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SmartMeme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 6, 2006
6:45 AM

CONTACT: SmartMeme
Katie Joaquin, smartMeme STORY Program (Oakland, CA), Katie@smartmeme.com, 415.255.9133
Doyle Canning, smartMeme STORY Program (Burlington, VT), doyle@smartmeme.com, 802.860.1155
Lovella Calica, Iraq Veterans Against War (Philadelphia, PA)lovellacalica@yahoo.com, 989.621.1934

 
Generation Y Puts a New Face on the Peace Movement
Youth Anti-war Organizers & Young Iraq Vets Talk Strategy On Ending The War
 

NEW MARKET, Tennessee - July 6 - As the death toll of US troops in Iraq tops 2,500, and the nation turns 230, a diverse gathering of Americans under 30 will gather to strategize about building their generations' movement to end the war in Iraq at the historic Highlander Center in rural Tennessee.

From July 7-9, young members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, student peace activists, and youth leaders from across the nation will meet together at the historic Highlander Center, site of key leadership gatherings of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 60s. Representing more than 20 key progressive youth organizations, participants in the "STORY Collaborative to End the War" are working to redefine what their "peace movement" looks like. Building diverse alliances led by youth and young Veterans, these savvy young activists are using new media, digital story telling, and cultural strategies to send their peace message.

"Young people today are up against some major challenges, including putting an end to this illegal war that is morally and fiscally bankrupting our country, and impacting our entire generation," said Katie Joaquin, an organizer of the STORY Collaborative from Oakland, CA. "We are converging at Highlander to share our stories - from personal accounts of Fallujah to kicking Army recruiters off our campuses - and, as young people who are inheriting the 'war on terror', we are strategizing about how to build a real future of peace and justice."

The STORY Collaborative is a partnership of Iraq Veterans Against the War, the War Resisters League, and the Student Farmworker Alliance, convened by the STORY program (Strategy, Training and Organizing Resources for Youth) at smartMeme-a progressive multi-issue strategy organization. This unique alliance has tapped into diverse youth based constituencies from coast to coast and is using new communications strategies to organize the next generation of the peace movement. Participants are coming from California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, North Carolina, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Puerto Rico.

Through digital story telling strategies, and using personal media tools like ipods, myspace, and cell phone camcorders, STORY Collaborative participants are documenting their experiences on the y(our) story online blog pages at changingthestory.org/iraq. As the collaborative convenes, youth and young veterans will be using this web space to continue their dialogue and share their insights and stories with their peers.

"We are the echo-boom, Millennial generation and we are online, networked, and have a lot to say about the atrocity that is the war in Iraq," said Stephen Funk, a young Conscientious Objector from San Francisco. "We are students, war resisters, veterans, artists, visionaries, media makers, bloggers, bike riders, baristas, and storytellers. We are part of military families. We are part of Immigrant families. We are the new face of the peace movement and we are getting together to, talk strategy, share our stories, make music, create and collaborate to end the war in Iraq."

The STORY Collaborative to End the War strategy retreat runs July 7-9, 2006. More information at: www.changingthestory.org/iraq.

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