Theresa Cusimano Crossed the Line to Close the SOA Print


Before carrying her protest onto the base yesterday, Theresa addressed thousands of human rights activists at the gates of Fort Benning for the November Vigil:

I'm ruined for life! Are you? When you witness injustice, it changes you, you can't function in the world the way you did before bearing witness. I think that's what brings so many of us here today... the human rights crimes, the unjust wars, the decades of terrorizing third world communities. Dick Cheney's greed. John Yoo's unethical lawyering. It's easy to withdraw and become hopeless. But our President, Barack Obama needs our help... it's important we keep showing up, as pacifists, as witnesses, as community activists knocking on the doors of Congress, engaging Columbus magistrates, now Stephen Hyles, in dialog about their complicit role in obstructing justice.

I first learned about peace in my grandma's living room. My Uncle Francis would celebrate mass from the couch while he would lead us in song. He sang horribly off key just like my Dad, Theresa Cusimanoand at the top of his lungs with his nose pointed to the sky as if someone above was listening. "Peace is flowing like a river... flowing out of you and me." Or my favorite, "Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me." Franny made me want to be a Jesuit. Are there any Jesuits here? Well, Roy and I will keep looking. I'm not allowed to become a Jesuit because I'm a woman. I know Roy will change that too... I'm sorry Roy, that we put so much on you, we're lucky you have broad shoulders. I'm thankful we have our Navy Officer to lead us through these murky waters.

My first grade teacher, Sr. Anne Meyer, is a Sister of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia. She taught me to go in peace, to love and serve. I've been trying to do that. I have a deep love for the possibility of our democracy. But in truth, I'm not looking forward to serving again. I'm saddened by how the U.S. treats our low income brothers and sisters, and our mentally ill who fuel the largest prison industry in the world. I don't understand why the US runs on fear and spends money on expensive cages instead of education and prevention. For such a smart country, we're not putting our best foot forward.

Today I am choosing to be in solidarity with a great spiritual leader, Father Roy. I am choosing civil disobedience because of the lawless acts promoted by the School of the Americas and carried out all over the world. These human rights crimes are unfitting of a so-called "World Super Power." I've never been big on shame, even though I'm Catholic. But if that's what it takes to get Congress to close WHINSEC (SOA) and all other for profit consulting gigs our government is financing at our expense... I'm not above invoking shame. Like the hundreds of thousands of protestors who've come before me. I'm in good company.

Ignore us at your own peril; we've got nothing to lose. I have nothing to lose. With the gift of unemployment, I have unlimited time to protest. I can't afford medical insurance, so prison would give me access to health care. Funny that I'd choose the open door of prison over the closed door of Congress. Our world isn't making any sense. Congress with all its super powers, doesn't seem to want to use power for the public good. WHY? The institution of the Catholic Church abusing human dignity for more than three decades ...and about to ex-communicate Fr. Roy for inviting women in as equals. WHY? Our friends who are lawyers and businessmen shrinking in quiet shame at the never ending greed of their CEOs...our white male friends are becoming increasingly defensive about their Wall Street addresses in the hopes to hold onto their jobs long enough to pay off their student loans and that of their children. WHY? My experience in higher education introduced me to the ethical bankruptcy we see that's bringing the religion of Penn State football to its knees. WHY?

Maybe the Mayan prophecy really is coming true, and this is the end. Maybe that's a good thing. I am crossing hoping for a resurrection, begging for accountability, working for democracy. We read that Christianity is the religion of majority in the US. But the only place I see evidence of that is on my grandma's couch, and with all of you, in solidarity, as we Occupy Fort Benning.

Our message is not being heard in Congress, our lawmakers have been purchased by other priorities, so youth and students in the movement ask for you to help us in the Court of Public Opinion and go online to the Daily Show's Facebook page, register in for their Forum. Request that Father Roy be invited onto the Daily Show, and the Colbert Report. Don't stop until we get Roy's voice into the media mainstream, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann and the Sunday morning circuit. Don't let my civil action go to waste.

Please ask the following shows to invite Father Roy to speak

http://www.thechrismatthewsshow.com/html/contact.html

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and call (202) 885-4600

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27891950/ and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


UPDATE:

Theresa was released from FMC Carswell in Texas on July 11 at 8:35am EST! We are very grateful to her for her actions and echo her demands to close the SOA/WHINSEC.