In what is becoming an annual ritual for our GCW community, about 20 of us went to Ft. Benning, GA from November 21-23, to attend the action and vigil to close the School of the Americas (SOA). Eric Lecompte of SOAWatch had spoken at an early November Roundtable at the GCW, telling us about the SOA’s sordid history of torture training; assassinations and “disappearances” caried out against religious, labor and student activists by SOA graduates in their home countries throughout Latin America; and much more. He also shared with us the nearly 2 decade effort to close the school down, a school paid for by our tax dollars. For more information on the SOA, see www.soaw.org.
Traveling up in three vehicles, we went up to the SOA for the annual action and vigil and to meet Rev. Jon Sobrino, SJ, the sole surviving member of the Jesuit community at the University of Central America in El Salvador. His 6 brother Jesuits, their co-worker and her daughter were all massacred at the hands of SOA graduates in 1989 for their work amongst El Salvador’s impoverished masses. It was a positive experience for both newcomers and those of us who had been many times before. The weekend includes a mock funeral procession on Sunday, where thousands of us holding white crosses process to the gates of Ft. Benning as the names of the tens of thousands who have been documented to have died at the hands of graduates of the SOA are read aloud. It is a powerful and moving experience.
For a complete list of what is happening at the GCW this week, click here.
Thanks so much to everyone who contributed blankets last week! We gave out probably around 50 blankets last week, and when the next cold snap hits, we’re well-provisioned to help folks looking to stay warm. Many thanks again!
Thanks too to the JustFaith group from St. Anastasia Church in St. Augustine and to the Student World Assembly at UF for hosting yesterday’s cafe. It was a special “Day of the Dead” cafe, including special desserts, decorations and a poster where guests, volunteers, and others could write the names of relatives, friends and others who have passed on that they want remembered. We’ll pray for these people and remember them during our prayer time this month at the GCW. The poster will stay up throughout November if you want to add other names as well.
This week, we’re very lucky to have Eric LeCompte, lead organizer for the human rights organization, School of the Americas (SOA) Watch, join us for Thursday’s Roundtable. Eric is an incredible and passionate young man, and he’ll share with us about the School of the Americas, the protests that happen there each November, analysis on US foreign policy regarding Latin America, and more. The GCW will be sending several folks up to participate in the action and vigil at the SOA on Nov. 21-23. Come to learn more, and bring a dish to share if you can!
Also, on Friday night, former Metanoia participant Erica Carlsson has pulled together a benefit concert for the Jubilee House. The concert starts at 9pm at Brophy’s Irish Pub, 60 SW 2nd Street, and features bands like Progressive Madness, The Wooden, and others. If folks want to walk over from the GCW, meet at 8:45pm. And thanks Erica!
Finally, we are the now the proud owners of a new, donated industrial-sized composter! John Then and Patrick, with a little help from Roxanne and Tyler, put it together this weekend. As fall gears up and we re-start our composting, we would gladly accept any and all bags of leaves you can send our way. We’ll use them as groundcover in the backyard and in the compost. Drop them off on the side of the house any day or night!
Thanks for all your support and we hope to see you this week, whether it be at cafe, scripture study, Roundtable, gardening or whatnot!