Local students looking to give peace a chance will have the opportunity to learn how they can protest against war during the first annual Isla Vista Peace Festival on Saturday.
The festival, which is co-sponsored by KCSB-FM 91.9, the UCSB Solidarity Against War group and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), will feature a teach-in at I.V. Theater and a free concert. During the teach-in, held from 1 to 5:30 p.m., UCSB Black Studies professor Otis Madison, NAPF Youth Coordinator Will Parrish, Veterans for Peace member Loretta Reed and three other activists will lead a panel discussion titled “The Movement to End the Iraq War: Three Years Later.”
The teach-in will also feature various workshops and a keynote address by Brian Bogart, the University of Oregon’s only graduate student in Peace Studies, who refused to attend classes at the university last fall to protest military projects being conducted at his school. From 6 to 10 p.m., there will be a concert in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park featuring BIXBY, Crosby Loggins & the Namedroppers and Rebelution. Event organizer Amy Mackreth, a fourth-year communications major, said the festival is scheduled to coincide with the third anniversary of the the war in Iraq.
Parrish said he thinks the festival will help show UCSB students that they can have an effect on national and international politics.
“The aim of the Isla Vista Peace Festival is to tell an empowering story about the ability of everyone – not just politicians or major business executives – to make a major difference in issues related to war and peace,” Parrish said.
Parrish said he will lead a workshop discussing the possibility of a war with Iran. He said he will address the U.S. military’s involvement with Iran, Iran’s current nuclear capabilities and the ability of students to advocate against future wars.
“It is vital for our generation to get educated right now about what we can do to affect global politics,” Parrish said.
Faiza Al-Araji, a woman and civil engineer from Iraq, will also speak at the festival and will lead a workshop called “Myths & Realities of the Iraq War.” In a March 4 blog, Al-Araji said she thinks her workshop will provide an opportunity for students to learn about the war in Iraq from the perspective of an Iraqi citizen.
“We just want to let the people here understand more about Iraq from Iraqi people, not from biased media,” Al-Araji said in the blog.
Parrish said he thinks the event will help students understand the realities of war and peace. He said he thinks it is important for students to learn about armed conflicts, even if they occur abroad, so they can understand how to advocate for peace.
“As an anti-war organizer, one of the main things you try to do is bring the war home to people who are otherwise removed from it – physically and emotionally,” Parrish said.