Braving the cold to support peace
The YSU group plans to attend an anti-war rally in Youngstown on Saturday.
By JoANNE VIVIANO
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- As he talked, Jacob Harver shivered.
The foam coffee cup he held was empty. Coffee wasn't staying warm for long anyway.
"I also care about lives in Afghanistan and lives in Iraq. Do you think your life is more important? Or my life is more important?" he asked.
Harver was talking to another Youngstown State University student.
Todd Griffiths had stopped to talk to him, despite the cold, after his eye was caught by a wooden "shanty" emblazoned with a spray-painted peace sign and anti-war messages.
Griffiths, of Girard, argued for self-preservation during their discussion at YSU.
"It's either him or me," he said. "Do you want to wait until we get the bomb dropped on us? Because it will happen."
Harver, who heads the Youngstown Student Peace Action Network at YSU, is one of about a half-dozen students who took turns standing sentry at the shanty outside Kilcawley Center on Wednesday and were to continue to do so today and Friday. Friday night they will move the shanty near the Cafaro House dormitory and sleep in the nailed-together fortress.
The YSU sign at the corner of Market and Rayen avenues told the midafternoon temperature in digital numbers: 17 degrees.
"We'll have a barrel fire," Harver said, wind blowing the hair that escaped cover of the black hooded sweat shirt he wore beneath an Army-green coat.
Students will rise Saturday to walk to the "Valley Rally Against the War" at 11 a.m. at the Mahoning County Courthouse downtown, Harver said. It is one of several anti-war rallies scheduled across the globe.
Impact on Iraqi people
"We wanted to raise awareness about the rally," Harver said, his red nose sniffling. "Even though we have to deal with the cold, we're better off than Iraqis who live in fear of war."
Harver said that when the shanty project ends, students will be able to go home to running water and medical care. Iraqis, however, may not have running water or medical supplies because of U.S. bombings there during the Persian Gulf War and continuing sanctions.
Harver said the shanty has gotten good response and facilitated dialogue.
"I think if this action gets more people involved," he said, "we'll be able to have more impact in the long run."