School of Americas Watch news: Step by step, the longest march can be won. You did it! After protests and nonviolent direct actions, thousands of petitions, and letters from religious leaders and Members of Congress, the White House has agreed to sit down with an SOA Watch delegation to discuss the School of the Americas / Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation mid-October. WNPJ has been involved with this movement over the last years, with our former Lifetime Achievement Awardee, Maureen McDonnell, OP leading the way. And longtime WNPJ member Fred Brancel of Monona (photo) served 6 months in a federal prison, for crossing the line at Ft. Benning, GA several years ago. Many of our members have made the annual trip to Geoargia each November in protest, written letters, and made call to our representatives. Thank you all. Read more below, of what you can do now is support of this upcoming meeting.
Denis McDonough - President Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor, has rescheduled a meeting in the White House with the SOAW group, to mid-October. He is one of the most senior officials in the White House. The SOA Watch delegation will be comprised of torture survivors, religious and union leaders, Members of Congress, and academics. We believe that this is a good opportunity and we're going into the meeting with an open heart. We hope to get through to him and to lay the groundwork for the closing of the SOA and a change in U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America.
At the same time we are not naive. We know that U.S. policy towards Latin America has been different only by degree under Republican and Democratic administrations, and that we are up against a giant (the Pentagon).
Getting a meeting at this level has taken years of persistent, cross-border grassroots struggle. We will go into this meeting remembering the thousands of martyrs of SOA violence, and knowing that closing the SOA would be one step in the larger struggle for justice and dignity. The Obama administration has the power to listen to the people of the Americas, or to continue the policies of past administrations. Please take a moment to write to Denis McDonough
, thanking him for meeting with the SOA Watch delegation, and encouraging him to do the right thing.
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