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Bergen County Coalition Calls for Teaching Moratorium
Upon U.S. War Escalation
For more information on this effort, contact Zoe Baldwin at or visit http://www.bergenaction.net
The following letter was written before the invasion of Iraq began.
As we enter the New Year, our nation is on the brink of a war against Iraq. As the deadline for the U.N. weapon's inspections draws nearer, many fear that the war machine has already been set in motion and little chance remains to avert future hostilities. In the event the United States government should launch an attack on Iraq, on the two days following the official invasion, The Bergen Peace & Justice Coalition calls upon the educators of Bergen County to suspend normal class activities to allow for discussions, forums and teach-ins addressing the war, its cause and effects, foreign policy, and the implications and impact upon domestic life, especially on the nation's youth.
This time should be used to foster an on-going dialogue and create an outlet of expression for those most effected by an unjust war – the youth. Students and youth are not only susceptible to issues such as a potential draft, they will also be the generation left to live with the repercussions of the international backlash from a war on terrorism that may last "our entire lives." As the current administration prioritizes a military build-up and conflict resolution through violence, education and social services will suffer to the detriment of the most vulnerable sectors of the nation's population. The recession will deepen, unemployment will rise and the current generation will be left with little or no viable opportunities to invest in its future.
With the utmost urgency, we urge our local educators to recognize the importance of this national and international crisis and to dedicate the proper time and attention to it that an event of this magnitude demands. On the days following the official start of war, please participate in the Teaching Moratorium. Should such an attack occur during the winter recess, The Moratorium will take place during the first two days of the new session.
The Bergen Peace and Justice Coalition (BP&J Co.) is a grassroots effort comprised of over fifteen student, community and faith-based organizations from Bergen County - all united in the single purpose of promoting peace by opposing a war against Iraq. Through the involvement of student-based member organizations like the Bergen Action Network, Resist (Ramapo College), and Bergen Community College Against the War (BCCAW), our coalition represents numerous local high school and college students deeply concerned for their future and the future of the country. We also represent parents and teachers, among others, who have joined with us to make this request.
We thank you for your cooperation and your commitment to the intellectual empowerment of your students and the youth of Bergen County. Please contact us to let us know you plan to participate in The Moratorium and to add your name to the growing list of participating educators. We will be glad to answer any questions and provide any materials that may facilitate these forums. Please email or call 201-378-7377.
The Bergen Peace & Justice Coalition