Photos © by Bud Korotzer
Commentary by Chippy Dee, Photos by Bud Korotzer
On Tuesday, July 14th, in front of the Hilton Hotel in NYC members of the World Can’t Wait, youth from the Ya-Ya Network, and their allies had a press-conference and demonstration against military recruiters being invited to the career fair at the 100th Anniversary National Convention of the NAACP. The message was that young people need money for school and decent jobs, not the “opportunity” to be killed or kill others in two illegitimate occupations or to be associated with torture or abuse of detainees in Bagram or Guantanamo.
Over 1000 people, including Howard Zinn, Cindy Sheehan, and Michael Parenti, petitioned the NAACP asking them not to give military recruiters access to their young people. The NAACP rejected their plea.
While some demonstrators stayed outside the hotel with signs others went inside to talk to recruiters and hand out leaflets explaining why military recruiters should not be there.
There was about 56 exhibitors at the fair. This number includes recruiters from the Air Force, Air National Guard, Army, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Contract Management Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Missile Defense Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Navy Recruiting Command, Secret Service, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Marine Corps ‘Civilian Marines’. In addition, there were military contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
Most attendees ignored the demonstrators while others were very supportive. And when demonstrators inside spoke to the non-military recruiters, telling them they were glad to see people offering jobs that wouldn’t endanger anyone’s life the recruiters were very appreciative.
When security at the career fair saw people handing out anti-military recruitment leaflets they were told that they had to leave immediately or the police would be called. One of the participants, Sara, put her leaflets away and said she wouldn’t hand them out anymore but was told she had to leave anyway. When she asked why she was being thrown out security just kept repeating “You have to leave”. No explanation was given. Afterwards she said that she felt something important had been accomplished. We made our point and our presence known to both the attendees and the recruiters.
Photos © by Bud Korotzer