Following a national anti-war rally held Oct. 6 in San Francisco, Mill’s students convened at a lunchtime forum Monday to voice their opinions about the possibility of war with Iraq.
Organizing Mills, an activist group on campus whose mission it is to get students involved in the greater Mills community, planned the event as part of a larger movement to resist the interests of oil companies from becoming the sole deciding factor in U.S. international relations.
With faculty and students moving in and out, at its peak the rally maintained an estimated thirty-five people. Onlookers sat on the grass, benches and on the steps in front of the Tea Shop to hear different members of the Mills community take the podium for an open forum and speak out.
In a statement read by Ramon Torrecilha, executive vice president, at the lunch time event, President Janet Holmgren stated “We must learn over and over again that war and the threat of war only lead to more violence not to peace and justice.
I am very proud of our Mills community and the efforts we are making individually and collectively to stand strong against violence and war and to work energetically using education and commitment for peace.”
Alysha Grevious, a junior and vice-president of the Black Woman’s Collective was pleased that Mills was becoming more involved in political concerns.
“A lot of people don’t know about the issues. The more people know, the more we can talk, and the more people can find their voices.”
All in attendance were hopeful about their involvement.
“I want to hope that this is making a difference. We have our voices, but unless we’re putting money into it, a difference isn’t going to be made,” said Tara Hutcheon a Sophomore transfer student.
“Our young people need to be persuaded to vote, because that is what is going to make the real difference, voting and electing officials who share our views.”
But not everyone’s voice was heard at the lunch time rally. Freshwoman Amanda Glasser’s voice wasn’t heard at the lunchtime peace rally. As the minority view on campus she finds her views differing from the views of many of her peers.
“They disappoint me. People here are looking only at one very radical point of view,” she said.
“I may be biased because I’m from Texas where the word liberal is an insult, but I’m used to sitting down and listening to both sides, many people who are protesting, aren’t listening to both sides.”
However most in attendance were protesting Bush’s actions toward Iraq and other US international relations issues including faculty members.
Deborah Santana, professor at ethnic studies, energetically brought to light the Latin American connection to the issue at hand.
Fred Lawson, professor of government, would like to organize an informational event on the Middle Eastern conflict sometime in the near future.
“I’m interested in [conveying] a broad range of information, providing enough depth that no matter what opinion people hold, they will have good data to base it on,” said Lawson.
Judy VanHoorn, education professor and member of The Society for Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence, summed up the majority sentiment on the Mills campus, when she said that “anyone concerned about the future should be involved in activities where they take a broader or a more global look. It’s important to show that you do care.”