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Students, ACLU: Latino military recruits are on the rise

aurora2resize.jpgAurora Castellanos, a 17-year-old at Oakland’s MetWest High School (pictured here, at the San Francisco ACLU offices), takes it upon herself to talk classmates and peers out of joining the military as the Iraq war wears on.

Castellanos and other high school students from Northern California are in the midst of a week-long trip sponsored by the ACLU to meet with war veterans, recruiters, conscientious objectors and even family members of those deployed to Iraq.

“It’s easy for me to go online and get the numbers,” she said. “I wanted to have more of a connection to this topic, because it affects a lot of people.”portraitresize2.jpg

When she returns to school this fall, armed with war stories, Castellanos plans to organize other Oakland kids around counter-recruiting efforts. She feels that Latinos and other students of color are being targeted; at least one of her classmates, she said, considered joining as a way to earn citizenship.

“I would like for every student to have information about the choices they are going to be having,” she said.

How frequently do military recruiters visit the school campuses here? Do you feel they belong at schools?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.