Joyous Bubbles

Monday, March 27, 2006

Students for Peace and the wonders of the Puppestistas


This fall I started organizing a student peace activism group, and last weekend we went to our first demonstration as a group. My home community has a fairly good size progressive community, and on March 19th we had at least 200 folks gather for an anti-war rally. We walked a couple as blocks as a group and then we gathered in front of our federal building for the rally. There was a number of speakers (including me! I spoke I young people's involvement in the anti-war movement).

I was incredibly proud of our budding peace group, we managed to get 20 people to participate, and we had a vary cool looking banner and sings. Pretty awesome.

I think, however, that one of the coolest part of the demonstration was the Puppetistas. The Puppestistas are a group of creative individuals who gather once a year at the School of Americas Watch, but also gather at other big demonstrations. They make huge, colorful, puppets and they do street theater. Political street theater, is one of the most vibrant and indeed important parts of the peace movement.

I participated in a workshop that the three Puppetistas provided for our community the night before the demonstration. It embodied at least three of the things that I find core in social justice movements. First of all, it provided a prime example of the power of humor or and joy in social justice. Humor is an incredibly powerful force and so is joy. I think if an activist isn't based in joy they are bound to get discouraged, burnt out, and rapidly become pessimistic and cynical. Likewise a heavy dose of humor can keep the activists sharp, but can also be used as a powerful tool in gaining change.

I think the Puppestistas also are an excellent example of using everyone's gifts. If you utilize what people are gifted at, instead of simply assigning them a task, the work they do will be phenomenal. If you are an artist then you should paint or draw (or make big puppets which includes both. . .along with a fearless agility with a stapler) to bring about peace. If you are a dancer you should dance to stop the war in Iraq, if you are a speaker you should speak, if you are a stilt walker you should walk on stilts (another thing the Puppestistas do). If you are an actor. . .then by all means you should use that to change the world. If everyone could use their gifts then the movement (the peace movement, but also any social justice movement) would be stronger. The Puppestistas give those who have those sorts of artistic gifts a way to use them.

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