Student rallies for peace
By Kathy Cleveland
HOLLIS--Ashley Irvine decided recently that the US bombing in Afghanistan is not right and wanted to make her beliefs known in the most public way possible. So the 16-year old high school junior organized a peace rally that will be held in front of Nashua City Hall tomorrow (Oct. 20) at noon.
"The bombing wasn't productive. And even though I couldn't do anything to stop it, I wanted to do something," she said.
Organizing a rally wasn't as hard as she thought it would be. Originally Ashley wanted to hold the rally at the State House in Concord but felt that getting permission would take too long. And she thinks more people from this area would go to a rally in Nashua than Concord.
I called the mayor's office and the clerk gave me the go-ahead. I called all the press I could think of," she said.
She has the support of her parents, Debbi and Ken Kimble, who don't agree with her anti-war views, she said, but are behind her efforts to organize the rally.
"My stepfather was in the Army for nine years and supports the military, but he supports what I'm doing," she said. "I dragged him to Wal-Mart last night for poster materials."
Ashley knows her opinions buck the prevailing mood about US bombing in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but she was surprised that she was not allowed to hang her homemade anti-war posters on the walls of the high school.
Principal Frank Bass told the Journal that since the rally is not a school-sponsored event, and the school is part of the state Department of Education and "an arm of the US government" he does not want to advertise an anti-war rally on the school walls.
"I was surprised, I didn't think he would say no," said Ashley, who went underground, handing out information to fellow students and giving posters to a few teachers to hang in their classrooms.
The self-possessed young woman, who describes herself as stubborn and strong-willed, founded her high school's chapter of Amnesty International last year. She has never organized a rally before, but that doesn't faze her.
"It's worth a shot," she said Tuesday. "If no one shows up, at least I tried."