|A Challenge to Institutional Racism|
|Written by Nada Khader|
One New York activist group transforms how they approach their work.
When someone mentions the phrase “the peace movement in the United States,” I think of older white folk holding up signs, asking for troops to come home from Iraq or for peace in Colombia. I think of a movement that is more focused on what happens outside our borders than on what is happening right now inside our own communities.
Two terms that now make sense to me as a result of this training are “internalized racial superiority” and “internalized racial oppression.” Across generations, one group of people has been able to accumulate wealth and savings to pass on to their children, while other groups have had obstacles placed in their way to prevent and inhibit wealth and savings accumulation. The dominant group understands that society was meant to benefit them, receiving messages from birth that their group is entitled to the best that society has to offer, while other groups understand that they do not have the same access to power and resources necessary to meet their needs. In any social justice movement, it is crucial to understand the disorganizing impact that internalized racial oppression and superiority have on both our interpersonal relationships as well as on our institutional relationships in coalition-building.
How does this play out in a peace group? Peace groups chant for troops to come home and an end to the war in Colombia, but their movements are largely white and speak to a white agenda. People of color – Indigenous, African, Latino, Arab, Asian – are also looking for justice, right here at home in our local communities. When we offer anti-oppression trainings in our offices, the majority of people who show up are people of color and women. Who decides the agenda of a local activist group? Is it the white members who have been around the longest? Or is it communities who are most affected by an issue and who have to deal with systemic oppression?
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The Spring issue contains mobilizing information for the SOA Watch Border Convergence, which is taking place from October 7-10, 2016 at the US/Mexico border in Nogales, and also focuses on recent developments in Latin America and within the SOA Watch movement.
Click here to download a PDF version of the Spring 2016 issue.
As this issue of Presente went to print, our hearts were heavy. The assassination of our dear friend and comrade Berta Cáceres, and the increased repression against social movement groups, have left us shocked and saddened. SOA Watch Latin America liaison Brigitte Gynther traveled to Honduras the morning after she learned about the assassination and has been coordinating SOA Watch’s response together with our partner groups on the ground. If you do not already receive Urgent Action emails from us, please click here to sign up now.
The recent decision by the U.S. judge in North Carolina to extradite one of the perpetrators of the 1989 massacre at the University of San Salvador gives us hope that justice will prevail in the end. It will take all of us to create change! Please join us as we mobilize to the U.S./Mexico border from October 7-10, 2016!
Other articles in this issue cover a protest by SOA Watch in Chile against US bases in Latin America, the FBI surveillance of SOA Watch, updates from Colombia and Mexico, news about the first Border Patrol agent to receive training at WHINSEC, background information about Direct Action, the Youth Encuentro in Guatemala, and more.
Download this issue of Presente here.
Interview with Father Fausto Mila in Honduras
SOA Watch participated in the International Human Rights Encuentro in Honduras in February 2012. Laura Jung spoke with Father Fausto Milla, a religious leader in the Honduran movement who has been persecuted by the State of Honduras.
By Pablo Ruiz, Equipo Latinoamericano of SOA Watch
SOAW Chile achieved an important victory; to declassify the names of over 760 Chilean soldiers who took courses at the School of the Americas/WHINSEC during the past decade.
For more info about ¡Presente!, go to About US.
True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.
- Martin Luther King Jr.
A challenging new documentary has quickly become one of the
widest-reaching films to encapsulate the history of the SOA Watch
An in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed in 2002.