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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

Middle & high school students to launch
peace petition from the State House,
Tuesday, Feb. 11

KINGSTON, R.I. -- Feb. 10, 2003 -- A coalition of middle and high school students from public, parochial and private schools around the state will launch a national campaign, "A Children’s Appeal for Peace," from the rotunda of the Rhode Island State House on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 4 p.m.

Students from St. Mary’s Bay View in East Providence and South Kingstown High School and students from Curtis Corner Middle School in South Kingstown drafted a petition that they are circulating nationally via e-mail and snail mail among middle and high school students. The petition calls for President Bush and the U.S. Congress to find a nonviolent solution to the conflict with Iraq.

Students are expected to read a prepared statement during the launch which, in part, says: "It is our love and patriotism towards the country we call home that makes us feel the need for our voices to be heard …If we see a conflict that is solved violently, then we are taught to solve problems violently. You, the leaders of today, are impacting us, the leaders of tomorrow, greatly."

The students make it clear that they are not interested in a legacy of death and destruction, but rather are calling on the adults with the power to make policy, to lead in a bold and compassionate manner, to show the world that America can be a leader in nonviolent conflict reconciliation. It is the students’ hope that the youth of the world will hear of the petition and know that American youth are hoping for and working towards peace.

Amy Leonard, from the Esperanza Institute, a nonviolence educational organization affiliated with the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, is helping to coordinate the children’s efforts.

"These children have important insights and a profound understanding of nonviolent alternatives to war. We should be listening to their voices before we make decisions that effect their future. We owe that to them," she says.

Families and others who wish to become involved in the Children’s Appeal for Peace can contact the Esperanza Institute at

For More Information: Amy Leonard, 792-0229/741-6425, Eric White, 782-8878.

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