This week I leave for Columbus, Georgia, to join the vigil at the gates of Ft. Benning. We will gather to remember and resist as we approach the 30th anniversary of the four women who were killed in El Salvador. We will gather to celebrate and commemorate as we move forward with the challenge of creating full peace with justice.
This year I will blog each of the days leading up to the vigil. I invite you to journey with the School of the Americas Watch Movement as we ready to Close It Down (subscribe if you want to get my posts right in your inbox)! To get us started I would like to offer the following excerpt from a letter by Ita Ford, M.M. to her niece.
A Letter from Ita to her niece
The odds that this note will arrive for your birthday are poor, but know I’m with you in spirit as you celebrate 16 big ones…
What I want to say…some of it isn’t too jolly birthday talk, but it’s real…yesterday I stood looking down at a 16-year-old who had been killed a few hours earlier. I know lots of kids even younger who are dead. This is a terrible time in El Salvador for youth. A lot of idealism and commitment is getting snuffed out here now…
Brooklyn is not passing through the drama of El Salvador, but some things hold true wherever one is at, and at whatever age. What I am saying is, I hope you come to find that which gives life a deep meaning for you…something worth living for, maybe even worth dying for…something that energizes you, enthuses you, enables you to keep moving ahead. I can’t tell you what it might be – that is for you to find, to choose, to love.
I can just encourage you to start looking and support you in the search. Maybe this sounds weird and off-the-wall, and maybe, no one else will talk to you like this, but then, too, I am seeing and living things others around you are not.
I want to say to you: don’t waste the gifts and opportunities you have to make yourself and other people happy…I hope this does not sound like some kind of sermon because I do not mean it that way. Rather, it is something you learn here, and I want to share it with you.
In fact it is my birthday present to you. If it does not make sense right at this moment, keep this and read it sometime from now. Maybe it will be clearer.
A very happy birthday to you and much, much love…Ita
Ita Ford, Presente!