SOA Watch Vigil
Close the SOA! Join PPF in Georgia this year
This November we will return to the Columbus, Georgia to take a stand for justice and accountability. Torture survivors, union workers, religious communities, musicians, puppetistas, students, migrants, veterans and others from across the country will speak out against violence and militarization. We will commemorate the martyrs, march to Stewart Detention Center, teach and learn from each other in the Columbus Convention Center, and celebrate resistance at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia. The military base, one of the largest in the world, is named for the Georgia politician and Confederate general Henry L. Benning, who helped Georgia secede, and who was an outspoken proponent of slavery. Fort Benning is also home to the notorious School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC) and has become a focal point of resistance to empire and militarization.
Saturday morning will be completely focused on an action at the Stewart Detention Center, where Latin American immigrants are jailed while awaiting deportation hearings. The violence and economic injustice behind undocumented migration is the legacy of decades of military intervention, political manipulation, and economic exploitation on the part of the United States. While the SOA itself remains a powerful symbol of these injustices, the SOA Watch community recognizes the need to also be present wherever the struggle for truth and justice encounters the power of empire: outside the gates of the detention centers; along our increasingly militarized border; in the halls of power in Washington, DC; and alongside liberation movements throughout Latin America.
The Solidarity Conference at the Columbus Convention Center has also been expanded to include both Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship will present a workshop on Saturday afternoon. “ Soldier Stories” will be a particpatory discussion about the unexpected realities of military life led by PPF Executive Committee member Bill Galvin and Center for Conscience & War director Maria Santelli. Emily Brewer, PPF’s new co-director, will help us focus on learning to include diverse viewpoints (such as those of military families) in our work for peace.
On Sunday morning, join fellow Presbyterians in marching behind the PPF banner in the traditional solemn funeral procession at the gates of Fort Benning to remember all those who have been murdered in the struggle. Look for our information table at the vigil site on Sunday and also at the convention center on Friday and Saturday. We will conclude the weekend with our PPF tradition of Communion at the Gate, led by the Rev. Christine Caton.
We can help with your hotel booking and local transportation, including to the detention center march and rally. We also provide airport transportation for those arriving in Atlanta on Friday morning and flying home on Sunday evening or on Monday. For more information about how you can join PPF in Columbus, Georgia this November, please email Marilyn White at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-450-2766. Check the SOA Watch website for a complete list of events.