I first attended a protest at the School of the Americas in 1995 when about 500 of us gathered before the gates of Ft. Benning. Over the years, the gathering would swell into the tens of thousands, and Pax Christi USA was there year-in and year-out, hosting an annual event on Friday evening and organizing a number of other workshops and meetings, including several national convergences for students and young adults at nearby Koinonia Farms. For people of my generation, the action at the School of the Americas was the first place we committed civil disobedience, it was where we learned how US foreign policy ravaged and destabilized our neighbors to the south, and it became the gateway for us to become conscienticized on a whole host of issues–racism, torture, immigration, globalization, climate change and more–which we continue to confront today.
This weekend, we’re gathering again at the gates of Ft. Benning on the 30th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Jesuits and their co-workers at the University of Central America. Join us at the Bibb Event Center (3715 1st Avenue in Columbus) on SATURDAY evening, November 16th from 6-7:30 for “Solidarity, Resistance and Hope: The Spirituality of Nonviolence Lived Out in the Central American Martyrs and Struggles for Justice Today”. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you there!
I also want to take a moment to say a special word of thanks to Jean Stokan and Scott Wright, longtime Pax Christi USA leaders who have shepherded the process for preparing our program at the SOA. And I hope you’ll join me in offering them our congratulations on receiving the 2019 CRISPAZ Peace Award last night at a special ceremony held at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Read more about the honor that Jean and Scott received here and share your thanks in person for the deep work they’ve done when you join us (and them!) this weekend in Columbus.
Lastly, I also want to encourage you to look ahead to a worldwide assembly of the Pax Christi International network taking place in Hiroshima, Japan in May. I’m excited to know that a small group of Pax Christi USA members are already making their plans to attend and I hope others will consider going as well. It’ll mark the 75th anniversary of Pax Christi International as well as the 75th remembrance of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States. As citizens of the nation responsible for those atrocities, Pax Christi USA will bring with us a special message of repentance and a commitment to nuclear disarmament in our world today. You can find more information at this link.
Thanks as always for all you do to support Pax Christi USA’s work and for your witness to peace.