On January 26, six human rights advocates appeared in a federal courthouse in Georgia. The "SOA 6," ranging in age from 21 to 68, were found "guilty" of carrying the protest against the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) onto the Fort Benning military base. The six were among the thousands who gathered on November 22 and 23, 2008 outside the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia to demand a change in U.S. policy towards Latin America and the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC.
The SOA 6 spoke out clearly and powerfully in court. They made a compelling case for the closure of the school and creation of a culture of justice and peace, where there is no place for the SOA mindset that promotes military "solutions" to social and economic problems. The six stood up for all of us working for a more just world.
One of the SOA 6 includes Sister Diane Pinchot, OSU (see picture above). Pinchot is a teacher and member of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland. A friend of hers, Sister Dorothy Kazel, was raped and murdered by soldiers in El Salvador who were trained at the SOA. "Dorothy's death and the thousands of other deaths and disappearances taught us nothing, if today the same U.S. government is still training soldiers the skills of torture and war," said Sister Diane.
To learn more about the SOA 6 and to take action, visit School of the Americas Watch's website.
- Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator