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Earth Notes

Kingman teens protest war

By Gillian Ferris Kohl

Kingman, AZ – Sound of cars driving by

Rush hour traffic on a Wednesday evening in downtown Kingman is virtually non-existent. It is, perhaps, not the greatest venue for an effective war protest. Nonetheless, a group of young people line historic Route 66 hoping their homemade signs to Honk for Peace will draw some reaction from their few passersby.


2/3:20 my name's H.T. Green and even though this may not make an international effect, or anything else I hope that just maybe one person a day can stop and think about the war and how wrong it is

Green is twenty years old with long, neatly trimmed brown hair. He is the oldest among this group of war protestors and says a fear of apathy motivated him to demonstrate against the war in Iraq.

2/3:57 back in the 1960's we were doing hard core protests the Buddhist monks burning themselves alive in the streets to show agent orange was being used in a horrible way now, today what is the largest scale protest there's nothing I just don't want to be one of those people that sits on the couch and watches the evening news and mutters about the war and how horrible it is and then does nothing about it

That's why, for the last three months, Green and the other protestors have been gathering every Wednesday evening at five o'clock at Locomotive Park to demonstrate against the war. Gary Davis is a junior at Kingman High School. He's dressed in skinny black jeans and has a gold bull ring through his nose. He says he's confused about why the Bush administration says immediate withdraw would be dangerous for the United States.

2/2:45 we went in there one day, why can't we just leave one day 2/2:28 it'd be nice if it stopped tomorrow, that'd be really good, but it most likely won't be like that
Davis is one of a handful of Kingman High School students protesting the war. He says he wishes more of his peers would take a stand on the war one way or another and is happy for any response from drivers passing by.

Engine rev

2/2:54 a lot of people who support us usually honk, people who are mad drive by and rev their engines but we get a lot of really good response most of the time

And just at that moment, an elderly woman in a giant Cadillac slows down in front of the group. She's wearing a bright pink beret and holds a tiny teacup poodle in her lap.

2/5:44 honk I believe in what you're doing thank you ma'am

Drives off

Kingman High School Senior Tara Findlay was also inspired by the sight of the demonstrators. So inspired, in fact, that she organized a school walk out earlier this month to get more young people involved in political activism.

1/ 2:17 our goal was just basically to raise awareness in this town because not a lot of stuff like this happens we really wanted to make a point by walking out so people would see we're taking a strong stand and we're sick of this there's a lot of people dying because of it

Findlay and the other students who walked out may have the true spirit of burgeoning activists because they were willing to accept the fallout from their actions.

1/1:24 of course we did get suspended because we walked out of school so there were consequences, but we did get a lot of support for it, so it was cool

Pat Mickelson is the principal at Kingman High School. She says Findlay came to her before the walk out to tell her about the plan.

1/ 2:18 so, we had a nice conversation it happened to be the day after Rosa Parks died and we talked about civil disobedience, kinds of protests, the kinds of disagreement that was meaningful but, I said, you need to make sure everyone understands that leaving campus without permission will be considered ditching and there will be consequences

The students accepted those consequences and joined the protest anyway. Mickelson says she's proud of them for standing up for something they believe in.

1/5:57 I truly hope that they continue to be thinkers and to be informed and not just accept something they read over the internet or something they catch on the news, but go and find other sources and learn more about it, because in order to be good, responsible citizens that is their job, to be informed, so I encourage that

Bring up traffic and honking

For H.T. Green and his girlfriend, Tianna, who snuggles under Green's arm to keep warm, they are encouraged by every reaction to their protests, even the rude ones.

3/1:12 as far as negative reactions go, we get a lot of middle fingers, another popular one is just thumbs down which is just funny, or just the random noises the guy last week drove by and he couldn't muster any words, all he could say was ahhhh and we're like, wow, I'm not sure if that was for the war or against the war laughter (Tianna) when we get flipped off, we just collect the middle finger as half a peace sign and when we get two we make it a whole peace sign

The young protestors plan to continue their weekly demonstrations until the war in Iraq ends. For Arizona Public Radio, I'm Gillian Ferris Kohl, in Kingman.