U.S. Representative and world-known activist Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) spoke yesterday with students and community members on the various issues surrounding war and peace with Iraq, calling upon members of the University community to organize as a group in order to implement change in the future.

Paul Wong
U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a leading congressional opponent of the Iraqi war resolution, speaks at the Union.

Many students – who said they were exhausted from all of the pro-war rhetoric being expressed by certain media and the Bush administration – actively participated with Kucinich in a discussion over many of the critical issues embedded within this hot debate.

Kucinich stressed the importance of grassroots activism and encouraged audience members to “show people the power that they do have” and reach out in order to get other community members involved and educated.

“The voting movement didn’t start in Washington – it started in the streets,” Kucinich said, emphasizing the significance of communities on a local level becoming involved in order to make change.

Kucinich also spoke about the choices that “we” as a society make and the effects that these choices have.

“We have to believe in our ability to affect each other,” he said, “As we choose, so chooses the world.”

On the issue of Iraq, Kucinich told audience members that “all of the oil in Iraq is not worth a drop of blood of anybody, citizens of Iraq or otherwise.”

“We need to challenge this notion that somehow the lives of our young are expendable,” he added.

“It’s time for a different debate in America. It’s time to stop being boxed in,” Kucinich said.

He stressed the need for students and community members present to think outside of the box in order to make change.

“My purpose is to look at the institutions that we have and challenge them to make them work. I’ll do it from the inside, you do it from the outside. That is how we will get them to work,” he said, illustrating the importance of various aspects of society working together in order to implement change.

After speaking on the issues surrounding war and peace in Iraq, Kucinich answered many questions ranging from his opinion on stem-cell research to the problem of poverty in South Africa.

His overall message throughout his responses was that: “Yes we should do and can do more for all of the nations of the world, particularly those who are dispossessed. We need to do more for them.

But it goes back to our ability to raise consciousness that we can make a change.”

Kucinich closed with an inspirational quotation from former U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy saying, “Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep own the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

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