SOA Watch Vigil Reflection Guide Print
Written by Liz Albanese   
Friday, 03 December 2010 21:06

Prepared by the SOA Watch staff, November 30, 2010

(la versión en español está por venir)


Your presence at the gates of Fort Benning this year was crucially important. By being physically present, you gave a voice to the thousands of victims throughout Latin America whose voices have been silenced by graduates of the SOA. By being physically present, you spoke truth to power. By being physically present, you were a witness to the strength that grows when everyday people mobilize from the ground up, and continue to educate their communities and resist injustice in the spirit of nonviolence. By being physically present, you encouraged media outlets from around the globe not only to report our story, but to show the world what a culture of peace vs. a culture of war, could look like.

For many of you, coming to Georgia meant spending money in tough economic times. It meant skipping work or school and traveling many hours by car, bus, train, or plane. For some, it meant walking 100 miles to join us at the gates. SOA Watch is grateful to you for making the choice to be in solidarity last weekend.

We must continue to grow together in community as we move forward with our work to close the SOA, resist militarization, and promote a culture of peace!

Therefore, SOA Watch encourages you to reunite with the group you traveled to Georgia with, and to use the following reflection questions as a guide for your meeting.


We encourage you to take notes throughout your reunion and send feedback to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

  1. Did you feel prepared by your local group, school, or organization before leaving for Georgia? Did you find the SOA Watch website and resources helpful? What do you wish you would have known before arriving?

  1. Was there a particular workshop or event that you attended during the weekend, apart from the gates, which you especially liked? If so, what was it and why did you like it?

  1. What was the highlight of your time spent at the gates on Saturday? What was the highlight of your time spent at the gates on Sunday?

  1. What role do the arts (music, puppets, visual art, poetry, dance, etc.) play in the movement to close the SOA? How can we expand on this?

  1. What was your experience regarding diversity at the Vigil? If you’ve attended the Vigil before, did you notice any difference in the diversity amongst participants this year?

  1. What steps are you going to take from here (individually and as a group) to close the SOA and promote peace, justice, and human rights in Latin America? What can the SOA Watch office do to support that? How will you mobilize for the April days of action and lobbying in Washington, DC?

  1. Did you learn about the “Bridges Not Bases” campaign as well as the SOA Watch legislative campaign at the 2010 November Vigil? If so, what actions can you take related to these campaigns leading up to the April event in DC or the 2011 November Vigil?

  1. We would love to hear any comments, suggestions, things that you love about SOA Watch, etc… that you want to share!

Once you’ve completed these questions with your group, and have compiled notes, we encourage you to email feedback to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

To close the SOA, to resist militarization and to promote a culture of peace, we need to work together year round. There are many ways for you to stay involved, starting with visiting To get involved with our 2010 – 2011 Legislative Campaign, visit To join a working group, find a local group, contact your council representative, or research internship opportunities at SOA Watch, visit Finally, to order books, videos, and other SOA Watch resources for your group, click here!

Thank you for your support and solidarity, we look forward to seeing you in April 2011 in Washington, DC!

Photo courtesy of Sarah Hampton

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 January 2011 14:37