September 26, 2014

UPCOMING: SOA Watch 2014

The preparations for the November Vigil are moving on high speed. Here is a run-down of the three-day convergence in Georgia (November 21-23, 2014).
This year SOA Watch will emphasize on the connections between the past and the present, the here and there, by focusing on the ways in which the SOA violence that brought the movement into being 25 years ago relates to the violence that people in countries like Honduras, Columbia, and Guatemala are currently experiencing and how it continues to be one of the root causes of Latin American migration to the US today. 

Stand in solidarity with those who had to leave their communities and who are subjected to unjust immigration proceedings and mass incarceration here. For that reason the march to Stewart Detention Center will be on Saturday morning and the opening plenary will be on Friday evening. 
Weekend schedule line-up

The program is still a work in progress, so check for updates on the November Vigil website. Here is a general run-down of the various Vigil activities. 

Friday, November 21st: 
3 p.m.: Workshops at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center begin
8 p.m.: Welcome plenary with concert at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center

Saturday, November 22nd: 
8 a.m.: Mobilization from Columbus to Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, one of the largest immigrant detention facilities in the United States. None of us are free until all of us are free.
12:30 p.m.: Lunch and block-party style pre-programing at the gates of For Benning with street tabling, puppetistas, musicians, and speakers.
1:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.: Mass rally with speakers and musicians from across the Americas at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia.
4:30 p.m.: Workshops at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center followed by an evening concert. 

Sunday, November 23rd:
8:00 a.m.: Veterans for Peace and friends march together to the gates of Fort Benning.
9:00 a.m.: Stage program with speakers, musicians, the indigenous blessing, and guidelines on nonviolent direct action at the gates of Fort Benning.
10:30 a.m.: Vigil and solemn funeral procession to commemorate the many victims of SOA/WHINSEC violence.
1:30 p.m.: Closing. 

Confirmed speakers and musicians

Here are some of the many artists and activists who will join us this year:

Karla Lara: Joining us from Honduras, Karla is a musician and one of the remarkable voices fighting for women's rights in Central America. She produces a program for the radio station of the Cooperatives Cafetaleras de Honduras, is a member of the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders of Honduras, as well as the Artist in Resistance and Feminists in Resistance collectives, which consider the removal of the president Zelaya in 2009 a coup d'etat and denounce the widespread impunity around human rights violations in Honduras. 

Olmeca: L.A.-based musician and producer of Olmeca combines social commentary with energy, charisma, and intelligence. He has toured Canada, Latin America, and Europe and helped generate a new trend of Latin music in the United States. As an advocate for immigrant and worker's rights, he contributed to the "Not One More Deportation" and "Fast for Fair Food" campaigns. He is also an active supporter of the Zapatista movement and helped building bridges between organizations from the U.S. and indigenous communities in Mexico. 

MarylĂ©n Serna Salinas: An organizer of campesina background and will travel to the Vigil from Columbia. She began her community work as a teacher in the Agriculture and Forestry Institute, then she went on to take leadership roles within the Christian Base Communities and women's organizations. Later she participated in the founding of the Campesino and People's Movement of Cajibio, whose work focuses on human rights and sustainable community development projects. 

Padre Melo: A well-known peace activist and Jesuit priest from Honduras, Padre Melo is an advocate for freedom of expression and returns to the Vigil to speak about the human rights situation in his country. His life has been repeatedly threatened, but he continues as the director of Radio Progreso and The Team For Reflection, Research, and Communication. He was a personal friend of the victims of the UCA massacre in San Salvador that jump-started the SOA Watch movement in 1989. 

Participants from the SOA Watch Youth Encuentro: Young leaders from different Latin American countries will come to the Vigil. Earlier this year, they participated in the SOA Watch Youth Encuentro in Venezuela, now they will join us in Georgia. Help to cover their travel expenses or just look at their bios to find out more about the next generation of the movement. 

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