The Public Square

Jan Kruse on C-U’s Anti-War Anti-Racism Effort (AWARE)


Hello, my name is Jan Kruse and I am a member of AWARE the local anti-war anti-racism effort of Urbana Champaign.

If you have seen the local newspaper recently you may have read that some in the community think AWARE is some kind of radical group of subversives out to over throw the government. In a recent commentary I wrote for the paper 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 our schemes of working to end a war based on lies, working for peace & justice and to oppose racism a secret. 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 too 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.