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Bring a SOA Watch Speaker to Your Community! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rob   
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 00:18

Educate and Organize your Community!

Hosting a speaker in the lead-up to national SOA Watch gathering, mobilizing your friends to a speaking event that is already planned or organizing a film screening is a great way to educate and activate community members in your area. Check out the list of speakers below. If you would like to host one of the speakers/performers listed below, please contact them with your interest.

If you are a student or teacher, consider having a SOA Watch speaker as part of your curriculum!

If you are hosting a speaker, be sure to spread the word. In nearby cafés, libraries, schools, churches, community centers, via email or social media, it's important to give sufficient time to your community to prepare for the event. You can download a basic Word template for announcing a speaker event, or be creative and design your own! Remember word of mouth is still a very effective organizing tool, so don't be afraid to go in person or use your phone!

You can also order the SOA Watch 101 informational sheet to hand out at your event, or check out our other resources.

Don't forget to have sign up sheets available during the event, and send it back to us, in order to connect your attendees with future SOA Watch information!

Contact SOA Watch at 202-234-3440 for more help and information.

Hector Aristizábal

Hector is a native of Medellin, Colombia and currently lives in California. Hector is a long time SOA Watch activist, who has been part of the Puppetistas for several years. His commitment to the human rights work forced him to leave his country in 1989 due to death threats. He is an actor and a practitioner of the techniques known as Theater of the Oppressed.

Hector Aristizabal performs Nightwind, a harrowing solo performance in which he re-enacts his own arrest and torture by the SOA-trained military in Colombia. For more information and to invite Hector, contact him at (626) 221-7710 or visit www.ImaginAction.org

Rev. Luis Barrios, SOA Watch Prisoner of Conscience

Rev. Luis Barrios is speaking to communities about the School of the Americas and the SOA graduate led military coup in Honduras. He also talks about his experience crossing the line at Ft. Benning, being convicted of trespassing and becoming a prisoner of conscience. The Rev. Luis Barrios, Ph.D., is a professor at John Jay College in New York. He is also the chair of the Department of Latin American & Latina/o Studies. Since 1988, Dr. Barrios is a columnist of El Diario La Prensa in New York City, one of the oldest Spanish newspapers in the United States. In addition, Rev. Barrios is an associate priest at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in West Harlem, New York City. He is an active member of IFCO-Pastor for Peace Board of Director.

You can contact Luis Barrios at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (212) 237-8747 for more information or to invite him to speak in your community

Father Roy Bourgeois, M.M., SOA Watch Founder

Father Roy has spent over four years in US federal prisons for nonviolent protests against the training of Latin American soldiers at Ft. Benning, Georgia. His talks have inspired thousands to take action for social justice. Click here for a bio of Father Roy.


September 23: Washington, DC
Contact: 706-682-5369
October 6-14 : Delegation to Santiago, Chile
Contact: 202-234-3440

November 18: Atlanta, Georgia

To set up an event with Fr. Roy, contact the SOA Watch office in Columbus at 706-682-5369

Jack Gilroy, SOA Watch Prisoner of Conscience

Jack in SalzburgJack Gilroy is a full time human rights/peace activist and former Prisoner of Conscience for the School of the Americas Watch. Gilroy’s two novels of young men who refused to be part of the United States military, "Absolute Flanigan" and "The Wisdom Box", received gold medal awards by OMNI Center for Peace & Justice.

Two of Jack’s plays received strong praise when performed at the  Columbus Convention Center in Georgia. Render to Caesar?: The Story of Franz Jagerstatter, The Predator (a play about drone warfare) and Sentenced to Death for Not Killing: The story of Ben Salmon, are available for performances by universities and small theater companies without charge.

Sentenced to Death for Not Killing is being offered as a fund raiser for the School of the Americas Watch. Contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

Becca Polk, SOA Watch Student and Youth Coodinator

Want to mobilize students on your campus to build and strengthen the movement to shut the SOA and U.S domination in Latin America? There are many ways to bring the SOA to your campus or community. Becca Polk, SOA Watch Student and Youth Coordinator, is traveling around, leading popular education style workshops to create awareness and commitment to building a strong movement to oppose US interventions in Latin America, whether it be military, economic or political. Whether your group is well versed in SOA Watch and militarization on the continent or are new to this area of organizing, a workshop or event can be adapted to your needs and interests.

Contact Becca at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (202)234-3400 to get in touch or find out more ways to  organize around the SOA on your campus.

Simón Sedillo

Simon is a community rights defense organizer and film maker. He has spent the last 8 years documenting, producing and teaching community based video documentation in Mexico and the US. Through lectures, workshops, and short films, Sedillo breaks down the effects of neoliberalism, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and militarism on indigenous communities, immigrant communities, and communities of color in the US and Mexico. Through collaborative media projects, Sedillo’s work has contributed to a growing network of communities whose primary objective is to share, teach, and learn from one another, about community based media production and the collective construction of horizontal networks of community rights defense. Sedillo is also an active member of the campaign to close the U.S. Army School of the America’s, at Fort Benning, in Columbus, GA. You can find him at the gates of the U.S. Army base every November along with the folks from The School of the America’s Watch at www.soaw.org.

For more information visit www.ElEnemigoComun.net. If you are interested in hosting an event at your University or community center, please contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Stephania Shanks

Stephania Shanks

Based in Richmond, CA,  Stephania is a youth organizer and prisoner's rights educator. As an activist trained and educated at the Evergreen State College, she first developed a passion for popular education and criminology while working and co-learning with incarcerated youth in Centralia, WA. She has her degree in Political Economy with a focus on the Prison-Industrial Complex and is currently an intern at HEPPAC (HIV Education and Prevention Project of Alameda County) serving marginalized communities in the Bay area by helping increase participation in preventative care.

To invite Stephania to your community, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Lisa Sullivan, SOA Watch Latin America Liaison

Lisa went on a month-long speaking tour in 2009. Lisa visited Honduras and was able to attend a meeting with President Zelaya a few weeks prior to the coup of June 28 and returned to Honduras shortly after the military coup to accompany human rights organizers in the streets. Lisa has lived in Latin America since 1977. She worked for 21 years as a Maryknoll lay missioner in Venezuela and Bolivia, and currently lives in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.
As the Latin America Coordinator, Lisa has led numerous delegations to Latin American countries to meet with political officials and social movement leaders throughout the region.

Please feel free to contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more on Latin American speakers.

Cecilia Zarate-Laun, Colombia Support Network

Cecilia was a member of the SOA Watch Advisory Group. She was born and raised in Colombia and graduated from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 1966. She co-founded the Colombia Support Network (CSN) in 1988 to address U.S. foreign policy toward the war in Colombia and to help foster a national solidarity movement in the U.S. with the Colombian people. She has been active with CSN since its inception and has been the Program Director since 1997. Throughout that time, she has spoken and written extensively on the violence in Colombia.

Maria Luisa Rosal, SOA Watch Field Organizer

Our movement's newest hire works out of the Washington, DC office as our Field Organizer. Born in Guatemala during the worst intensification of the internal armed conflict, she and her family fled into exile to the United States, where they received political asylum. Her father was disappeared by the Guatemalan state on August 12, 1983. Under the conviction that without truth, there can be no justice, she in enthusiastically committed to contributing to the growth of this continental movement!

For more information, call the SOA Watch National Office in Washington, DC at 202-234-3440 or write This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it !

West Coast Dates
Sept. 24 - Oct. 3, Bay Area, California

Midwest Dates
October 6-7, Detroit, Michigan
October 8-12, Ann Arbor, Michigan
October 13-14, Chicago, Illinois
October 15-17, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Southwest Dates
October 24-27, Dallas, Texas
October 28-31, Austin, Texas
October 29, San Antonio, Texas
November 1-2, El Paso, Texas
November 3, Tucson, Arizona
November 4, Phoenix, Arizona

Mobilize your community for the November Vigil to Close the School of the Americas

Organize a film screening in your community.

Order the DVD Compilation of Films to Close the SOA/ WHINSEC and to Change Oppressive U.S. Foreign Policy. The DVD features twelve of the some of the finest films on the School of the Americas and the movement to shut it down. The compilation includes eight English and four Spanish short films and is an excellent resource for both those who are new to SOA Watch and those who are long-time supporters of the movement.

The following films are on the compilation DVD:


  • Guns and Greed
  • Nightwind
  • The New Patriots
  • Journey to Awareness
  • An Insider Speaks Out
  • Prisoners of Conscience
  • Trailer for El Enemigo Comun

  • Español
  • Protesta en Colombia
  • Armas y Avaricia
  • Un Instuctor Denuncia

  • Buy the DVD:
    Order it now for only $17 plus $3 shipping and handling You can send a check or money order to:

    SOA Watch

    5525 Illinois Ave, NW

    Washington, D.C. 20011

    or click here to order the SOA Watch DVD compilation online.

    Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 September 2015 14:40

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    Contact us

    SOA Watch
    733 Euclid Street NW
    Washington, DC 20001

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