About the School of the Americas / Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation ~ Spring Event Report
Posted by Vicki S. Nikolaidis
Spring Event Report
by Cassandra Morgan, SOA Watch
SOA Watch held its annual Spring Event in Washington, DC from April 17-19, 2010. The weekend was full of great events including an anti-oppression workshop, discussions about torture, immigration, as well as a panel discussion about the recent U.S.-Colombia bases agreement. We started Saturday night with a social gathering where SOA Watch activists were able to meet and talk about the events for the weekend.
Sunday morning started with a great workshop discussing anti-oppression in US foreign policy and within our own movement to close the SOA. Cathy Woodson of the Virginia Organizing Project lead participants in a variety of activities exploring ways to stop the cycle of oppression and how to address it while continuing to move forward with our movement. We continued the day with a self evaluation of the movement’s work, addressing strengths, weaknesses, and suggestions for change. We will be sure to follow up with you all about the these suggestions. Later, we were joined by Reverend Richard Killmer and Orlando Tizon who discussed torture and why it is so important to hold our government accountable to make sure that torture is stopped.
The afternoon continued with a discussion of the connections between immigration and the SOA with Sarahi Uribe of the US Social Forum, where we also discussed recently proposed legislation by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, SB 1070, which would encourage police to engage in racial profiling and criminalize undocumented migrants for entering into Arizona. The day ended with a great panel discussion on the Colombia bases with Adam Isacson of the Center for International Policy, Livia Suarez of the Venezuelan Embassy, and John Lindsay Poland of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), and what this new agreement between the US and Colombia means for future relations.
Our lobby day on Monday, April 19 started off with some great street theater at the top of the steps exiting the Capital South metro station. Others lined the street leading to the representatives’ offices handing out flyers about the SOA to staffers on their way to work. People were able to use the skills from Saturday’s lobby training, led by SOA Watch Legislative Coordinator Pam Bowman, and stopped in to various offices and talk about our bill H.R.2567, the bill that would suspend operations at WHINSEC while conducting an investigation into the torture manuals and the human rights abuses, and assessing the military training in Latin America. We asked our representatives to support their constituents by cosponsoring H.R. 2567.
The weekend reaffirmed our beliefs in the fight to close the SOA/WHINSEC and why we are fighting so hard to do so. We hope that you feel our passion and drive and that you continue with us on this journey.
Posted on 2010/04/21, in The World Today and tagged immigrations, lobbying, School of the America's Watch, SOA, SOA Annual Spring Event reprot, SOA Watch, US Social Forum, Western Hemishere Institute for SEcurity Cooperation, WHINSC. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.