anti-war, Prayer, Prison Industrial Complex, Scripture

my prayer for ferguson, brooklyn, and the school of the americas watch

This weekend, a group of students from Union Theological Seminary and myself travelled to Columbus, GA. We gathered with over 1,000 others to protest for the closing of the School of the Americas (SOA). For nearly 70 years, the SOA has trained soldiers in South and Central America in starting coups, mass murdering los campesinos (poor folk and farmers), and killing political and religious leaders (Allende, Che, Oscar Romero). All of this filters through the ideology of anticommunist propaganda. Thousands of people, named and unnamed, have been killed in the name of freedom and democracy. They have been killed because the powerful want to stay powerful and poor lives do not matter.

As the US military teaches oppressive tactics to the South Hemisphere, we enact it on our own soil by killing black women and men. Law enforcement use their power to rule over communities and, more often than not, get away with it. They get away with tearing lives apart with a modern day lynching. For the killings of Michael Brown, Akai Kareem Gurley, and Shantel Davis, we must continue to cry out for justice. Because unless there is justice for Brown, Davis, and Gurley, there won’t be justice for us all.

justice for mike

My prayer is simply that we use our legs to protest to show our government and police officers that they are unjust in how they treat people of color in the US and around the world. Black lives matter! Brown lives matter!

My prayer is that we use our words to encourage one another. Movements die quickly when their members fight over petty differences.

My prayer is that we use our hands. With one hand, we care about the immediate needs of our neighborhoods and communities. You can’t end global poverty without first knowing and lending a hand at local shelters, soup kitchens, and Catholic Workers. With the other hand, to learn, lead discussions, and think globally about racism, sexism, ableism, etc.

Lastly, my prayer is that we use our hearts to connect with one another. In many movements, the key to being in the in-crowd is to know as much as you can about the area of interest. What if we not only focused on knowledge (How does memorizing statistics on NYC poverty help the person sleeping on the street?), but found empathetic ways to connect with one another.

Let us continue to fight against police brutality.

Fight against racism in the US.

Fight against groups that hinder our causes: the KKK, fascist and racist policies.

Fight for all people to have a decent chance at life.


Christainity, Justice, Liberation Theology

shut down the school of the americas!

Tomorrow morning, me and a group of 11 others will leave from Union Theological Seminary to Fort Benning, Georgia to protest the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation ((WHINSEC) previously known as the School of the Americas). This is a US Army training facility for military persons from South and Central America. They are taught the importance of democracy and how to throw a coup if the government of their countries are Marxist or Socialist (or really anything that the US cannot control). WHINSEC’s two major accomplishments (certainly devastating) was the Honduran coup in 2009, which military leaders were trained by WHINSEC.  And the Chilean coup and murder of the democratically-elected socialist Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973.

I came to Union because I wanted to be flooded by liberation theology. Using the experience of the oppressed and the love and power of God to free them is my ultimate concern (to use a Tillichian). So when I read this answer on an archived website by a School of America’s spokesperson in 1999 to the question “Why the controversy over the School?” I flipped.

According to leaders of the opposition movement, the controversy is not limited to the School nor its graduates; but rather with U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. In their view, that policy is responsible for all the violence and repression that characterized many countries during the Cold War. The School is the easiest target for those people who believe solutions lie in eliminating military or police forces in the region. Many of the critics supported Marxism — Liberation Theology — in Latin America — which was defeated with the assistance of the U.S. Army. In other words, their objective of achieving socialist revolutionary governments failed, and they now are going after one of the mechanisms which assisted in promoting and maintaining democratic ideals.

I protest to give voice to those who cannot be present. I protest for the silent voices of the dead. I protest because this program needs to be shut down and I want to make sure they know it. I protest because bodies move/change the world, even more so than ideology. I protest because I want that struggles for peace and justice rather than being dictated by US demands.

Pray for South and Central America that they will not be inflicted by US control any longer. Pray for those fighting for freedom and non-bourgeoisie democracy all over the world. Pray for those traveling to Georgia to protest. And pray that you too may know your neighbors better trying to love them as deeply as you can. Amen.