeled “Environment”, “Education” or “Prisons”, for example. Finally we asked them to write their “Vision” in our comment book. For all this effort, they were complimented by wonderful prizes a: “Question Authority” bracelet, political buttons and of course community service opportunities!

As the waves of students came and went it is clear that our youth are hopeful, well-intended and have such big dreams! A good way to support them is by providing them with resources that allow them to make informed choices regardless off the career path they may choose. If I am super honest, listening to them chipped away some of the cynicism that has come with years of struggle. It was a much need reminder of the things I hoped for “when I grew up”, and can now achieve prepared with the knowledge that comes from years of experience. I certainly look forward for more opportunities to make connections with folks up in Santa Maria High, as several members of the staff appreciated our presence and wanted to get involved.

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Santa Maria High School Presentation

September 21, 2017

Cherished Friends!

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.