The morning of April 5, Young Americans for Liberty at the University of West Florida started preparing our table for the two-day festival at which we’d be tabling.
Festival on the Green at UWF is a community-wide event that’s usually heavily attended and popular around the area, more so with community members than with students. What a perfect opportunity to bridge the gap between campus and community activism!
We arrived on campus carrying our boxes of tabling supplies, our easel (which is, for the record, harder to put together than you’d think!), and our Pin the Drone on the Warzone poster.
It was cloudy out, unseasonably and freezing cold to us Floridians at around 50 degrees, but the real problem became apparent as soon as we began trying to set up our tent cover: the wind was awful!
Every few minutes, wind gusts would send all our supplies flying, and we’d have to chase them down. We were able to be creative with tape and pens and soon had a table setup that stayed put (but would make Morton Blackwell shudder), but with only two members there, it became apparent that Pin the Drone would not work right then.
Luckily, our chapter president has a very messy car, and we have quick-thinking members who we were able to go retrieve Economics Jenga — except for this event, we called it Foreign Policy Jenga. We explained to players that the pieces represented the complex collection of nations in the world, and that rearranging the pieces would ultimately lead to instability and collapse.
Even though the event was very lightly attended on Friday, our table immediately began attracting attention. Local media even did an extended interview in front of our table while children played Jenga.
This momentum carried on into the next day, as our dedicated members spent another 8+ hours bringing attention to the costly and tragic generation of war.The weather even got better soon, and we got to use both the poster and Jenga.
In a very heavily military, heavily conservative/Republican area, we were concerned that reaction would not be as favorable as to our economics outreach. However, less than 4 people the entire weekend responded negatively, out of hundreds. We were pleased to find that the conservatives, liberals, Republicans, and Democrats of Northwest Florida are joining the rest of the nation in realizing that this generation of war is unwise and simply unsustainable.
We gave away nearly all of our tabling materials and pocket constitutions over the two days, and although we did not boast the hundreds of student signups of other events, we were able to be among the most trafficked booths and reach out to hundreds of students and community members.
We have a strategy meeting coming up soon to decide where we’ll go from here, and we look forward to meeting the dozen or so new students who plan to join!
Our generation is, tragically, the war generation. But it is also, through groups such as YAL and events such as this one, the activist generation — passionate and well-trained and dedicated to changing our world. We will be a part of that. Will you?Published in