|Theresa Cameranesi - 2010 Encuentro Local Update|
2010 Encuentro Local Updates
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA
By THERESA CAMERANESI
I work with SOAWatch, both the national and the San Francisco Bay Area groups, and the people around Los Angeles to the south of us. The Bay Area Latin American Solidarity Coalition (BALASC) is a recent addition to the activism of the area, and now I sit on the Steering Committee. I have done some work with Fellowship of Reconciliation. Also, of late I have put a lot of energy into immigrant rights struggle and with the immigrant communities here. These groups have coalesced around lobbying in Washington DC, and also physically in the district offices of elected representatives. Also, we -- the various groups mentioned above -- have spoken to and demonstrated in front of the embassies and consulates of several nations here in SF: Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras. With BALASC we have also had bilingual education sessions, and film nights. With SOAWatch we have done many letter writings campaigns and phone campaigns. There are people with talent out there! Some of has also gone on delegations to countries, to be "where the action is" at the moment. Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Paraguay, El Salvador, Cuba, have each been recent foci of delegations that some people have gone on. Haiti is an area of interest for many people also.
In addition, some military support companies have their big corporate offices here in the Bay Area; Bechtel comes to mind, being right downtown. It seems to me that there has been more security around the big companies -- and less access to the big military supply companies -- than to the famous elected officials from the area Feinstein, Boxer, Pelosi. Even Obama, when he comes here to the SF area, like making a stop at your ATM machine. Elections are coming up, so this is the season of political activity.
How have these efforts changed you? This philosophical distinction came up recently in a conversation with a very religious friend, about the effects of prayer. Will praying for peace bring about peace, in and of itself? Or does it make an individual more likely to take public action? We have to agree to disagree, my friend and I, I continue to see some very public prayer activities as changing the person praying, and only incidentally affecting the actual course of visible "history". But as a cumulative process, they say the world bends towards justice.
PO Box 4566
Washington, DC 20017