November 20-22, 2009 – Converge on Fort Benning, Georgia
Mass Mobilization to Shut Down the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC)!
The military coup by SOA graduates in Honduras has once again exposed the destabilizing and deadly effects that the School of the Americas has on Latin America. The actions of the school’s graduates are unmasking the Pentagon rhetoric and reveal the anti-democratic results of U.S. policies. It is time for a change towards justice.
From November 20-22, 2009, thousands will vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, to stand up for justice, to shut down the School of the Americas and to end the oppressive U.S. foreign policy that the school represents.
Speakers and Musicians
Among the many featured performers on the stage at the gates of Fort Benning and in the Columbus Convention Center will be the Indigo Girls, the Hip Hop groups Rebel Diaz andKuumba Lynx, Emma’s Revolution, Candy Garcia, the lead vocalist of the Salvadoran folk band Grupo Musical Horizontes and many more.
The high-profile line up of speakers includes Bernardo Vivas of the Cacraica Community for Self-Determination, Life, and Dignity (CAVIDA) from Colombia, South Bronx community organizers and immigrant rights activists Victor Toro and Nieves Aires, Catholic Worker and Plowshares activist Liz McAllister, Bertha Oliva, the coordinator of the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras and others who are active in the resistance against the SOA graduate-led military coup.
Stop US military expansion in Latin America
The campaign to close the SOA is in a crucial phase right now. Despite promising comments from President Obama during his election campaign, the SOA/ WHINSEC is still in operation and the Pentagon is moving forward with plans for new U.S. military bases in Colombia. With a Democratic administration in the White House, it appears that some Democrats in Congress are becoming timid when it comes to opposing the Pentagon.
It is up to us to keep up the pressure and to hold them accountable. People power is going to win over Pentagon lobbying!
It is tremendously important that we have a strong showing at the gates of Fort Benning for the annual vigil and nonviolent direct action, in order to demonstrate that we won’t go away until the SOA is shut down and the U.S. government has stopped turning to “military solutions” (or political-economic interventions) to enforce its oppressive foreign policy in Latin America. Too many people have suffered and died at the hands of SOA graduates.
You can take a stand for solidarity and justice now! Join hundreds of organizers around the country and start planning for the November vigil. Contact your local unions, universities, workers centers, social justice organizations and faith communities and ask them to re-commit to the struggle to close the School of the Americas.
To download the SOA Watch November organizing packet, for a travel guide and a hotel listing, as well as information about accessibility and information for people without U.S. citizenship and more, visit www.SOAW.org/november.
Throughout the weekend of the vigil, the Columbus Convention Center, the Howard Johnson Inn and the Days Inn will once again be transformed by passionate social justice energy as thousands gather to attend dozens of workshops and gatherings! Traditional workshops, films, media presentations, theatrical performances, concerts and art displays will all take place.
Here’s a sneak peak at what this year’s schedule has to offer:
- Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad
- Update from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Student Farmworker Alliance
- The Coup in Honduras and the Role of the SOA (Bertha Oliva, Tom Loudon, Lisa Sullivan)
- Job, Intern, Volunteer, and Religious Vocation Fair (Contact Liz Albanese at Liz@soaw.org if your organization would like to reserve a table for $25)
Other workshops will focus on expanding militarism in Colombia, war and violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, migration, land rights, labor issues, and much more!
The November vigil has evolved into one of the largest convergences against militarism and for justice in North America. Be there as we share stories, experiences, challenges and hopes for a more just and peaceful world-it is what makes our movement stronger!
To view the complete schedule of events, click here!
Can you donate an item to our auction in Columbus, Georgia?
Report by Father Roy Bourgeois and Lisa Sullivan on PAL (Partnership America Latina), followed by LIVE AUCTION!
Saturday 11-21 at 8:30 PM in Convention Center room 104
Can you donate an item to our auction? With your help we’d love to reach our goal of raising funds for SOA Watch’s Partnership America Latina.
Do you have:
- A timeshare or vacation home you can donate for a week or weekend?
- Artist friends who can donate their work?
- Jewelry lying around that you don’t wear anymore?
- other items that could get auctioned off?
If so, this is a great way to donate something at little cost to you, but of immense value to SOA Watch and our efforts in Latin America!
Please get in touch with Lisa Sullivan, at LSullivan@soaw.org. Thank you for your commitment to SOA Watch.
Call for volunteers
The November Vigil is a huge operation and only made possible by the tireless work of hundreds of grassroots activists around the country who are organized in SOA Watch Working Groups. Please contact Jake Dacks at Jake@soaw.org if you are able to help with some volunteer tasks during the vigil weekend in Columbus. thank you!
Don’t forget to register for the November Vigil here.
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