Call-In Day to Close the SOA – Call 202-224-3121
Today, SOA Watch activists are swarming Capitol Hill, urging Members of Congress to join the chorus for the closing of the School of the Americas and to ad their signature to the Congressional sign-on letter that is urging President Obama to shut down the SOA/ WHINSEC by executive order.
Please take 3 minutes right now to amplify the voices of those who are making the lobby visits today: Call the Capitol Hill Switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask to be transferred to your Representative’s office (you only need to know your ZIP code). Ask to speak with the foreign affairs legislative assistant. Take careful notes during the call, and let us know about how it went!
A possible call script could look like the following:
“As a constituent living in _________, I am calling Congressman/woman ________ to urge him/her to contact Rep. McGovern and ask to sign the Congressional sign-on letter directed at President Obama, urging him to shut down the School of the Americas, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
Just like the School of the Americas, WHINSEC has allowed known human rights abusers to instruct and receive training at the school. Argentina and Uruguay are two of five countries that have made public announcements they will no longer send students to the school, citing the negative image and history of this institution. Despite demands by Congress to have oversight over the curriculum and promote human rights, the Pentagon is now denying all requests to provide information to human rights organizations and the public about students and graduates of the school.
I urge you to contact Cindy Buhl in Representative McGovern’s office and ask that your boss be a signer to the Congressional sign-on letter to President Obama. I hope you will represent my views and support this letter.”
Remember to contact SOA Watch Legislative Coordinator Alison Snow at firstname.lastname@example.org with any response you receive!
Published on April 11, 2011 by SOA Watch
27 Human Rights Activists Arrested At The White House For Nonviolent Direct Action Calling For The Closure Of The School Of The Americas And An End To U.S. Militarization
for immediate release
April 10, 2011
Contact: Hendrik Voss
27 Human Rights Activists Arrested at the White House for Nonviolent Direct Action Calling for the Closure of the School of the Americas and an End to U.S. Militarization
“Tight Budget?! Close the SOA!” Hundreds March to the White House
White House, Washington, D.C. – On Sunday, April 10, 27 human rights activists were arrested in front of the White House when they staged a die-in on the White House sidewalk to call attention to thousands of Latin Americans who were murdered by graduates of the U.S. Army School of the Americas. The die-in followed a march of hundreds of human rights activists to the White House. The march included torture survivors, union workers, educators and students from across the Americas. Marchers carried banners, flags and large puppets, including a 14-foot tall Mother of the Disappeared with them to the White House.
Photos of the march, the nonviolent direct action and the arrests will be available on the SOA Watch webpage www.SOAW.org soon.
Gerardo Torres from Honduras addressed the increased School of the Americas graduate-led repression against social movements in his country.
“The School of the Americas has left a trail of blood and suffering in every country where its graduates have returned,” said SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois. “SOA graduates overthrew the democratically elected president of Honduras in 2009 and are involved in the current repression campaign against the pro-democracy movement in that country. It is up to people of conscience to stand up to the injustice and to call for an end to the violence.”
The AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the United Auto Workers, the United Steelworkers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the NAACP, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the United Church of Christ and over 100 U.S. Catholic Bishops all advocate the institute’s closure.
The SOA/WHINSEC, a military training facility for Latin American soldiers located in Ft. Benning, GA, made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Soldiers trained at the school assassinated Archbishop Oscar Romero on March 24, 1980, one of hundreds of documented human rights abuses connected to SOA/WHINSEC graduates. Obama paid his respects at Archbishop Romero’s grave last week in El Salvador, but has done little to support an investigation of the SOA/WHINSEC facility. No independent investigation into the SOA/WHINSEC has ever taken place, and Congress continues to sign off on millions in funding to the school each year. Despite a vote for transparency by the House of Representatives, the Secretary of Defense has prevented the release of information about the school, claiming “national interest.”
The call for an executive order to close the SOA will be amplified on Monday, April 11, when hundreds of human rights activists will converge on Capitol Hill to lobby their Representatives to sign a Congressional sign-on letter to Obama with the same demand.
The “White House 27,” who were arrested on April 10, 2011 for engaging in nonviolent direct action, calling for the closure of the School of the Americas and an end to U.S. militarization of the Americas, are:
Alice Gerard, Grand Island, New York
Ann Tiffany, Syracuse, New York
Becca Polk, Bloomfield Hill, Michigan
Chris Gaunt, Grinnell, Iowa
David Barrows, Washington, DC
David McPhail, Kensington, California
Ed Kinane, Syracuse, New York
Eve Tetaz, Washington, DC
Father Roy Bourgeois, Columbus, Georgia
Jack Gilroy, Endwell, New York
Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Nicholasville, Kentucky
Jim Forfythe, Heyward, California
Judith Kelly, Arlington, Virginia
Kathleen Desautels, SP, Chicago, Illinois
Kevin Moran, Atlanta, Georgia
Kirsten Wittkowski, Bethesda, Maryland
Liz Deligio, Chicago, Illinois
Maia Rodriguez, Arlington, Virginia
Megan Felt, Des Moines, Iowa
Nicholas Alexandrov, Washington, DC
Nico Udu-gama, Washington, DC
Paki Wieland, Massachusets
Palmer Legare, Burlington, Vermont
Priscilla Treska, Cleveland, Ohio
Sarah Sommers, Cleveland, Ohio
Scott Wright, Washington, DC
Silvia Brandon-Perez, Heyward, California
Check out the photos of the march to the White House and the Nonviolent Direct Action by Ted Majdoszand by Linda Panetta.
Check www.SOAW.org in the next few days for video footage of the Days of Action, including the White House march and action!