|13 Arrested in DC for Protesting the SOA/WHINSEC|
On April 16, 2012, 13 human rights activists were arrested as they attempted to peacefully protest their opposition to the School of the Americas (renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, or WHINSEC) on Capitol Hill. The activists -from all across the country- were held for over 6 hours by Capitol Hill police and were charged with "Blocking Passage".
See more pictures from the April 16 march and action here!
Who are the SOA 13?
Kevin Mason (29; Washington, DC): "The reasons for my actions had a lot to do with my faith, and my conscience. I believe we are all one family in the human race. We need to get to a place where we do for others as we would want them to do for us. I believe then that justice would flow like a mighty river. Dorothy Day put it this way: 'Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system', and this is part of my motivation."
Ken Crowley (Chicago, Illinois) "Our arrest for "blocking passage" in front of the House of Representatives Office Building showed those in position of illegitimate authority, who were watching from the windows above, that we understand that the power of the rulers comes from the obedience of the governed, and that we are willing to pay the price of disobedience. Body politics is still a powerful tactic in our efforts to close the SOA/ WHINSEC. I refuse to be a silent witness to the past present and future lynchings of our latin american sisters and brothers."
Derrlyn Tom (high school teacher; San Francisco, CA): "I constantly tell my students to believe in what is right and what needs to change. Closing the School of the Americas is what's right and taking a stand by arrest is how we demand this change. My motivation is all my students who are directly impacted by this school. Close the SOA!!"
Amber Mason (26; Washington, DC): "I refuse to be complicit in war and injustice committed by my government in my name and I believe you can not claim to be for peace and justice unless you are publicly actively against war and injustice. For these reasons, I chose to risk arrest, and stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Latin America, and all around the world calling for end to all militarization. As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere'."
Kathleen DeSautels (73; Chicago, IL): "The reason for my action today was to carry on the SOA Watch resistance to US policies - especially to close the SOA."
Liz Deligio (8th Day Center; Chicago, IL): "The time for change is long past. For our 20 years, people have been calling for the close of the SOA, change in policy, end to militarization - we took it to the street today to say to our leaders the time is now."
Maia Rodríguez Sullivan (24; Arlington, VA): "En memoria de Rutilio, las hermanas violadas y asesinads. En memoria de todxs mis hermanos y hermanas que han sido víctimas de represión militar por parte de un país (los Estados Unidos) que está sometiendo el resto de América Latina. Está violando los derechos de mi gente, usando nuestros recursos y explotándolos. Hoy, mañana y ayer... sin olvido por todos los desaparecidos y asesinados por la Escuela de Asesinos."
Becca Polk (27; Bloomfield Hills, MI): "During the march around The Capitol, I was once again reminded of the false reality of democracy and safety that so many people in the US live behind. Walking around as a tourist and being proud of the "freedoms that they buy with their tax dollars," many have no idea that their tax dollars are going towards suppressing and controlling the voices of the people. As we were protesting the increased militarization of Latin America, it was evident that demilitarization struggles are connected all across the world. We are seeing the enhancement of military technology that Eisenhower could have never imagined when he first warned us about the military industrial complex. This also means that equipment typically designated for the military is being passed onto the police that are patrolling are streets.
Peg Morton (81; Eugene, OR): "I combine a visit with a daughter and her family with SOA Watch actions. I think it is hugely important to keep pumping energy into this movement. We are in the hub of our gigantic empire. Children, women and men in many parts of the world are still suffering and dying because of our policies. We need to keep trying, to keep telling our brothers and sisters in Latin America and elsewhere that we care."
Sandra Sunshine Williams (Los Angeles, CA): "Being a part of the direct action today gave me the chance to more clearly demonstrate my resistance to the SOA and oppressive US foreign policy. Venceremos! "
Tony Udu-gama (70; Washington, DC): "It's a small price and a little inconvenience for us to pay in memory of the victims of oppression, repression, torture, disappearance, dispossession, genocide and other atrocities committed by the 'Evil Empire' in the name of the American people. Living in the den of the headquarters of these thieves, we must not let this go unchallenged.''
Fr. Roy Bourgeois (73; Columbus, GA): "Militarization in the Americas has increased during the Obama administration, as evidenced by the military coup and the ongoing violence in Honduras, the ever-expanding 'War on Drugs,' the continuing murders of unionists in Colombia and the construction of new U.S. military bases throughout the hemisphere. It's time for us to step it up, to get anti-militarization on the national agenda in 2012, and to create alliances to stop 'teaching democracy' through the barrel of a gun!"
Jason McGaughey (26; Washington, DC): "When I first learned about the School of the Assassins a few years back I honestly didn't really believe it. Since then from reading more about the horrors and destruction that the SOA causes, I have come to understand that the school must be closed forever. I have been down to the action at Ft Benning the last two years and have been truly moved by the whole experience. Each year, I have wept as the names of those who have been murdered by SOA graduates are rembered and called out as all who are gathered say Presente, recognizing their spirit with us in the struggle. It is one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Over the course of the training camp and conference I thought of what I could do to help draw attention to the crimes of US militarism and imperialism in Latin America. I hope that in whatever small way the arrest that I was a part of will help further the cause of closing the SOA. I am honored and privileged to have been a part of the struggle. One day the empire will fall."
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