By Ann Suellentrop
The International Relations Council or IRC invited PeaceWorks to exhibit at an annual event, “Your Global Future”, on October 11, 2022 at H. Roe Bartle Hall. There were an immense number of conversations and connections made between over 1,200 high school students from widely diverse backgrounds with 60 exhibiting organizations, including 8 businesses, 24 colleges, universities or departments,4 skilled trade organizations, 5 government agencies, 19 nonprofits. There were 24 Kansas City area high schools and student organizations in attendance.
PeaceWorks’ exhibit featured a game using three toilet seats mounted on ladders of varying heights. The students tried to throw bright-colored pool toys in the shape of missiles or bombs into the toilet seats for a prize, such as a comic-book style booklet on U.S. militarization or a toy. Signs on the ladders asked, “What is wasted by nuclear weapons and war?” with answers “All life on earth” or “Trillions of dollars” or “Contaminated environments”. PeaceWorks’ board members Charles Carney, Ann Suellentrop and Henry Stoever worked on the booth. The students were given fliers about Kansas City’s nuclear bomb-parts plant, the National Security Campus, and learned about how they could join PeaceWorks and become activists on peace and social justice issues they are interested in. Many students indicated interest in getting involved in PeaceWorks by submitting articles or photographs for the newsletter or attending events and protests.
Chloe Thomas, IRC’s Global Education Coordinator, said “It was so fun to see PeaceWorks’ elaborate and creative exhibit, and to see students engaging with your game. I so appreciate the time and energy that you all put into contributing to Your Global Future.”
Henry Stoever’s reflections on the event: We emphasized “Move the Money to human care needs, and away from war-making, and chose careers in the helping people areas.” We were right out there, not sitting behind a table, but on our feet the entire time, answering questions, giving our pitch, retrieving the missiles. Teachers were interested in our cause and we offered to come and speak in their classrooms. We made good contacts with other organizations, for example the UPS booth next to our booth, may be a good source for employment for our refugee families we assist. An interesting feature was that the students lobbed the missile and some went into other booths, and occasionally the booth behind us would lob a missile over the curtain wall. Near the end, I found out the booth behind us that lobed missile back was the US Air Force Recruiter for KCMO. We had a good interchange. Also 3 booths was from our booth was the US Army with 6 persons giving their pitch. All the Addicted to War books are distributed and we had a great time. Next time, come and join us for such an outing!!!