The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jo Comerford, NPP
413.559.1649 or

What Would You Do With a Trillion Dollars?

Young people from across the nation voice alternatives to war spending through film


The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and National Priorities
Project (NPP) are preparing to announce the six lucky winners of If I Had a Trillion Dollars
(IHTD), a national video contest which asks young people to convey how
they would spend the more than $1 trillion dollars spent on the U.S.
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After receiving 48
compelling video submissions from passionate young men and women across
the country, AFSC and NPP will be announcing first, second and third
place prizes in both the middle/high school and the college level
categories on January 17, 2011, the celebrated birthday of The Reverend
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. All videos can be viewed on the IHTD YouTube

two national organizations launched this collaboration with the goal of
engaging young people in conversation about military spending and our
nation's federal budget priorities.

prize is a trip to Washington, D.C. and a video screening for members
of Congress and the Obama Administration, to coincide with the release
of the President's 2012 budget.

A panel of esteemed
artists/scholars, Haydn Reiss, Andrea Assaf, Diana Coryat and Vijay
Prashad, will judge the submissions and decide the winners for each

Nathara Bailey, at Amherst Regional High School (MA)
reflected that she "had never worked with federal figures and the only
thing [she] knew about the budget was from [her] own school and seeing
[programs] being cut." While she had an idea of how much money the wars
have cost, working with the exact figures "created a whole other level
or layer to [her] understanding of how much money was being spent."
Bailey focused on education because "everything starts there...there are
a lot of things missing in [the] education system due to the budget and
that's really unfortunate because that's where we are supposed to start
being people."

Cara Cheng, at Lick-Wilmerding High School (CA)
wrote, "Instead of using $1 trillion to harm, we have multiple
alternatives to use the money to benefit the world. I participated in
this contest to help our community and our world."

Aiden Tharp,
at the University of Chicago (IL) offered, "The number one change I
would like to see in my community is better and broader funding of
social service programs, whether housing, food, income, children and
family services or education. Just one example of where we need help is
with homeless youth in Chicago. On any given night there are
approximately 9.000 homeless youth looking for shelter but only 306 beds

To view and comment on the videos, visit For more on the contest, visit

For more on AFSC's work for peace and justice, visit, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. To find out more about the federal budget and spending, visit

The National Priorities Project (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) research organization that analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent. Located in Northampton, MA, since 1983, NPP focuses on the impact of federal spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional district and local levels. For more information, go to