Blog

Santa Maria High School Family Forum; Military Recruiters On Campus

IMG_6779I found the informational meeting at the Santa Maria Public Library, Santa Maria High School Family Forum; Military Recruiters On Campus, inspiring and very revealing of primordial sentiments held by loving parents and community members resistant to the presence of military recruiting tactics on Santa Maria Joint Unified School District campuses. Testimonials from event sponsors: Truth in Recruitment, Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project/ El Proyecto Mixteco/Indígena Organización Comunitaria (MICOP), and Importa, as well as high school staff, parents and students were exceptional, each giving their own point of view of where emphasis should be focused to further the well-being of the students. Excessive military recruiter presence was demonstrated during the evening in a power point and digital recordings.

Testimony was markedly in favor of providing students with the skills and resources necessary to improve their developing reasoning powers, abilities, and career formation. In order to achieve this, attendees requested to be protected from the leering tactics of beguiling military job classifications and so-called “benefits” invented by military recruiting professionals. The need for a philosophy of peace was expressed by attendees, and as might be expected a testimonial was given that clearly shows the disillusionment that awaits uninformed enlistees. One example was given by the parent of a 19 year old son now awaiting orders from his post in Japan to Korea, a fretful status unwanted by both this new recruit and his parents.

–Michael Cervantes, Vietnam War veteran, infantry and Veterans for Peace Ventura member.

Read an article from the Santa Maria Times. We had originally invited the press but then decided that in order to create a space that everyone could feel safe to testify of their experience, we would limit the invitees to parents, students, teachers and community members who had voiced their concerns about recruiters on school campuses.

 

StudentNote_6725StudentSpeaks_6744

 

 

 

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.

Gilbert_6459.jpg

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 Maria High School Family Forum: Military Recruiters On Campus

NG Rec bannerCropSMHS2018

Date:          Tuesday, February 27, 2018  

                    5:30 – 6:00 pm — Pupusas dinner

                    6:00 – 7:30 pm — Forum

Location:     Santa Maria Public Library, Shepard Hall

                    421 So. McClelland Street, Santa Maria, CA 94358

Santa Maria High School teachers and families have voiced concern about military recruiters on campus and the presence of a National Guard Recruiter, whose office is named W.A.R. (We All Rise), on campus.

In a cooperative effort to address these concerns, this forum will review:

  • The history of this military recruiter presence,
  • The ethics of a military recruiter having an office on school grounds,
  • A family’s right to protect their children’s privacy, and
  • How students and parents would like to address this issue.

There also will be discussion of recruiters on campus, in general.

This forum is co-sponsored by the Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project called El Proyecto Mixteco Indigena Comunitaria (MICOP), the Fund for Santa Barbara, Importa, the McCune Foundation and Truth in Recruitment.

You are cordially invited to join us!  Language translation and dinner will be provided.

Foro Familiar para Santa Maria High School:

Reclutadores Militares en el campus

Fecha y Horario:  Martes, Febrero 27, 2018  

5:30 – 6:00 pm — Pupusas cena

6:00 – 7:30 pm — Foro

Ubicacion:  Biblioteca Publica de Santa Maria, Shepard Hall

421 So. McClelland Street, Santa Maria, CA 94358

Los padres y maestros de Santa Maria High School han expresado una intranquilidad con el reclutador de la Guardia Nacional. El cual tiene una oficina personal dentro del plantel educativo.

En un esfuerzo por restaurar la calma de los padres este foro hablara sobre:

  • El origen de esta oficina de reclutamiento,
  • Es apropiado tener esta oficina,
  • Información sobre los derechos de privacidad de los estudiantes y
  • Que hacer respecto a esta oficina.

También habrá una discusión general sobre la presencia de reclutadores en los planteles educativos.

Este foro esta copatrocinado por El Proyecto Mixteco Indigena Comunitario (MICOP), el Fund for Santa Barbara, Importa, la fundación McCune y por Truth in Recruitment.

¡Usted está cordialmente invitado!  Interpretación de idiomas y la cena serán provistos.

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!

Carpinteria High School Tabling

CarpinteriaHS_12_1_17

Michael, Elizabeth, and Fernando, of Truth in Recruitment, tabled at a Carpinteria High School community service fair sponsored by SB County Partners in Education on Friday December 1, 2017. The Wheel of Fortune was themed “Resisters and Veterans.” Michael, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War, discussed whistleblower and veteran Chelsea Manning’s impact with one inquisitive student.

Several students wrote in the comment book, based on a prompt about Rosa Parks’ role in Civil Rights (December 1 was the anniversary of her being arrested for not giving up her seat on a segregated bus). They would take stands against racism, for peace and in favor of net neutrality.  Students also participated in the penny poll exercise indicating what priorities should receive government funding (with each penny representing one million dollars). Education, humanitarian aid, and environmentalism were popular; however two students put their entire $10 million in the jar marked “military” which then led to a lively debate.

One student told them he was signed up for the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), which meant that he could be heading to boot camp after he graduated. (See links on this website for DEP cancellation forms) Fernando spoke with him about his options and the student left with literature about getting out of the program should he change his mind. By the end, many students were intrigued enough to request literature that offered alternative perspectives on the military.

Santa Barbara High School Community Service Fair on Friday, October 27

On a Friday morning, October 27, at Santa Barbara High School,  I joined Fernando and Kate during  Santa Barbara High School’s Community Service Fair. As I arrived at the Truth in Recruitment table, students were swarming around while asking questions and playing games.  At the Wheel of Fortune, Fernando and students were talking about the financial realities of a military career and other questions posed by the wheel. Kate guided a small group to ‘vote with their dollars’ as if they were members of Congress deciding how to allocate funds for the national budget.  Students doled out the coins while considering the consequences of distributing money between education, humanitarian aid, environment, the prison system and the military.  In a comment book, people took turns writing about the ways they are proud of their heritage.  All these young people walked away with bracelets that read: Question Authority.

Several teachers and students told us they were grateful that Truth in Recruitment was there.

It was fun.

Barb Parmet

Santa Maria High School Career Fair

DSC_9046

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.

ElizStudent_9043CommentBook_9053

Dos Pueblos High School Community Service Fair reveals insights of students

On Friday, October 6, we were down at the Dos Pueblos High School Community Service Fair talking to students about alternatives to the military. During their lunchtime several students took their time to learn about many shortcomings that a military career drags around with it, from incompatible job training, to deep mental trauma.

It was great to interact with those who we work so hard to help, and the engagement was fantastic! Students were introduced to important questions that one might not consider when signing up but are absolutely crucial, such as, is there any way to lose the benefits promised by recruiters, or what are the terms of a military contract.

A couple of the students shared that their family members had been in the military. One young man said that his father had been deployed to Iraq and had trouble sleeping – he thought that he probably suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD). Another student shared that her grandfather had been in Chiang Kai-shek’s armed forces in China. She said that he became separated from his family and never saw them again. Another student said that many of her family members who had served suffered from PTSD.

It’s always an enriching experience to be able to interact directly with students and I’d like to give a huge thank you to DPHS for having us there for their volunteer fair.

-Fernando Cornejo TIR Intern

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.