If you have seen the local newspaper recently you may
have read that some in the community think AWARE, the
local anti-war anti-racism effort of Urbana Champaign, is
some kind of radical group of subversives out to overthrow
the government. In a recent commentary I voiced
opposition to violence carried out with US tax dollars and
in our name. But it seems there is just no way to convince
the anti anti-war people about who we are through the
print media. So I decided to try the WILL Public Square.
Actually, AWARE doesn’t mind all the exposure and
publicity we have recently received. It seems when you are
working hard for peace and justice (that is; the alternative
to war and racism) some folks may be fearful of the results
that may come forth and affect their lives. Some people’s
lives may be impacted by AWARE’s efforts. Here is an
example of the effect AWARE might have on you and your
life. With the help of our vast network of influence
AWARE was able to legally place referenda on the annual
township meeting agendas. And because of this effort,
next February local township residents in Champaign and
Urbana will be able to cast advisory votes on issues such as
ending the funding for war, voting to help fund assistance
for the poorest among us, voting to regain the basic rights
of citizens, and voting to keep war with Iran off the US
agenda. Giving citizens the opportunity to cast ballots…
pretty radical stuff.
I imagine the reason some folks are not too happy with
AWARE and its tactics might be due to our ability to bring
together the usual suspects. That would be your neighbors.
We are teachers, retirees, ordained ministers, university
folks, high school students, medical staff, librarians,
school administrators and veterans.
Each time a letter to the editor appears and mentions
AWARE and gives credit to our humble group for so many
positive undertakings in the community, we smile knowing
how impressive our reputation has grown! AWARE has
come out of the shadows and though some say AWARE is a
radical cult of blind followers there seems to be no stopping
AWARE as we continue to gather strength and momentum.
Since AWARE meets publicly each Sunday at the local
Independent Media Center at the old post office in
Urbana, it’s extremely difficult to keep secret our schemes
of working to end a war based on lies, and of working for
peace & justice and to oppose racism. Especially since all
are welcome to attend and help plan the next venture in
global intrigue at the local level.
There is no secret knock or password, just walk on in.
You may be surprised at our humble group. Although it’s
probably best to keep the actual member list “off the
record,” it is possible someone you know might be a
member of AWARE and is working for peace and justice
in the community.
If you are brave, believe in free speech, have an opinion,
and may or may not work well with others, but care
about humanity and how we engage the world, then you
might like to join us next Sunday at 5:00 PM at the IMC.
Come on in and join the effort.
The preceding commentary was heard on public broadcasting
station, WILL-AM 580, during “The Public
Square,” a weekly 3-minute opinion piece from any member
of the community on any subject of interest to
him/her. “The Public Square” airs at 4:45 pm and 6:45
pm Fridays. Commentaries are archived on WILL’s website.
To submit a commentary of your own for broadcast,