Spring 2008 Issue

Taking a Stand

Four Barry University students, three Adrian Dominican Sisters and a Southern Dominican Province Brother traveled to Ft. Benning in Columbus, Georgia, last November to take part in the annual protest to demand the closing of the School of the Americas.

More than 25,000 took part in the two-day protest.

The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers. Many claim the school is responsible for the execution and disappearance of thousands throughout Latin America. Barry students Aiesha S. Spires, Ebony Fat, Emmanuel Alonso, and Krystal Birdsong were joined on the trip by Sisters Jean Kathleen Comiskey, OP, Margaret Lane, OP, Arlene Scott, OP, and Brother Fernando E. Sorolla-Delgado, OP.

During their two days at Ft. Benning, protestors listened to firsthand accounts of other demonstrators who were detained and incarcerated for walking onto the military base in peaceful protest, and attended a liturgical celebration as a prelude to the vigil. They also participated in a mock funeral procession that included reading the names of thousands of people allegedly killed by military personnel who have graduated from the School of the Americas.

“The many activities that have occurred have impacted the way we as a society see and experience the need for the closing of this institution, which is responsible for so many atrocities and suffering,” said Brother Fernando E. Sorolla-Delgado, OP, a campus minister at Barry.

Each year the protest of the School of the Americas draws thousands of students, members of civil organizations, social activists and other individuals from around the world. During the march protesting the school, thousands could be heard shouting “No mas,” which is Latin for “no more.”