Fort Benning, Ga. to protest the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests and their two workers.
in El Salvador. The perpetrators of this crime were alleged to be trained at the School of Americas. For
more than two decades the School of Americas Watch, a national organization, has begun a campaign to
close the military school. The School Of Americas Watch annual protest coincides with the anniversary of
the death of the six Jesuit priests.e group of musicians that support the SOAW movement for many years. Photodner Pierre
her involvement in LUCAP. She said she was struck by the many young people engaged in the movement. “I
always want to advocate for the School of Americas Watch. I’ll continue to ask students to go in this
protest,” she said.
Bourgeois started School Of Americas Watch in a house near the gate of the US military school in Fort
half-dozen Latin American countries like Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua,
which withdrew their troops from this school.
Two decades after Bourgeois founded School Of Americas Watch, thousands of students, teachers and
human activists including lawyers from all over the world have joined the protest every year with one goal to
“Close the School of Americas.”
The School of Americas, which now goes by the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, is
known for training soldiers who have been responsible for killing people in their own countries. Loyola
University New Orleans celebrates the lives of the six Jesuits and other victims of some of the School Of
Americas allegedly trained military death squads every year through the “Martyrs Mass” in the peace quad.
The university planted six trees and named them after each of the six Jesuit priests.
The Rev. Bourgeois S.J., in a prayer to bless the protesters said, “May love and mercy go with you, may
you speak in solidarity with those who have been silent by death and repression.”
Bourgeois also believes that the voice of the School of Americas’ victims will be heard all over the American
“Through your witness, may their voice be heard, here at the School of Americas, in the White House, in the
halls of Congress and the heart of people all across the Americas,” he said.
This year, a delegation of the School Of Americas Watch movement met with President Barrack Obama’s
deputy national security adviser, Denis McDonough. Loyola’s Law Clinic director, Bill Quigley was among
the School Of Americas Watch delegates.
Quigley said McDonough told the delegation that he knows about the School Of Americas and people in his
family have been asking him to close this school for years.
“We thank his family and people he went to school with and the other folks. But it’s clear that this is just a
step of this journey we are on. We have to push him,” Quigley said to the protesters.
Quigley urged School Of America Watch supporters to keep the pressure on with hope that Obama’s
second administration may close the military school. “We are going to close the School of Americas,” said
Loyola students hope the School Of Americas will be closed one day, though they do not know when and
how long it will take. They also know their actions to support the School Of Americas Watch movement
Biology senior Carissa Marston, who attended the protest for the first time, said she will use her experience
in her upcoming presentation for her Latin American class and continue to advocate for the closing of the
School of Americas.
“I think I have more to contribute as far as the conversation about militarism and what SOA actually does
and why it should be closed,” she said. LUCAP adviser, Joseph Deegan said students had to pay a $25 fee
this year and special funding was available for those who could not afford to pay. Deegan said LUCAP
financed this trip through a donation from Kevin Poorman, who currently serves as a chair on the Board of
The School of Americas Watch protestors have made a promise that has become their slogan: “We will be
there until this school is closed.”
Mass communication senior and The Maroon Photo Editor Wadner Pierre traveled with LUCAP
to SOA Watch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org