Get Involved!

Interested in getting involved with School of the Americas Watch? Look no further! As a grassroots movement, we have been able to speak truth to power thanks to people like you! Below are just a few ways in which you can plug into the work.


This convergence is made possible with the help of volunteers. Many hands are needed and throughout the course of the weekend, over 100 volunteers will contribute a few hours of their time to make this year’s Encuentro possible. Please consider joining alongside dozens of other amazing folks!

If you are interested in volunteering a couple hours of your time during this years’ Encuentro, please contact María Luisa at

Join the Border Encuentro Coordinating Team!

The Encuentro Coordinating Team is essentially one of the core organizing groups that bring the Encuentro to life year after year. Made up of several working groups composed of individuals who dedicate their time to work on a specific area of the Encuentro organizing throughout the year, specifically in the months prior to the weekend of November 16-18, The Encuentro Coordinating Team is a group of dynamic and dedicated individuals coming together for a collective cause. As a grassroots movement, the power is in the people involved! Consider getting involved with one or more of the following working groups and let your voice be heard:

Bilingual Space Collective
This ongoing working group seeks to work from a framework of language justice. As a hemispheric movement, we are working to center bilingual spaces in our work – everything from having a bilingual (or multilingual!) staff, to creating Spanish and English language media across the Americas. We welcome new folks who are Spanish<>English interpreters and translators to get involved!

Contact: Adrián Bernal,

Research & Conference Working Group
The Research & Conference Working Group will help to structure the workshop and tabling space at the Convergence. Aside from coordinating workshop spaces, this group also takes part in plenary planning, envisioning goals and themes for the Encuentro – which include a focus on making the conference space inclusive and accessible, as well as an interactive space for people to connect on militarization issues and beyond – as well as take the lead on research and analysis that shape and guide our work.

Contact: Beth Harris,

Legal Collective Working Group
The Legal Collective is a group of activists, lawyers, law students and paralegals who offer legal trainings and support during the November vigils and subsequent trials. The legal collective sets up and staffs a legal office and hotline during the vigil weekend, and follows up on any vigil attendees arrested during that time.

Abby Jensen, Southern Arizona Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild,

Media & Communications Working Group 
The media & communications working group is in the process of becoming an ongoing working group. Our mission is to spread the word far and wide about the work of SOA Watch via mainstream and alternative media, and to empower more folks in this grassroots movement to do the same. This work can include pitching reporters and news outlets to cover the issue, writing and placing opinion pieces and letters to the editor, arranging interviews, answering phone calls, editing and coaching local groups, photography, live streaming and filming, as well as spreading the word through social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All experience levels welcome!

Contact: Luis Eduardo García,

Street theater, extravagant political puppets made from the debris of a culture gone mad, channeling your political convictions and creativity into an expression of life affirming resistance, visionary community living and building, feeling integrated into and valued by the SOA Watch community, all this and more is waiting for you simply by joining the Puppetistas!

As in prior years at the vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, a creative, sometimes crazy, certainly zany cast of characters will gather this November in Nogales from around the country, organize themselves as the inspired Puppetistas and create the puppets and pageantry that has become an integral expression of the SOA Watch resistance movement.

You too could be amongst them, building puppets from discarded cardboard, planning, painting, plotting, cooking and eating together, learning to walk on stilts, or how to turn a bucket into a drum to beat the messages of social justice and hope. All are welcome, all are valued. Come for a week, a day, 2 hours, or see us on the days of the rally and find the role for you.

Contact: Coleman Smith,

Stage & Program Working Group
Beginning in the early spring of each year, the stage and program working group works to contact speakers, musicians and performers for the Convergence. We help create the program and coordinate music, musicians and speakers.

Contact: Olmeca, & Becca Bretz,


As SOA Watch, we seek to connect common struggles, uplift the voices of those most directly impacted by state violence and to challenge the violent, dehumanizing mainstream discourse against migrants and refugees. We also seek to demand an end to racist and xenophobic policies that place profit before people and exile thousands of migrants throughout the Hemisphere, particularly in Mexico, Central America, and the border region; and lastly, to build and support thriving networks of engaged activists and communities.

With your support, we will continue our historic fight to close the SOA/WHINSEC as we continue highlighting the human rights crises created by militarized borders, and build a collective understanding of the systems of oppression so that we may resist and create a world of dignity and respect.


How do I get connected to SOA Watch locally?

As a grassroots movement, there are communities organizing around the work of SOA Watch, as well as local social justice struggles across the Americas. Below is a list of (mostly) US-based communities organizing to attend the Convergence this November. If you are interested in attending this year’s , Encuentro, and would like more information about connecting to the work of SOA Watch locally, please reach out! We look forward to hearing from you and meeting you!

Atlanta, Georgia
Contact: Adrián Bernal,

Boston, Massachusetts
Contact: Mike Tork,

Chicago, Illinois 
SOA Watch Illinois
Contact: Becca Bretz,
Contact: Chris Inserra,

Cleveland, Ohio
Inter-Religious Task Force on Central America
Contact: Chrissy Stonebraker-Martínez, 

Denver, Colorado
Denver Justice and Peace Committee
Contact: Rebeca Zúniga,

Immokalee, Florida
Contact: Pedro-Jesús Romero Menéndez

Ithaca/Cortland/Syracuse, New York
Contact: Beth Harris,

Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact: Olmeca,

Los Angeles, California
SOA Watch Los Angeles – SOA Watch-L.A. is a local chapter of the national SOA Watch movement to shut down the SOA/WHINSEC and to change oppressive US foreign policy
Contact: Sandra Sunshine Williams,

Nashville, Tennessee
Contact: Elizabeth López,

New Orleans, Louisiana 
SOA Watch New Orleans
Contact: María Luisa Rosal,

New York City
Contact: Phil Josselyn,

Oakland/San Fransisco, California
SOA Watch East Bay
Contact: Chris Lopez,

Seattle, Washington
SOA Watch Puget Sound
Contact: Kate Speltz,

Tucson, Arizona
SOA Watch – 225 E 26th St, Suite 7, Tucson AZ 85713 / 202-234-3440
Contact: Eduardo García,, 202-469-1696