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Youths organizing walk for peace

Demonstrators will stride from Central Market to Winslow Green on July 17.

“Fahrenheit 9/11” has sparked more than controversy.

Michael Moore’s film knocking the Bush administration has inspired local teens to organize a peace walk from Poulsbo to Winslow on July 17, on the theme of “No more lies.”

“We got the idea after seeing Michael Moore’s ‘9/11’ movie,” said Corbin Lester, a Bainbridge resident and sophomore at West Sound Academy. “We decided we wanted to do something instead of just being mad about what the Bush administration’s doing...

“This peace walk is about inviting people to think, and take a more active role in changing our country.”

Participants, who will stride from Poulsbo’s Central Market to Winslow Green with a stop at Chief Sealth’s grave in Suquamish, are invited to carry a sign with their “favorite Bush administration fib.” The event is billed by co-organizers Kate Briggs, Lester’s West Sound classmate, and homeschooled 10th-grader Sam Weinstock as a quiet, non-confrontational march for all ages.

While the walk marks Lester’s shift to activism, Weinstock walked across Washington State with the Hiroshima Flame peace walk in 2002 and is no stranger to political action.

“It’s really how I’ve been brought up,” said Weinstock, who lives in Indianola.

He says reactions to peace walkers range from rude hand gestures to honks of approbation. But, “whether it’s a bad reaction or a good reaction, you’ve got people reacting, and that’s what we’re out there to do,” he said.

Weinstock is bemused by what he views as public acquiescence to Bush administration policies.

“It’s scary how easily people have gone along with them,” he said. “I think a lot of it comes down to misinformation.”

Weinstock stays current by listening to alternative news sources like Democracy Now, broadcast locally on Bainbridge Island Broadcasting’s Channel 12. The high school sophomore also reads Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn.

The youths have made signs with slogans like “Precision bombing, 13,000 civilian deaths.”

The young people think about the U.S. troops being lost as well.

And they are aware that they are close to the age of the troops serving in Iraq. If the draft were reinstated, it wouldn’t be many years before they would be called on to serve.

“I’m 15 so it’s, like, perfect timing,” Weinstock said. “But it’s not just selfish. (War is) something I don’t want anyone to experience.”

Organizers say talking to neighbors is important, and they believe in the possibility of transformation.

A scene that Lester points to from “Fahrenheit 9/11” – in which a mother whose son is killed in Iraq is changed by the death from Bush supporter to a critic of the war – impressed him most.

“She went from being a strong supporter of (Bush) to being really upset by all the things that he’s done,” Lester said. “You can’t argue with that. People can dismiss the liberal people who are always against the war, but when someone changes, that really spoke to me.”

Truth first

The “No More Lies!” Peace Walk on July 17 meets at Central Market in Poulsbo at 9:30 a.m. An informal talking circle will be held at Chief Sealth’s grave before lunch at the Suquamish Church. The walk ends on Bainbridge Island at Winslow Green. Bring sign, banners and snacks. Walkers are encouraged to bring a placard exposing a “favorite fib” from the Bush administration. Volunteers can prepare lunch for walkers; call 780-5346, (360) 297-2437 or (360) 297-8144 for more information.

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