Kristin's trial statement Print
My name is Kristin Holm. I am a seminary student at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, Il. I am 21 years old. I am a woman of deep faith and powerful conviction. And I live in a world of possibility, of hope, of grief, and of action.

I growing up I had an acute sense of injustice, which fostered in me a growing sense of grief. In Chicago I saw segregated neighborhoods, unfair distribution of wealth and resources, and eventually, the highest homicide rate in the country.

I looked around me at a broken world, and I too was broken. The grief over our unjust world tore at me daily and I could feel my heart flayed open as men and women froze in my streets, friends and neighbors struggled to feed their children, brothers and sisters went off to die in war zone in distant countries and I sat in comfortably in my college classroom debating social contract or the welfare system or the ethics of the Iraq war.

In the hurt, I sought refuge in my faith. It was sustained by my relationship with Christ, the one who died for the injustices of the world, the one who knew my own pain deeper than I did, the one with whom I had permission to grieve. But my faith would not allow me to end in grief. For Christ’s compassion for humanity did not end with the powerful act of grief and death, but the infinitely more powerful resurrection and promise of new life.

And in the same way that I relished new life in myself – the freedom I had found in Christ, I grew to relish new life in the world. The prophetic words of activists and preachers gave way to prophetic action by whole movements of people. I looked to the past and heard Martin Luther King speak truth to power and walk with thousands through the streets of Selma, I looked to the future and saw dawning on the horizon the election of our first African American president. I looked to the past and saw Dorothy Day kneel serve the destitute and partner with those beaten down by society, spouses and fear, I looked to the future and saw the Catholic Worker homes in my neighborhoods serve as stepping stones for women, men and children on their way to a better, more stable life. I looked to the past and saw workers gathering in church basements and back rooms to fight for the right to unionize, I looked to the future and saw 200 workers win their due wages after staging a six day sit in a windows and doors factory in Chicago.

And I saw, it truly is for freedom that Christ has set us free. This is what gospel was talking about, this is what it meant to be a Christian – to live boldly, publicly as a witness for freedom and justice. To grieve the world as it is as we fight for the world as it should be. The Kingdom of God – already, and not yet. Becoming.

And in the United States, we have a beautiful legacy of fighting for justice, of becoming the kingdom, in part because of a wealth of courageous women and men of faith, but in part also because our country was founded upon ideals of progress and the rights of the people.

But it was not long before my faith compelled me to broaden my perspective beyond the borders of the United States. To acknowledge my neighbors in the rest of the world, fighting for freedom and justice and mercy against a whole different set of adversaries. It didn’t take long for my heart to settle down with a pained shutter among my brothers and sisters in Latin America. My heart was drawn there because of a rich culture, and ancient history, and an enduring faith. My heart was pained and heavy because the very avenues to free action in which I took refuge - activism, public witness, peaceful gatherings and political involvement - were often, for Latin Amreicans, the paths to death and destruction.

I learned that the civil rights advocates, union organizers, educators and religious leaders who aligned themselves with the poor – these people were considered the biggest threat to the powers that be. These people were being targeted and tortured and murders.. My heroes. My champions of faith. My brothers and sisters in Christ.

The very hope that I found in my faith – the hope to take action. The hope to act in faith. The hope that actions made diligently in faith and integrity for justice and mercy would result in change. This was the kind of thought that gets a person killed elsewhere.

And all around me my culture said, “Yes, aren’t we lucky that our country is better? That we live by the ideals of freedom and democracy and free expression here?“

Imagine my devastation as, over the years, I grew to understand that it was America after all that was supporting, training, supplying and guiding those who used their power to suppress those ideals for which we claim to stand.

My country. My military, which promises to keep me safe, to serve God and country, to fight for democracy. I learned that we do not practice what we preach. And as a result, hundreds of thousands of people, people who know more of the fight for democracy and justice and freedom than most of us could ever dream, have been tortured, assassinated, raped, “disappeared”, massacred, or forced in to refuge by those trained by American “ideals” at the School of the Americas.

So, from the bottom of my heart, with Christ both at my side and on the cross, I weep.

But the story does not end there. For Christ rose again. New life. And I I prayed

Thy kingdom come

Thy will be done

And in the spirit of Christ and the true ideals of democracy, I took action. And you bet, I crossed the line. I crossed the line to stand with my brothers and sisters in Latin America. To stand with those who fight for justice at the risk of their lives. To ally myself with those who truly seek justice, with prophesy instead of pistols, with beauty instead of bullets, with truth instead of torture. I crossed the line because the SOA is on the wrong side. And I crossed the line because I follow Christ, and Christ has made his position quite clear.