Category Archives: Civil Rights
Sophomore Skylar Stains decided to have ‘Peace Shirt Thursdays’ for her and her friend, Lauren Lorraine. They started wearing peace shirts and recruited other friends to wear them. Now, the “Peace Shirt Coalition” as they call themselves, has close to 30 students from all grades.
“We’ve worn handmade peace shirts every Thursday since the first week of school, without fail,” says Skylar Stains.
However, what started out as a light-hearted gesture soon started to be taken out of context. Students started approaching the group members and yelling obscene things at them.
The heckling began early in the school year, according to group members. They say they were putting small posters promoting peace on friends’ lockers with their permission. They thought it was OK, because the cheerleaders and football players had signs on theirs. Eventually, though, group members say they were told by the school’s administration they could no longer hang up the posters.
“People just turned on us like that,” she said. “At least 10 boys stood up and yelled things at me at once, and we couldn’t even walk through the halls without a harsh comment being made.”
“People tore them down and drew swastikas and ‘white power’ stuff on them,” Lauren said, referring to the posters.
Skylar had similar things written on her posters.
“Someone taped an ‘I Love Bush’ sign over my ‘Wage Peace’ sign,” she said. “So I tore it down, threw it away, and the whole commons starting booing.
Someone also hung a sign that said, “I Love America, Because America Loves War.”
Lori Masterson, assistant principal at Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High, said all students have the opportunity to form clubs and organizations on campus, but those wishing to do so must identify a sponsor and bring their written proposal to the principal outlining what the proposed group’s purpose and goals are.
“As of this writing, to my knowledge, no one has submitted a written proposal with an identified sponsor for a peace club,” Masterson said in an e-mailed statement.
But peace group members say they have submitted a written proposal and had a written sponsor.
As you might have expected, they were turned down.
Skylar and Lauren said that despite the backlash, the T-shirts and posters originally had nothing to do with politics, but the outburst from opposing groups have turned it into a political issue.
“People just kept putting words into our mouths, like we said this or that about current politics,” Lauren said. “But we didn’t say anything.”
Soon, a second group started to wear Confederate flag shirts to oppose the peace group, Skylar said. She saw shirts with sayings such as “This is America, get used to it,” and “If peace is the answer; it must be a stupid question.”
“Now there are even ‘support our troops’ kids who don’t like us because I guess they think you can’t say peace and support the troops at the same time,” Lauren said.
Skylar later passed out yellow ribbons for her group to wear to show they support the troops as well as peace.
However, Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High sophomores Lydia Pace and Joseph Marianetti say the Confederate shirts they wear express support for the troops in Iraq, and nothing more. Joseph said the shirts have nothing to do with racism.
For the troops in Iraq? What?
“Someone took something that stood for peace and twisted it” in regards to the swastikas (drawn by a third group) and the Confederate flag, he said.
On John Lennon’s birthday, the group held an honorary Peace Shirt day and was confronted even more than usual, eventually causing some group members, including Cheyenne, to break down in tears.
The peace group members say their shirts continue to draw negative comments from some students, but point out that other school groups don’t receive similar treatment.
“Since peace is causing other problems, the peace kids are being punished,” Skylar said.
Do you think there’s a bunch of fat, white, old time, stuff shirt, war-hawk, racist, conservatives in Cocoa Beach, teaching their kids to be hate mongers?
I believe so.
The People and Families of Cocoa Beach
In Cocoa Beach, about 54% of adults are married. Lots of people in Cocoa Beach live independently, in one-person housing.
Among adults, males are better represented than women in the city. People 65 and older make up an important part of the community in Cocoa Beach.
Wealth and Education
In 2000, Cocoa Beach had a median family income of $51,795. Cocoa Beach isn’t a place with a large population of people in poverty. The city, compared to most cities like it, can boast of a large population of high-income unmarried people.
In the 2004 Presidential fund-raising sweepstakes, George W. Bush came out ahead among Cocoa Beach residents, with $8,770. Residents gave more to the Republican party than any of the others.
Cocoa Beach Housing
In Cocoa Beach, 71% of the houses and apartments are occupied by the owners, not rented out. The city sports a large amount of seasonal housing, typically for vacation or part-time use.
In Cocoa Beach, 91% of commuters drive to work.
Stand tall against the rednecks Skylar. If you need any help on the blogs, we’re here for you. Anyone who wears a Swastika or a Confederate Flag shirt is a pinhead who endorses violence and racial hatred. They are as ignorant and foolish as our current president, who I believe also endorses these very things.
Don’t be naive Skylar. What you are doing is political, just be sure to defend your position. The legion of ‘The Stupid’ that is the Republican party and its sorted conservative knuckleheads will not give up easily because most of these people are patently stubborn and intellectually rigid by default.
Next summer’s Olympics will showcase a China as a modern country of skyscrapers, and Western culture. However the government behind this facade, the same government that has built China into what it is, has acheived modernization by imprisoning political activists, restricting religious freedoms, tightly controling the media and Internet, exposing it’s citizens to deadly pollution, unsafe food and consumer products, and violating international trade treaties with the U.S.
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), consisting of nine U.S. Senators and nine members of the House, noted Communist Party leaders authorize political and religious persecution “Against persons the Party deems to pose a threat to its supremacy…” and that party “officials wield the legal system as a harsh and deliberately unpredictable weapon…”
Here is their overview…
The Commission observed ongoing human rights abuses and stalled development of the rule of law in China during 2006-2007. The Commission also observed increased repression in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and Tibetan Autonomous areas of China, stepped-up harassment of legal advocates, and increased restrictions on Chinese reporters. In addition, across the areas the Commission monitors, the following general themes emerged: (1) Chinese leaders’ increasing intolerance of citizen activism and greater suppression of information on urgent matters of public concern (including food safety, public health, and environmental emergencies); (2) the instrumental use of law for political purposes; (3) the localization of dispute resolution in order to insulate the center from the backlash of national policy failures; and (4) the influence that China’s linkages with the rest of the world have had on some aspects of its domestic rule of law and human rights development.
With the 2008 Olympic Games only months away, China is is under intense pressure from foreign activists to comply with international standards across a broad spectrum of issues. from the workplace to air quality. The CECC not only cited recent issues including food and product safety, which also affects foreign consumers of Chinese exports, but also complained of “inadequate and inconsistent implementation, corruption and a lack of regulatory incentives.” Moreover, the panel found that the Chinese government discourages consumer organizations and harasses people for reporting problems with consumer products. Environmental reforms have been hampered by uncooperative local authorities and outright suppression of green activists that demand the free flow of information.
Human rights also came under fire by the CECC. Chinese communists continue to detain and imprison democracy activists as well as those attempting to organize workers in labor unions not approved by the government. Police routinely detain people for days without formal charge.
2006 saw a tightening of the screws on religion, with communist officials continuing a “campaign of persecution” against the Falun Gong spiritual movement. Protestant church gatherings that didn’t register with the government were shut down, and Catholics were blocked from contact with the Vatican. Independent clergy were also detained, while Tibetan Buddhists faced greater repression.
Foreign reporters were granted greater freedoms, however Beijing have increased government restrictions on domestic journalists in the interest of preserving order and control before the games. The CECC concluded that, “Developments during 2007 suggests that the prospects for a free press in China remain dim.”
The Internet has also threatened the Communist Party’s monopoly of information.
In response, it has restricted access to many websites and imposed licensing requirements aimed at curbing politically sensitive data, with the goal of tracking and arresting online government critics. Chinese officials also continue to impose prior restraints on publishing, and publication of critical books.
Senator Byron L. Dorgan, the commission’s chairman, said the 360-page study was “sober reading,” a sign that repression is getting worse in China”, despite promises of reform. He called the report a “wake-up call” as well.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington was called for a comment, but officials did not respond to it.
Western journalists know full well what China is really about as do our political and business leaders. The latter choose to ignore human rights abuses in the name of economic expansion on the backs of Chinese peasants, using their belief in the need for a global economy to cleanse their collective conscious.
Our actions and reactions as a nation are unconscionable.
I call for a protest and boycott of the 2008 Olympics in China as an act of solidarity and demonstration of support for Chinese people, who are suffering under the yoke of opressive and deadly Communist rule. For humanity sake, we must take a firm stand.