November 18-20: Converge on Fort Benning, GeorgiaAll across the US people are mobilizing their communities to travel to Georgia for the annual vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, where the School of Americas/WHINSEC is located. We gather in commemoration and honoring the victims of graduates from the SOA has a significant role in helping to grow active resistance to militarization throughout the Americas. This resistance is instrumental to us all, particularly to communities within North America that are being targeted by repressive tactics that are surprisingly similar to those experienced by our brothers and sisters throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Policies such as military check points throughout Honduras, militarization of our borders, identification checkpoints in the US that target undocumented immigrants, and other repressive tactics, all stem from the doctrine of instilling fear and instability throughout communities to benefit certain corporate and governmental interests.
Educate, Mobilize, and Organize
To Shut Down the SOA!
“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict - alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.”
- Dorothy ThompsonIt is extremely important to understand the links between militarization as a tool to push U.S. economic and political interests abroad, and the attacks on the poor and communities of color in North America. The US government continues to push an economic agenda that takes money from legitimate programs supporting the people and allocates it towards the militarization of the world, demonstrating that we all have a stake in the struggle for justice. It is our responsibility to find a path towards peace and justice, and to shift the consciousness of this country. Joining the thousands that gather in Columbus Georgia to participate in the 2011 November Vigil is an important step in that struggle.
The weekend will be comprised of many different opportunities to both resist militarization but also build the types of communities we want to see.... You can:
Mobilize!We are inspired by the examples of resilience and strength of the people standing up against military repression in Honduras, neoliberal economic domination in Chile and the militarization of humanitarian aid in Haiti. Here in the US, people are also using their passion and commitment to closing the SOA and changing US foreign policy in many ways to help bring people to Georgia in November.
People are holding fundraisers, video showings, benefit concerts, speaking tours, and various other events. For example, Veterans for Peace Twin Cities, Minnesota is using the documentary they produced about their journey to the 2010 Vigil as a fundraiser and to promote youth participation. All money raised from the film will go towards a scholarship fund to help those with limited resources to travel to Fort Benning. Jorge Alva-Huerto of the National Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) produced a short video to raise awareness of how communities of color are being disproportionately targeted by the School of the Americas and why the presence of these communities at the November Vigil is essential towards building our movement. SOA Watch South Florida is holding a protest at the headquarters of Southern Command on October 8-9 to protest US military intervention in the hemisphere.
There are also other ways to mobilize your communities through the use of technology to your advantage.
Organize!We have a number of resources to help you plan your trip to the Vigil:
Organize a Bus!
Check out the Rideboard
Be Sure to make your travel plans to include the
Rally at the Stewart Detention Center on Friday, November 18th, at 10am.
Educate!While we continue to educate ourselves, it is just as important to be constantly reaching out to people who are not involved in SOA Watch or even activism in general. One of the primary areas of focus for the vigil is education. As we are reaching out to our surrounding communities, we are constantly shifting consciousness and capacity that leads to mass mobilizing to shut down the SOA, and create a world of justice and dignity.
Here are some ways:
--Juan Diego Castro, SOAW Canada Organizer, Kings University College in London, OntarioThe vigil is a great way to come together with other youth, union leaders, teachers, activists, people of faith, immigrants, grandmothers artists and others to provide a unified voice against the intrusion of militarism into our lives as well as to present alternatives to violence and oppression everywhere. We'll see you in November!
Grads in the News:
Dos Erres Massacre Conviction
Four of the soldiers involved in the Dos Erres massacre were convicted of murder, and given a sentence of over 6000 years each.
Otto Perez Molina
Molina, charged with torture, genocide, and other war crimes, is the frontrunner in the ongoing presidential elections in Guatemala.
Bolivian Generals Brought to Justice
Five former high-ranking military officials and two former ministers were convicted last month for their roles in the killings at the protests in El Alto, Bolivia in 2003.
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit reduction - also known as the super-committee - is a special committee convened to make decisions about what programs to cut from the federal budget. They are tasked with cutting over a trillion dollars in government programs.
Contact members of the Super-Committee and tell them to de-fund the SOA/WHINSEC and other failed military programs through SOUTHCOM.
Join Fr. Roy Bourgeois who is speaking at the Call To Action Conference this November 4-6th!
Be part of the largest gathering of progressive Catholics in the country with speakers including:
ADA MARIA ISASI DIAZ, Mujerista Theologian; ANTHONY RUFF, Benedictine Monk and Liturgist; RAUL AL-QARAZ OCHOA, Immigration and LGBT Rights Activist; JAMIE MANSON, National Catholic Reporter Columnist
And more than 30 other speakers, workshops, prayer sessions, arts and entertainment, inclusive worship and more!