November 24, 2010

Grandmas' peaceful toy drive is on!

The Northland Chapter of Grandmothers for Peace has begun its 25th annual peaceful toy drive! Toys will be accepted until Dec. 18. Decorated boxes will be available at local businesses and organizations for donations of new toys that promote nonviolent play.

Participating locations in Superior: Cathedral of Christ the King Church (1111 Belknap St), the Superior Public Library’s children’s room, Take 2 Consignments (1202 Belknap St), the Superior-Douglas County YMCA (9 21st St), Earth Exchange (1713 Belknap St), WITC’s early childhood education program (600 N. 21st St), and Superior High School’s FBLA group.

Duluth locations: Peace Church (1111 N. 11th Ave E), the Tech Village, Chester Creek CafĂ© (1902 E. Eighth St), UMD Women’s Resource and Action Center, Explorations (201 W. Superior St), Green Mercantile (209 E. Superior St), Taste of Saigon restaurant, ECO (400 W. Superior St), and Building for Women (32 W. First St).

Toys are donated to the Loaves and Fishes community and the Center Against Sexual And Domestic Abuse. Please support the toy drive and donate, as well as purchasing items that encourage creativity and peaceful play for all the young people in your life! For more information contact Dorothy Wolden (218) 590-2981 or dwolden(at)aol(dot)com, or Penny Cragun (218) 727-2972 or pcragun(at)d(dot)umn(dot)edu.

In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and four other leading public health organizations issued a joint statement re-affirming a causal connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children. They warned that "prolonged viewing of media violence can lead to emotional desensitization toward violence in real life," and that children "who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts."

While the toy industry dismisses the concerns of the medical establishment, the US military is seeking to capitalize on them. In recent years every branch of the military has developed a Hollywood liaison office, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to create "militainment" designed to shape social attitudes about war. For its part, the US Army has become a national leader in online gaming, using popular computer games like America's Army not only to influence young people's perceptions of war but also as an invasive recruiting tool.

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