School of the Americas Watch

Suzanne Brauer, OP
Blog by Sr. Suzanne Brauer, OP

Over the past 25 years, the School of the Americas (SOA) Watch has grown from a handful of people to a multi-generational, cross-continental movement against the militarization of the Americas. Thousands gather each year at Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA, to be educated, to take a stand against the US policies of training future terrorists and to engage in nonviolent direct action.

This year’s delegation included Dominican Sisters of Peace Kathy Broussard, OP, and Suzanne Brauer, OP, as well as Associates Chris Cahalan, OPA, Kevin Cahalan, OPA, Joanna Magee, OPA, and Jerry Stein, OPA. Sr. Francine Schwarzenberger, OP, who came to the SOA for the past 20 years, was not able to join us this year due to illness.

On Friday, November 20, we converged at the Columbus Convention Center to be welcomed and to learn about future directions of the movement. On Saturday, we participated in a rally to shut down the Stewart Detention Center, one of the 10 worst immigration detention centers in the country. After a 1.7 mile procession to the gates of the center, voices were raised in speeches and songs to protest the treatment of the over 1,000 persons who are now detained there. On Sunday we held a solemn funeral procession at the gates of Fort Benning. The mood was very prayerful and mournful, as we responded “presente” to the hundreds of names of victims being chanted. We each placed a cross with the name and age of a person who had been killed by the terrorist military.

This will be the last SOAW march at Fort Benning because the leadership of the movement has discerned that it would be better to focus on the border into Mexico and join with persons who are working with immigration. Participants are being encouraged to move to the new location. Through the efforts of thousands of protesters and leaders in the movement, several South American countries no longer send soldiers to the SOA. Pressure and persistence make a difference.

See photos 

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

4 responses to “School of the Americas Watch

  1. I am so proud that some of us have BEEN witnessing at the SOA — to represent those of us who have not gone. Future witnessing at the border will be an important scene of witness in the name of all of us OP’s of Peace.

  2. Good job Sue! And also I have been so pleased with the ministry ya’ll are doing at the Peace Center. Wonderful to see all the young people involved.

  3. Thanks to you, Suzanne, and the others who represented us at the SOAW. On this 35th anniversary of the four martyred women in El Salvador. All these years and our government is still training people like those who murdered these churchwomen.

  4. There will still be a small, local witness at the SOA in Columbus, so we will basically have two witnesses now. Also, the Border patrol, ICE is now being taught by some schools of assassins like SOA.

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