|12 Human Rights Activists Sit-In at Senator Durbin’s Office|
12 human rights activists refused to leave Senator Durbin’s office today until they would get guarantees that the Senator would either vote against the Colombia provisions of the Emergency Supplemental Counter Terrorism Bill or visit NGO’s and Human Rights organizations in Colombia before he casts his vote. “ We would have him see the reality of what goes on in Colombia with this aid, rather than the sanitized state-sponsored tour he took.” said Joe Ferrara of IL SOA Watch.
All twelve were arrested on the Federal charge of creating a disturbance and released. They will receive their court date by mail.
The following are the biographies of those who participated in the sit-in:
Chris Inserra: Mother of three, teacher, singer/songwriter, part of Illinois SOA Watch and national SOA Watch organizing team.
Barb Corcoran: Mother of three, teacher, member of CRLN, SOA Watch, Amnesty International and Pax Christi.
Gary Cozette, age 51: Director of Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN). He is a former Presbyterian mission worker in El Salvador. CRLN was a co-sponsor of the tribunal for Public Opinion held in Chicago hosted by Northwestern University Law School which found the Colombian air force responsible for the massacre of 17 civilians- six of them children -with a U.S. cluster bomb from a U.S. helicopter in the village of Santo Domingo, Colombia on December 13, 1998. Gary has traveled twice to Colombia on human rights delegations.
Joe Ferrara: member of SOA Watch National Advisory Board, Residential Coordinator at Misericordia Home North, graduate of Loyola University.
Rebecca Burwell: graduate student in sociology, Loyola University, activist with the IL SOA Watch.
Michele Gielniewski: 19 year old freshman at DePaul University studying political science and peace studies. She is involved in Activist Student Union and Amnesty International.
Lauren: student at DePaul University, member of Amnesty International and IL SOA Watch.
Pam Richart: Senior Executive with a Chicago-area land planning firm. She traveled to Colombia with Witness for Peace in March, 2001. While there, she saw first-hand the effects of US policy and military aid on Colombia. Other affiliations: Executive Committee, Chicago Chapter of the Colombia Support Network, Jubilee Economics Ministry, Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America, Illinois SOA Watch Outreach Committee, Wellington Avenue Church.
Mary Kay Flanigan: Franciscan Sister, has worked at 8th Day Center for 7 years, has traveled to Colombia and Chiapas on Peace Delegations.
Sarah Gelsomino, age 20: second year political science major at DePaul University. She lives at Amate House, the volunteer program of the Chicago Catholic Diocese. Sarah is active on campus and recently returned from an advocacy trip to Washington DC with 60 other DePaul students who spent the weekend in meetings with legislators and participating in various vigils and demonstrations to end military aid to Colombia.
Dick Heidkamp: Peace & Justice ministry of Mary Seat of Wisdom Parish in Park Ridge. Member of CRLN, Illinois SOA Watch.
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