Hit & Stay

Hit & Stay
Joe Tropea & Skizz Cyzyk
Video, 98 min., 2013, USA, World Premiere

"On May 17, 1968, the Catholic activists who would come to be known as the Catonsville Nine entered Selective Service Local Board No. 33 in Catonsville, Maryland, and removed 378 draft files for young men considered available for immediate and unrestricted military service. The activists set the files ablaze with homemade napalm, recited a prayer, made statements to the press, and waited peacefully to be arrested in a textbook "hit and stay" action. Their actions shaped the antiwar movement and helped end the draft.

Today, in the midst of another endless war, this bit of history is worth revisiting not only because it highlighted the connection between the peace, poverty, and civil-rights movements, but also because many of these same activists are still working among us. As (one of the nine) George Mische says, anyone could do what the members of the Baltimore Four and Catonsville Nine did. And even at a time when there is no draft to motivate young people into taking action and we have an African American president, rather than congratulate ourselves on how far we've come, it might benefit Americans to remember just how connected things like poverty, race, violence, prison, and war in fact are and how far we still have to go. (JT)



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