Purchase Quarterly Meeting Peace and Social Concerns Committee has arranged for a major AFSC developed dramatic, colorful public exhibit on the Cost of War on Tax Filing Day, April 15, at the Westchester County Court House Plaza in White Plains.

This project needs 18 volunteers to make the exhibit effective over the full day in shifts of an hour or two each for the literature table and greeting functions.

Here’s why.

The Quarterly Meeting Peace and Social Concerns Committee, representing Amawalk, Chapppaqua, Croton Valley, Housatonic Valley, Purchase, Scarsdale and Wilton Monthly Meetings as well as other local Friends, will host the AFSC anti-war exhibit, Cost of War, from 8 AM to 8 PM on Income Tax Filing Day, April 15, Income at the Westchester County Court House Plaza on Martin Luther King Blvd. just south of Martine Ave. in White Plains.

The “Cost Of War Exhibit” is based upon the work of Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz and his colleague, Linda Bilmes, who estimate the per day cost the Iraq War for the first 4 years has been $720 million.

The exhibit consists of ten full/color banners, seven feet high, and three feet wide, dramatically mounted back to back on five stands to the height of 12 or 13 feet. The title banner proclaims the cost of one day of the Iraq War as $720 million and asks the viewer, “How would you spend it?”

The other banners give examples of alternative uses for that daily sum: “93,364 Head Start places for children”; “84 new elementary schools”; “423,529 children with healthcare”; “34,904 scholarships for university students”; “12,478 elementary school teachers”; “1,274,336 homes with renewable electricity”; “6,482 families with homes” or “1,163,846 children with free school lunches.”

In addition to the banners, there will be an AFSC petition: Defund the Iraq War/Refund Human Needs, for viewers to sign; full color Cost Of War brochures; and “Frequently Asked Questions” fliers as well as an introduction sheet listing Monthly Meetings in the Quarter to hand out.

That’s where we need the volunteers.

This Cost of War exhibit is not merely an opportunity for members of all the Meetings in the Quarter to work together on an important and dramatic project, but a chance for us all to get to know one another a little better, become more familiar with other meetings in the Quarter to knit our Quaker community together a little more tightly.

We hope some of your members can find a little time somewhere during their Tax day to join with other Friends in the Quarter or at least to stop by. If they can actually put in an hour or more, they should call our Volunteer Coordinator, Virginia Auster at (203) 846-9288. If you have trouble reaching her or her answering machine, call Charles Sirey at (914) 238-0961. If any need more information, call Charles; Virginia; or Bob Bogen, Committee Clerk.

[This exhibit is one of the major projects planned by the committee this year. It follows a dozen other events over the last several years by the committee as well as three other exhibits developed by the AFSC that have been shown in Westchester over the last year or so. All four exhibits were and are coordinated by Charles Sirey of Chappaqua Meeting with major participation of Friends in other Monthly Meetings. Some Friends will remember the AFSC Eyes Wide Open Exhibit at this same location, with its solemn large bronze statues dead and wounded solders in earlier wars, with hundreds of military boots laid out in formation representing New Yorkers who died in Iraq. It generated major photo and written coverage in the local daily papers and their web sites. ]

Bob Bogen, Purchase Quarterly Meeting Peace and Social Concerns Committee Clerk