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Home News Organizing Updates They can jail the resisters...
They can jail the resisters... PDF Print E-mail

...but they can't jail the resistance!

On Sunday, November 20, 2011, SOA Watch activist Theresa Cusimano climbed over the barbed wired fence at the main gates of Fort Benning, Georgia - home to the School of the Americas. Theresa was arrested by military police and is facing up to six months in federal prison.

Click here to watch video footage of Theresa's nonviolent direct action to close the SOA and to change U.S. foreign policy.

Theresa will face a federal trial next year – her second trial for such actions at Fort Benning. Theresa also carried her protest onto Fort Benning in 2008, an act for which she served two months in federal prison. Protests against the SOA/WHINSEC began 21 years ago; since then, over 300 people have been sentenced and have collectively served over 100 years of prison time for nonviolent civil disobedience.

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. Here are excerpts from her speech from the stage:

"[…] 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. […]

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


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

Chris Takes Action to Connect the Struggles

Chris Spicer from Chicago, Illinois, crossed the police barricade at Friday's protest against the Stewart Detention Center, the largest privately owned detention center in the United States. Chris engaged in civil disobedience in solidarity with the immigrants detained within the prison walls. Many of those incarcerated came to the United States from Latin America because of the violence carried out by SOA graduates against civilian populations in their countries. Chris, who was recently released after serving a six-month sentence for crossing the line at the 2010 Vigil to Close the School of the Americas, was brought before Judge Wayne Ammons, who set the bond for this criminal trespass charge exorbitantly high at $5,000. Responding to news that Stewart Detention Center detainees were fasting to commemorate this fifth annual vigil at the gates of the Stewart facility, Chris announced that he too would be fasting, "to purify this unjust system. The SOA and inhumane immigration policies are part of the same racist system of violence and domination." Georgia Detention Watch organizer Anton Flores, from the Alterna Community, was wrongfully arrested at the close of Friday's action, after media and legal observers had left. Despite video evidence proving Anton did not trespass, the police refused to stop harassing him, and only after the evidence was presented to Judge Ammons were his charges dismissed. Chris' bond has been reduced to $1,500 at yesterday's arraignment and the SOA Watch Legal Collective posted bail for him on Monday, November 21. He is facing charges for criminal trespass.

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Jonathan and Isaac Confront Border Patrol Officers in Alabama

We were joined by many undocumented immigrants at the gates of Fort Benning this year. We stood together to challenge the unjust and racist policies of the U.S. government, to close the School of the Americas and to win justice for all. Jonathan Pérez, an undocumented youth from California was scheduled to speak on the Saturday evening panel dicussion at the Columbus Convention Center but he could not, because he is incarcerated. On November 10, Jonathan Pérez and Isaac Barrera, two undocumented immigrants from California, entered a Border Patrol office in Mobile, Alabama and told agents they were undocumented. Theirs was a strategic move organized by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance and DreamActivist.org to prove that away from the media spotlight and contrary to its public line on its deportation policies, the Obama administration is still intent on deporting the very people it claims not to have any interest in removing from the country, including young people with no criminal convictions, eligible for the DREAM Act.

Watch this video, released over the weekend, as Pérez confronts Border Patrol officers, and courageously announces his status after telling them how disgusted he is with Obama’s deportation agenda.

“We’re exercising our power and showing that we can do something about this,” Pérez told Colorlines last week. “We can challenge the system, and when we do, the system falls apart and the contradictions begin to show.”

UPDATE Thursday, November 24: Isaac and Jonathan were released from ICE detention this morning!


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SOA Watch
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phone: 202-234-3440
email: info@soaw.org