Roy Bourgeois, Founder of SOA Watch
Born in Lutcher, Louisiana, Fr. Roy served as a Naval Officer for two years before entering the seminary of the Maryknoll Missionary Order. Ordained a Catholic priest in 1972, Roy went on to work with the poor of Bolivia for five years before being arrested and forced to leave the country, then under the repressive rule of dictator and SOA grad General Hugo Banzer.
In 1980 Fr. Roy became involved in issues surrounding US policy in El Salvador after four US churchwomen–two of them friends of his–were raped and killed by Salvadoran soldiers. Roy became an outspoken critic of US foreign policy in Latin America. Since then, he has spent over four years in US federal prisons for nonviolent protests against the training of Latin American soldiers at Ft. Benning, Georgia. In 1990, Roy founded School of the Americas Watch.
Candice is a Los Angeles-born activist living in Bogotá. She has spent the last decade supporting and accompanying nonviolent grassroots movements demanding social and environmental justice in the Americas. Prior to joining the SOA Watch staff collective as the Development Coordinator, she was the Executive Director of FOR Peace Presence and worked with Witness for Peace in Colombia. Candice graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.
Dévora González is a mother to a wonderful little human named Tlecuiani. She is a Salvadoran-Guatemalan, descendent of Pipil and Mayan peoples, woman and mother that was born and raised in Los Angeles to migrant parents that found refuge in the city. Being raised in a Central American community, the political and historical knowledge she gathered stemmed from oral history and narratives of migration from her family, friends, and community. The gaps in her understanding led her to California State University, Northridge where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Central American Studies and Psychology and felt empowered to create positive change in her community.
Aware of the anti-migrant sentiment, structural border conditions that fueled deaths at the desert, and feeling a strong connection to the communities forced to migrate to the United States, she relocated to Tucson, Arizona in 2012. Since, she has been part of the Missing Migrant Crisis Hotline that was a project of the Coalición de Derechos Humanos and No More Deaths, has helped with abuse documentation for the report Deprivation, Not Deterrence by the Guatemala Acupuncture and Medical Aid Project (GUAMAP), and has been active in migrant rights work, resistance, and resilience of Border Communities in the face of militarization.