On Green, high schoolers pray for peace

by Jinah Roe | 11/22/04 6:00am

Most of them won't be old enough to vote until 2008, but they want to make their opinions known just the same.

Nov. 19 marked the second consecutive Friday afternoon that a handful of Hanover High School students have clustered on the center of the Green for a silent vigil to promote worldwide peace. Dressed in black clothing or black armbands, the self-named Youth in Black model themselves on an international organization of women called Women in Black.

The group's founders, two Hanover high school freshmen who identified themselves only as "ZZ" and "Becky," described the hour-long vigil as an affirmation of their commitment to peace and justice.

"The symbolism of the color black stands for the tragedy of victims of violence. We're just trying to get our voices heard," said Liza, a Hanover High freshman who declined to provide her last name.

The students said they wore black for a multitude of reasons including protesting all wars, supporting America's troops and, most importantly, to promote peace.

The vigils are dedicated to different causes each week. Upcoming vigils plan to promote the freeing of Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma, fighting domestic violence and violence against women around the world and protesting the re-election of George Bush.

The high school students said the vigil allows them to express their positions.

"We're very depressed that we couldn't vote in the last election so we're trying to make a difference in this way," Joanna said.

Although the group is currently composed of Hanover High students, its founders said they welcome any interested Dartmouth students as well. They don't require participants to wear all black, but distribute black armbands to passersby as a reminder of the group's mission.

Most Dartmouth students passing by the small gathering Friday seemed perplexed but curious about the group.

"I think it's a worthwhile cause, and I think it would be great if more Dartmouth students expressed interest in Youth in Black," said Lauren Orr '08.

ZZ said she has found reactions to be mostly positive since the vigils began two weeks ago.

"There are usually some people who are really enthusiastic, take flyers, armbands and talk to us about politics, but the majority of the people who walk by just take a flyer and go," she said. "We haven't met any one who is really opposed to us."

Hanover also used to have a chapter of Women in Black, but that group is now defunct.

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