Georgia Peace and Justice Walk
April 26 - May 3: The Right to Peace Walk UPDATES!!!
SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois; Field Organizer Maria Luisa Rosal; our newest Council member Kevin Moran; and long-time SOA Watch activist Irene Rojas DeCambias are currently walking 120 miles from Fort Benning, Georgia to Atlanta, Georgia, to call attention to the SOA, drone warfare, and the persecution of immigrants. Follow their walk on twitter, read daily updates on facebook and on SOAW.org, or even better: Join them (see their schedule below).
Since beginning the walk on Saturday April 26, the Peace Walkers have been making great strides towards standing up for peace and justice! At the gates of Ft. Benning, they commemorated Bishop Gerardi on the 16th anniversary of his brutal murder at the hands of SOA grad Col. Byron Lima Estrada. Gerardi spearheaded an ad-hoc truth commission report that systematized for the first time ever the mass human rights violations that occured during the 36-year internal armed conflict and began the process of accompaniment and social reconstruction of many indigenous communities who had survived the massacres that occured during the "scorched earth" campaigns of the early 1980's.
By day 2 the Peace Walkers made it to Lumpkin, Georgia, where Stewart Detention Center - the largest, privately owned, for-profit, immigrant prison in the United States - is located. Together, with immigrant rights activist and local community organizer Anton Flores, the Peace Walkers held a vigil outside the gates of Stewart to make the connections between the roots causes of migration and the criminalization and shameful discrimination of migrant in the US, part of a broader system of the US policy of militarism. They were also able to talk to families that made the long journey to Stewart to visit their loved ones and to hear their stories. The day ended with a visit to the community at Alterna in LaGrange, Georgia. The Peace Walkers continued on their walk to Atlanta with a renewed sense of committment and solidarity.
The 120 mile "Right to Peace” walk will culminate with a rally at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta. The rally will draw attention to the connection concerning the research and development of the next generation of autonomous killer drones by Georgia Tech; their partnership with the Maneuver Battle Lab at Fort Benning, where Georgia Tech conducts drone flight testing, and the training of Latin America's police, and military forces at Ft. Bennings School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) in the use of the tools and tactics of oppression.
The movement to close the SOA has been tremendously successful in educating broad sectors about the reality of U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America. While SOA Watch started out with a narrow focus of ending the training of repressive Latin American military forces and the closure of the SOA, the scope of our work has broadened over the years.
The SOA and the use of killer drones are both part of a broader system of militarism. The institute and the remote control killing are not aberrations of U.S. foreign policy, but clear examples of it.
If you are interested in participating in the march, or for more information, please email Kevin at
Goals of the walk – The Right to Peace
Raise public awareness to inspire specific calls to action by attracting mass media exposure to:
Call for an immediate moratorium on the research and development of autonomous drones by Georgia Tech as recommended by the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions, Christof Heyns.
Call for an immediate closure of the SOA, a U.S. military training school for Latin American security personnel located at Ft. Benning, GA, by demanding congressional support of passage of H.R. 2989 the Latin American Military Training Review Act – the bill to suspend and investigate the School of the Americas.
The Right to Peace Walk Schedule & Outline
Saturday, April 26: Mass Rally at Noon at the Gate to Ft. Benning, Featured Speaker: Father Roy Bourgeois, Walk begins 1 PM to Flatrock Park, Columbus, Georgia
Sunday, April 27: Alterna Community Forum, LaGrange, Georgia. Walk begins at EL Refugio, Lumpkin to Stewart Detention Center
Monday, April 28: Walk begins at LaGrange to Hogansville
Tuesday, April 29: Walk begins at Hogansville to Newnan
Wednesday, April 30: Walk begins at Newnan to Peachtree City
Thursday, May 1: Walk begins at Peachtree City to Jonesboro
Friday, May 2: Walk begins at King Center, Atlanta to Federal Prison, Georgia State University, Georgia State Capitol Press Conference, Atlanta City Detention Center, ICE Building Immigration Court, Federal Prison
Saturday, May 3: Walk begins at Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Center, Atlanta to GA Tech 2:00–3:30 Mass Rally with feature speakers: Father Roy Bourgeois, Medea Benjamin, renowned activist from CodePink, as well as Azadeh Shahshahani, President, National Lawyers Guild; National Security/Immigrants' Rights Project Director, ACLU of Georgia.
More information about the walk will be posted at http://GeorgiaPeace.org