Each year, Pax Christi USA members and friends gather on Friday night prior to the annual School of the Americas Vigil and Action in Columbus, GA. Our program this year will include prayer, music, inspiring speakers and more. The program is open to the general public and all are invited to attend. Information on this year’s gathering is below.

Pax Christi USA at the SOA: Resisting Militarization of our Youth—from Central America to Ferguson

WHEN: Friday evening, November 21, 2014 from 6 to 7:30pm

WHERE: The Columbus Convention Center, Room 205, 801 Front Avenue, Columbus, Georgia (seating is limited, please arrive early to guarantee a seat)

WHAT: Our gathering—25 years after the killing of the Jesuits and their co-worker in El Salvador—will incorporate prayer, speakers (including Honduran Jesuit Ismael Moreno and Tony Neal, President/CEO of Educational Equity Consultants in St. Louis), music and action as we focus on the resistance of faith-filled people who are challenging the militarization of Central America and cities like Ferguson in the U.S.

In both Central and North America, we are witnessing a dramatic increase in the militarization of the police, army and security forces. Jesuit Father Moreno (Padre Melo) will speak on the structural violence driving unaccompanied children to the U.S.-Mexico border and how U.S. policy is strengthening heightened militarism in the region. Tony Neal will provide the national connection regarding the impact of police militarization on young people and communities of color in the U.S. including the racial injustice and militarization of protest in Ferguson and beyond. We believe that resistance, demonstrations and non-violent actions for justice are rising, deeply rooted in the Gospel mandate of peace with justice.


Rev. Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J., popularly known as Padre Melo, is a Jesuit priest and human rights activist in his native Honduras. He directs Radio Progreso (radio station) and E.R.I.C,  The Team for Reflection, Research and Communication, whose work encompasses: grassroots radio programming; training on human rights, community organizing, and empowerment; the formation of leadership committed to social change; and aiding migrant families.

Padre Melo’s broadcast station, Radio Progreso, shut down by the military around the time of the June 2009 coup, has been occupied several times since. During this same time, over 50 journalist and social commentators have been murdered in Honduras, and many more have been kidnapped, tortured, or suffered death threats.

In April 2014, one of the Radio Progreso team members, Carlos Mejia, was brutally murdered. In a press conference following the tragic event, Melo stated at a press conference that 16 ERIC/Radio Progeso employees, including Mejia, have received significant death threats since the 2009 Honduran coup.  Fr. Moreno has also previously testified before the U.S. Congress at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission regarding the human rights situation in Honduras and the fear he and his staff and others in the journalism sector experience.

Tony Neal is currently President/CEO of Educational Equity Consultants.  He served as Director of Southern Illinois University East St. Louis Charter School for eleven years. In addition to this full time position, Tony is adjunct professor for Webster University where he teaches in the Communications department.  He is also a senior partner with Educational Equity Consultants. Tony has served as faculty and trainer for numerous Dismantling Racism Institutes of the National Conference for Community and Justice and has trained for the Anti-Defamation League/ A World of Difference and for the Coro Midwestern Leadership Center.  In 1991, Tony received a United States Court Appointment to the Educational Monitoring Advisory Committee, St. Louis Desegregation Program. Canada.  Tony has presented at that International Principals’ conference in London, England and Toronto, Canada. Tony holds a B.A. degree from Morehouse College and a M.A. degree from Washington  University.  He is a 2000 graduate of the Focus St. Louis Leadership program, a 2003 graduate of the Harvard University Urban Principals’ Institute, a 2006 graduate of the Vanderbilt University/ Peabody College Summer Fellows program, and a 2007 graduate of the National School Leaders Network Facilitator’s  training at Wellesley College.  He currently is regional facilitator for the St. Louis Metropolitan School Leaders Network.  Tony is the proud parent of two wonderful children, Amber and Anthony II.A


Represent Pax Christi at the SOA! Remember to wear your Pax Christi t-shirts and buttons and to bring your Pax Christi banners. Pax Christi USA members will meet at 9am at the corner of Torch Hill Road and Ft. Benning Road (to the right when facing towards the gates of Ft. Benning) to march together in the procession on Sunday morning.

Click here to see highlights from last year’s event.

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