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United Voices is an arts-in-activism youth organizing program sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee - Portland. Its program director is Mireaya Medina. United Voices was a semifinalist in the Second Annual "If I Had a Trillion Dollars" Youth Video Contest. Their film, "Love is Louder than Guns," a stop-action animation film with background music by local hiphop artists Mic Crenshaw and Jana Losey and toy army men provided by IVAW-Oregon, was judge actress and activist Susan Sarandon's top-choice!
 link to afsc.org

"If I had a trillion dollars" is a youth video contest sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and National Priorities Project. The film contest is open to youth between the ages of 13 and 23. Films have to be under 3 minutes in length and must address the cost of war (i.e., "If I had a trillion dollars....). $1 Trillion Dollars is the amount of money the United States has spent waging the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This year (the second annual "If I had a trillion dollars" youth video contest), the prize for semifinalists was a trip to Washington, D.C. for the weekend of Saturday, April 14, through Sunday, April 16.

The "World Premiere" was on Saturday, April 14, at Busboys and Poets Cafe in D.C., with standing room only. At the world premiere, twenty films were screened and were introduced with praise paid by the various judges. Judges included actress and activist Susan Sarandon; hiphop artist Rebel Diaz; and Derrick Crowe of Brave New World, who were not present, but had previewed the films and contributed the scripted compliments.

It was not until Tuesday morning that recognition was given to the top 9 films (3 favorites of each of the judges).

To view the top 9 films and films of the other semifinalists, please see:
 link to afsc.org

The youth were kept busy! Film screening on Saturday; leadership workshops facilitated by the American Friends Service Committee and National Priorities Project on Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (including lobbying training) with sightseeing later; Monday photo shoot on Capitol steps followed by visits to their Congresspeople (or their aides), including a presentation of their video; then home. Fifty youth from all over the country participated; twenty-seven (!!!) Congressional visits were held.

Big thanks to the American Friends Service Committee and National Priorities Project for sponsoring the film contest and festival.

The peace and social justice communities should be very proud of their local youth and all the youth who took time out of busy, teenaged schedules to create a positive vision of what could be possible with redirection of war funding.