I will return this week to the gates at Ft. Benning to gather and vigil for the closing of the School of the Americas. We will stand together to remember all those who have been victims of the school and their loved ones. We will stand together to call for peace with full justice which demands that those responsible for the crimes of the school be brought to light. We will stand and lean out hearts and souls into the knowledge that another is possible even it is not yet known. Join me in prayer, in spirit, and enjoy the video below….Adelante!
SOAW Video 2010
So we gathered from all across the country some even from other countries to begin our vigil, our presence at the gates of Ft. Benning.
We gathered together to hear the testimony of survivors, the stories of those who are currently in the struggle and the poetry and music of many groups of resistance.
The stories from stage reminded us of why we gather. We heard of the human rights violations, the stolen land, the communities broken by militarization, and the fear created by oppression.
We also heard of creative resistance, alternative economies, loving rebuilding of communities. It was a day of energizing grace.
As we left the space, the police attitude changed. There were aggressive arrests, as people tried to make their way to their cars. Theirs was an attitude of control and suspicion that was the antithesis of the nonviolent open space that had been created by the community.
This is our struggle, how do we create change when speaking out is seen as threat? When calling for justice is seen as violent? How do we walk our road?
The day teaches that we walk it together, we walk it in peace, we walk it because this is who we are called to be.
Watching everyone come into town for the SOA vigil is one of the best parts of the weekend. You see folks from all over pull up in busses and cars, they spill out in lobbies and restaurants, and everyone is greeted like an old friend.
We begin immediately to build a new space. A space that is not dependent on power or privilege but rather a space that thrives on creative open relationship. A radical idea that community exists in each of us (like breath) and we are able even in a crowd of thousands to say we, in this moment, are one.
It is always a joy to me each year to watch this space open over the days of the weekend. To watch as all the elements of organizing come together and the key ingredient of the people arrive and gently like a bloom another world rises before our eyes.
I think of Francis and how he did this everyday. He held open space for a radical loving community and watched as a different world bloomed before his eyes. A world built on the foundations of trust, love and complete equity. We carry on, grateful for our inheritance from this particular peacemaker.
We are here, working to build that world and I will do my best through this blog to have the world bloom for you, too! Many blessings and much gratitude for the support of the FSPA community!
p.s. I’ve learned that the FSPA sponsored bus has left La Crosse, Wis., and is headed for Georgia.
This picture was captured this morning as the Franciscan Sisters blessed the students before they boarded the bus!
FSPA bless the students departing for the SOA Vigil.
Dear All – I leave tomorrow to help with the annual organizing of the School of the Americas Watch Vigil. 8th Day Center for Justice has helped out at the vigil since 1996. This year, as in many years past, we will assist with the “Peacemakers Training.” Peacemakers are a presence of nonviolence and help to guide the procession and facilitate conversations with the local authorities…if necessary 🙂 .
This year the procession will be led by life-sized puppets that represent the six Jesuits and their housekeeper and her daughter. The idea is that these martyrs and the vision they gave their life for still guides us today. A vision of a world that does not demand grinding poverty for the many while the few may be rich. A world that does not demand crushing violence as an answer to the cries for peace, justice and dignity.
I will carry with me the beautiful and peace filled presence of the FSPA community and the prayer of St. Francis…God make me an instrument of your peace…Check out the link below for more info on the event…and blessings till the next time! Peace Liz