Bring SOA Watch Spring Days of Action to your community! Print

Can't join us in Washington, DC for this year's Spring Days of Action? Not a problem.

Bring the Spring Days to your community!

Why, you might ask? Well, put simply - your efforts matter! In fact, grassroots power is key in fundamentally shifting damaging policies at home and abroad. Just over 6 months ago, the world watched in horror as 43 students from the Ayotzinapa rural teaching school were disappeared by local police. Since September 26, 2014, unprecedented protests have erupted in Mexico in rejection of pervasive state violence, drawing attention to the US-sponsored "War on Drugs", which has only militarized communities and led to the murder of over 100,000 and the disappearance of over 30,000 in Mexico over the past 8 years, not to mention the forced displacement of millions.

Similarly, in the US, the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson by a police officer, and the repression of protests that ensued, has proven that police militarization, whether in the name of the War on Drugs or the War on Terror, is causing great harm to communities throughout the country. The line between the police and military is blurring at home and abroad and the only ones that benefit are the elites and the military-industrial-prison complex.

The people's victory over this failed "Drug War" is on the horizon, but we are not quite there yet. There is much work to be done, and we need to activate and mobilize our communities, from the grassroots, to resist and work towards radical change. While it is true that there is an unprecedented level of violence against the most directly affected communities across the board, fueled by a history of racism and imperialism, it is important to remember that there is also an incredible level of organization at the grassroots to confront state violence taking hold in the US and Mexico. This reality obligates us to agitate and activate, and we must do so using as many forms of resistance as possible. Remembering the words of Anayeli Guerrero de la Cruz, sister of Jhosivani Guerrero de la Cruz, one of the 43 students that was disappeared on September 26 in Mexico, "if there is no peace for us, there will be no peace for the government".

So are you ready to act? Below we have included some ideas to get your creative organizing juices flowing. Remember that this list is not exhaustive, and can be done even if you are new to organizing and mobilizing. We've got your back, too, so don't forget to reach out to us with any questions you may have along the way! Call us at 202-234-3440.

Organize a solidarity fast - Fasting, whether on a liquids-only or water fast, has been an important part of social movements throughout history. In fact, fasting on the steps of the Capitol was one of the earlier actions taken by SOA Watch activists in Washington, DC to show solidarity with Latin America. This year, SOA Watch is inviting activists from around the country to fast for justice and call for the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC, to call for an end to the US-sponsored Drug War and an end to the militarization of police.

Fast for one day or seven days! Fast on your own or you can organize a group in your community to fast together. As you think about organizing your fast, it is important to plan ahead about how to educate people in your community about the SOA/WHINSEC, the War on Drugs and the Bill to stop the militarization of police. Other things to think about include why you are fasting and why others should get involved. When possible, getting local media coverage involved is a wonderful way to amplify your action and get the word out.

For more information on how to organize a fast in your community, click here.

To learn about SOA Watch's fast in 2011, Hungry for Justice, Starving for Change, click here.

Wheatpasting - Wheatpasting is an organizing and educational tool that helps get a message across in a big way! It's artistic, it's creative, it's inexpensive and it's fun! Here's a a wheatpasting 101 break-down:

Step 1: Print one or more of the posters (links below) on regular paper, or take it to a print shop to get larger versions. Remember that the heavier the paper, the longer it will last outdoors! (If you make your own, remember to use materials that won't run if it gets wet).

Step 2: Purchase wallpaper powder from your local hardware store or online. For the DIY folks, you can also make your own from this recipe or this recipe.

Step 3: Hit the streets! Bring a paintbrush, posters and a bucket of your wheatpaste (and a friend to watch your back) and paste up your posters around your community.

P.S. - Familiarize yourself with your city's ordinance about wheatpasting.

Links to posters: Poster 1; Poster 2; Poster 3; Poster 4. Also, here you can download posters from SOA Watch's poster camapaign.

Host a community meeting or film screening - Oftentimes organizing an informal gathering at your home or at a community space (community center, church or public library) is a great way to get connected with other activists who are interested in being part of the SOA Watch grassroots movement. It is an opportunity to meet new people and organize around common interests. For more information on local organizing with SOA Watch, click here.

If you decide to host a screening, we strongly recommend watching Somos Una America, a 2012 documentary on the movement to shut down the School of the Americas. It is a great film to watch, whether you have been part of the SOA Watch movement for a long time, or learning about SOA/WHINSEC for the first time. You can order a copy here, or you can view it online here. For ideas on how to do a screening, click here.

Join the National Call-in Day - Call your Representative on Friday, April 24 to let them know that you want the US-sponsored "Drug War" to end! Let your Representative know that you do not support funding for the Merida Initiative (Plan Mexico) or the Alliance for Prosperity. If you can't be in Washington, DC to lobby in Congress, calling is an easy way to make an important impact. For more information SOA Watch's 2015 legislative asks, call 202-234-3440.

Want to make an even bigger impact? Invite your friends to join you as you pick up the phone to let your voice be heard in Congress!

Below are some resources to understanding the "Drug War":