|Student and Youth Collective|
We are a collective of young people from across the Americas who are concerned with closing the SOA/WHINSEC, ending U.S. military and economic domination while connecting struggles across the hemispheres to strengthen the resistance and to build a culture of justice. We are campus and community organizers who collaborate via technology and face-to-face meetings to strengthen youth power within SOA Watch and in society as a whole. We are young people dedicated to social justice who have a vision for a better world.
Meet the Collective:
Camila Leiva - Activante
Camila is Chilena-gringa whose family was directly impacted by the Chilean dictatorship and those trained in the School of the Americas. In college, she was involved in anti-sweatshop, farmworker and labor rights organizing as well as on campus with the Latin@ and Intercultural student organizations. She worked for three years as a high school teacher in the New York City public schools as an ESL teacher, and was an active member of the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCORE). Now back in Chile, she works as a SOAW activante, as an educator in a community-run school and in a women's muralist collective called Amancay. The work with SOAW allows her to connect the threads of her life in the U.S. and Chile and weave them into a beautiful and meaningful tapestry of political and social activism!
Dominique Diaddigo-Cash - Organizer
Dominique began with the organization in January 2013, after moving from Minneapolis, where he helped to facilitate the growth of an ecological movement for people of color in urban areas, protested with the American Indian Movement, and supported the actions of Occupy Homes. He first learned about SOA Watch after the coup in Honduras ousted Manuel Zelaya in 2009, and has been following us in the news and through our own media, as well as organizing teach-ins and distributing literature ever since. Dominique joined us at Ft. Benning for the first time in 2012, and is eager to gain greater hands-on experience in supporting our struggle.
Rachel Reist - Organizer
Rachel came down from Canada in May to work with SOA Watch in the DC office. Rachel has been involved in the movement since 2007 when she first participated in the vigil. Following this first experience, she has traveled to Nicaragua in 2008 and El Salvador in 2012 as part of a solidarity group founded on the idea that "while we can't think ourselves into new ways of living, we can live ourselves into new ways of thinking". These experiences have solidified her commitment to the movement and she is looking forward to being involved more directly and to have the opportunity to contribute her skills, passion and enthusiasm, as well as apply what she has been studying in graduate school.
Brigitte Gynther - Activante
SOA Watch activante Brigitte Gynther has spent the past year in Honduras, first as a human rights accompanier with PROAH and subsequently as coordinator of SOA Watch's Stories of Honduras project. She has accompanied human rights organizations, social movements, and others standing up for justice in post-coup Honduras, where social movements, journalists, members of the LGBTQ community, and members of the new LIBRE political party formed out of the resistance movement to the 2009 SOA-graduate led coup face targeted repression, assassinations, death threats, and surveillance. SOA graduates and US-funded militarization continue to wreak havoc on Honduras, which has become the most violent country in the world. Invite Brigitte to your community to share about the human rights situation in Honduras in the lead-up to Honduras' November elections. She is available during the month of October. Brigitte is a 2004 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the 2009 recipient of the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Owen Silverman Andrews - Legislative Organizer
Owen joins the D.C. office as Legislative Organizer after volunteering with SOA Watch last spring and summer. He began his Latin America solidarity activism in 2009, when he traveled with more than 150 U.S. Americans to Cuba with the Venceremos Brigade for the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. While living in Oakland, he gained experience in the Occupy Oakland General Assembly Facilitation Committee. Since moving back to D.C., he worked on a grassroots anti-islamophobia campaign in response to racist Metro ads. He also teaches ESOL at a local community college, and enjoy gardening, biking, cooking, and listening to Mairin sing.
Irene Romulo - Activante
For more information about student and youth organizing within SOA Watch, click here!
5525 Illinois Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20011