The pledge

LIHUE — International Peace Day is Sept. 21. A group of Kauai youth will honor the day by holding a media violence fast from Tuesday through Sept. 21. They will join thousands of youth nationally also honoring the media fast and are encouraging the youth of Kauai to lead the way to peace in our community.

“We realize that some of our peers may think this fast might be seen as lame or stupid,” said Michael Anderson, Kapaa High School freshman. “Our hope is to just raise awareness. We are not asking them to give up their violence media permanently — but to be aware of how it may be affecting our world.”

“We continue to see violence escalate even though many are not aware of it,” said Brynn White, seventh-grader at Puukumu School.

Kauai officials have voiced their support for the students’ efforts.

“What a wonderful way to build awareness in our youth that peace begins within, and if we put violence into our minds we cannot be peaceful,” said JoAnn Yukimura, Kauai councilwoman.

Here is the pledge:

I pledge to avoid all violent television programs, movies, and video games from Sept. 15-21, 2015.

I pledge to dedicate myself to peace during this time.

I pledge to share my fast with my family and friends and encourage them to participate also.

Kahu Rennie Mau, islandwide youth coordinator of Kauai UCC Association Churches, said studies have shown that children will see an estimated 100,000 acts of violence on television in the next 10 years.

“There is a stronger connection between violence on television and aggressive behavior than the connection between lead exposure and lower IQs in children,” Mau said.

Children spend more time — six and a half hours per day — in front of computer, television and game screens than any other activity except sleeping.

“In many ways, the media industry has been saying that violence seen on TV, movies, and computer games don’t hurt inspite of its glamour and impact,” Mau said. “But perhaps what we are saying is that violence may reinforce the myths and images, beliefs and attitudes of a culture of violence.”

In a recent article on media violence by Elizabeth Thoman, founder of the Center for Media Literacy, states that American society has been engaged in a “circle of blame.”

• Writers/directors say the producers require violence in programs in order to get them financed;

• Producers blame network executives for demanding “action” in order to get ratings;

• Network executives say competition is brutal and blame the advertisers for pulling out unless a show gets high ratings;

• Advertisers say it’s all up to the viewers.

Thoman said it’s time to break the “circle of blame” by engaging millions of people in a national movement that leads “from awareness to action, from passivity to engagement, from denial and blame to accepting responsibility for what each of us can do as individuals, as parents, as citizens in today’s media society.”

Some students have decided to take the lead.

“We thought if we could have our peers choose to stay away from violence, then we would become better people because violence wouldn’t be in our thoughts and we could be happy, friendly, and respect one another,” said Alana Ramos, Kauai High School sophomore.

The Media Violence Fast is part of a “Media Smart” Project hosted by Koolau Hui’ia Church, the Kauai Association United Church of Christ, and Kanuikapono Charter School.

Over a 12-week period, a group of students will gather to study in meetings and online to put together a media smart digital magazine and a series of locally produced music videos.

It is funded in part by a Dora Isenberg Grant and GAMEKIDS Kauai providing in-kind services.

Junior high and high school students are welcome to be a part of the editorial team, contact Kahu Rennie Mau at (808) 280-9591 or email: kahumau@gmail.com.

The public is invited to celebrate The International Day of Peace at Lydgate Park 3 to 7 p.m. Sept. 20 sponsored by Interfaith Roundtable of Kauai.

This year’s theme is “Partnerships for Peace — Dignity for All.”

Enjoy free admission and free food, music, and entertainment. Pets are welcome.

The Peace Day program near Kamalani Playground will feature cultural performances, local artists Michael and Carrie Fox; Joyful Noise taiko drummers; ambassadors of peacediscussions; teen-led reflections on peace; and a free international potluck by local chefs.

A special feature will be two veterans of World War II being interviewed by Dennis Fujimoto, of The Garden Island newspaper.

Adults and teens will have the opportunity to break into small groups and share their ideas about peace.

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