Cathy Webster Print
Cathy Webster was released on May 18, 2007 after serving a 60 day sentence for tresspassing onto the Ft. Benning Military Reservation during the 2007 November Vigil to Close the SOA

Cathy Webster has been active with school, civic, and church affairs during the 23 years she has lived with her family in Chico, CA. After 9/11 she was a founding member of PeaceWorks, a direct action peace group associated with the Chico Peace and Justice Center, as well as a founding member of the North Valley Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Cathy has two daughters and four grandchildren. She began a successful campaign to bring 1000 Grandmothers to the SOAWatch vigil this year, inspired by the song by Holly Near. She continues to collaborate with grandmothers across the world to use wisdom and soulforce as agents for justice and peace.

The trial that took place on Jan 29 occured on the eve of the internationally promoted Season For Nonviolence Jan 30-April 4 ( the time between the anniversaries of the deaths of Gandhi and MLKing Jr.) "Nonviolence can never mean non-action in the face of inhumanity, injustice and other violences. I am honored and proud to join the ranks of the publicly punished prisoners of conscience."

Read Cathy's Guest Commentary in the Chico News & Review

Cathy Webster's Statement:

Your Honor, I acknowledge the time taken by the government to try my case and the money spent by the people of the United States for the prosecution of my plea and stipulation regarding trespassing onto Ft. Benning to protest its continuance of the School of the Americas. I do want to say, that I possess the firm conviction that it is my duty as a citizen of the United States, a free and open democracy, to hold my nation ? particularly its government and administration ? accountable for its actions in the world community.

Especially as an elder citizen ? a grandmother ? do I speak with this conviction. I have experienced a long enough life to have lived the recent history of our country, certainly through my own observations and participation, but also through my parents and grandparents observations and participations. I have raised the next generation of leaders and workforce. I have a special influence and a deep and unique concern for the third generation now coming forward.

If you pay attention you will notice that increasingly, it is the elders who are speaking out and acting boldly and authoritatively to bring understanding of what justice, kindness, generosity and compassion means in a world weary of the endless conquest and dominance mindset of nations.

This last fall, 1000 Grandmothers ? more, actually ? came to the gates of Ft. Benning to demand the closing of the notorious school within, which hones the skills of thousands of Latin American soldiers, enabling their terrorist actions upon returning to their own countries. The atrocities committed by the graduates of the US Army?s School of the Americas/ Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation upon the people of Latin Americas are well documented.

The Grandmothers identified ourselves in the same way as the mothers and grandmothers of Argentina have continued to do for 30 years as they demand in their capitol city at the steps of their government, accountability for their tortured and disappeared children and grandchildren, husbands and others. Their loved ones were victims of soldiers and officials many of which were graduates and students of the SOA. Our white kerchiefs signaled the world that we are one voice in the call for justice and accountability. Just as the White Rose Society signaled during the Nazi reign of terror: we will not be silent.

This action for which we 16 are only the latest to face a trial and predictable conviction and prison term, in all due respect, is part of an unstoppable movement. Grandmothers, grandfathers, children, brothers, sisters, friends, coworkers of the millions of victims of the wanton injustice which the US taxpayer-supported training facility perpetuates will continue undeterred to protest this school.

The soulforce of the grandmothers heart ? of the human heart ? is stronger than a triple cyclone fence with razor wire, stronger than a law which prohibits the common citizen to enter a certain public property for political speech, while our current official president, the executor of this same law is permitted to make political speech on the same said property.

This soulforce will continue to grow in momentum, your honor. This school of assassins will be closed. The American spirit of true democracy and passion for justice will prevail.