Dominicans and Associates attend annual SOA vigil at Fort Benning

Dominicans and Associates from Adrian, Peace, Sinsinawa, Springfield, and the Central Province traveled to Columbus, GA, for the annual SOA (School of Americas) vigil at Fort Benning November 21 and 22, 2015.

Saturday morning found the vigilers driving the 40 miles to Lumpkin, GA, for the rally and 1.7 mile march tomarch the Stewart Detention Center, one of the largest for-profit immigrant prisons in the country (1,752 beds). There are more people inside the prison than in the small, remote rural town. The march was led by those whose lives are
directly impacted by our country’s unjust, inhumane and racist immigration policies. More than 1,000 marchers joined in to raise their voices. They couldn’t see what the site looked like as large buses were parked to block any view of the building.

The Sunday morning funeral procession continues to be a powerful remembrance of those who have died at the hands of military violence. Crosses with the
names of those who have been killed or disappeared due to state violence are raised as the crowd responds with Presente.

After the procession, SOAWatch leaders announced that SOAW is planning to change its focus from Ft. Benning to the U.S.-Mexican border to address the plight of Latin Americans refugees who are fleeing increasingly dangerous conditions, especially those escaping violence in the “northern triangle” of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Christina spent 4 years in a Salvadoran prison after suffering a miscarriage.
Christina spent 4 years in a Salvadoran prison after suffering a miscarriage.

One of the workshops on Saturday afternoon was about the Las 17 (the 17). In El Salvador, abortion is illegal even in cases of rape, incest, and maternal danger. Because of the strictness of the law, women who miscarry are arrested and tried for aggravated homicide, receiving up to a 30-or-40-year prison sentence. Activist groups have identified at least 17 women who have been jailed after losing their babies to medical emergencies. As one would expect, these are poor, rural women.

We carried you with us in prayer and spirit throughout the weekend.