My name is Keish Kim, I am 20 years old and I am a DREAMer. I'm part of the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA). We strongly believe that it is unjust to prevent academically-qualified, knowledge-hungry students from receiving higher education, based on a discriminating 9-digit identity system. The November Vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, represents more than the fight against the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC) and the unjust U.S. militarization of the Americas. It also represents the struggles of the voiceless. Together with GUYA, I am going to travel to the protest from November 18-20, 2011, not only to empower immigrant youth but also to raise awareness for human rights and to stand up for justice. We recognize the SOA/ WHINSEC and the unjust immigration policies as being parts of the same racist system of violence and control. Now more than ever, we must join together in our fight to create a better world. I am Undocumented, Unafraid, Unashamed, and Unapologetic of the sacrifices my parents made to give me a better future.
I hope that you will join me at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia in November.
Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance
The Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA) and School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) have released the following joint statement:
November 18-20, 2011: Come to Georgia to Stand Up for Justice for Immigrants and Shut Down the School of the Americas.
We, the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA) and School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) are engaged in building grassroots power and popular resistance to U.S. government policies that violate human rights and promote racism and violence. We are mobilizing thousands of people to hold our government accountable. Our struggles are interconnected and we organize in solidarity with each other.
In July 2011, the state of Georgia enacted HB87, a racist anti-immigrant law that targets immigrant communities and others perceived to be "foreign." The legislation will inevitably increase racial profiling and other forms of discrimination in Georgia. The School of the Americas (SOA) is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. The SOA has trained over 67,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics.
We understand that many immigrants to the United States are victims of U.S.-sponsored military training and atrocities in Latin America. In our fight to end HB87 and all other racist, xenophobic & anti-immigrant laws, and to close the School of the Americas and end U.S. militarization in the Americas, we continue to work towards a world that is free of suffering and violence. We recognize the SOA and the unjust immigration policies as being parts of the same racist system of violence and domination. Now more than ever, we must be joined together in our fight to create a better world.
Many immigrants that come to the United States from Latin America are victims of SOA graduates who carry out violence against civilian populations in their own countries. Right now in Colombia, paramilitary groups are terrorizing villages, which causes displacement and migration. Since the SOA-led coup in Honduras in 2009, thousands of Honduran farmers, students, LGBTQ activists, unionists and citizens have fled the violence unleashed in their country. But this is hardly a new phenomenon. In the 1980s, during the civil wars in Central America, military and paramilitary groups uprooted people from their homes, and many fled to the United States. Many uprooted immigrants are now the target of death squads – some, like the Zetas drug cartel, having previously received training at the SOA – as they make their way north.
We will not be silence when the immigrant community in the U.S. is under attack. We will not be silent when the Pentagon operates training camps where soldiers are taught to repress their own people.
The Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA) is the first undocumented youth-led group in the state of Georgia. We seek dignity and justice for the Immigrant Community in the state of GA. We at GUYA believe no human being is illegal. We are certain every human being has the right to education and the pursuit to lead a better life, without being targeted due to sexual orientation, religion, skin color, nationality, race... or immigration status. GUYA's mission is to fight to make this a reality by organizing the community; unifying youth and their families, the students and the heads-of-households, the undocumented, the allies, anyone and everyone who wants to join the movement, to come together and fight back. We commit ourselves to fight back against the hateful, racist, misguided legislation and rhetoric being crafted in state legislatures, especially in Georgia.
SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement with the goal to expose and close the School of the Americas/ WHINSEC and to resist the oppressive policies and systems that it represents. We act in solidarity with our Latin American sisters and brothers and all those around the world whose lives are impacted by these policies, as one part of an international struggle for human rights and global justice.
We are united in building a world in which the values of justice, cooperation, respect for the earth, and genuine democracy are upheld. To this end we will struggle together against HB87 and the School of the Americas during the November Mobilization in Georgia.
November Mobilization Highlights:
Friday, November 18, 2011
10am - 12noon: Vigil at the Stewart Detention Center: No one is Illegal - Justice for Immigrants
The Stewart Detention Center is a for-profit immigrant detention, housing of over 1,750 men primarily from Latin America. The Stewart Detention Center and its parent corporation, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), has been the subject of scrutiny for many years as a growing number of violations of human rights and detention standards at their for-profit prisons across the nation come to light.
Workshops, trainings and the Dreams of Peace Benefit Concert at the Columbus Convention Center.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
11:30am-4pm: Rally at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia
Fort Benning is the home of the School of the Americas. Thousands of solidarity activists, torture survivors, union-workers, people of faith, students, immigrants, veterans and others will gather at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia to take a stand for justice, to close the SOA and to resist the U.S. militarization of the Americas. Musicians and speakers from Haiti, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, and other places will address the reality of oppressive U.S. policies.
Workshops, trainings and the Canta mi pueblo! Concert at the Columbus Convention Center.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
7:45am: Veterans March to the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia (the November Vigil and the national Veterans for Peace Convention are the largest annual gatherings of anti-war veterans in the United States.)
8:45am - 2pm: Vigil to commemorate the martyrs and nonviolent direct action.
Solemn funeral procession to the gates, followed by the puppetista pageant. Jimena Paz will travel to the vigil from Honduras, where SOA graduates overthrew the democratically-elected government and are engaged in a repression campaign against members of the social movements. Jimena will speak out for many of her friends that she has lost to the repression, and about her work as part of the Resistance in Honduras.
History is made by movements - mass movements of people who organize themselves to struggle for a better world. Join us at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia
The November Vigil couldn't happen without you. Please contribute today: www.SOAW.org/donate
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