School of Americas Protest: Day 1

Editors’ Note: Theresa Lauer is a guest blogger for Young Women & Catholicism, reflecting on her experience at the annual School of the Americas protest, where 12,000 people gathered in Fort Benning, Georgia, this past weekend.

How would my life be different if I did not live in fear? I claim this as my mantra for the weekend. How would my life be different if I was not afraid of anything? What would my relationships be like? Would I love more? Love better? Would I feel freer to participate in things that make me feel alive?

Today as I walk through the rally at Fort Benning, I feel overwhelmed by all the bustling people, pressing issues, clashing sounds and array of faces. Some faces look familiar. There is the dynamic man who organizes the puppetistas every year. There is the gray-haired woman who led the Chilean delegation. There is the same radical man who is passing our pamphlets on being vegan. Some faces remain unknown. Yet, perhaps that is why I am here. Again. To name those who have suffered in our name. To name those who must be held accountable for their actions. After all, I am in the position to do so when so many others are not for fear of torture or death. I do not live in the same fear as they do, and although this is its own injustice, I cannot make sense of it today. It is too much for me to understand. So as my mantra repeats inside my head, I decide that I will be here today in fullness. I will stand confident and strong. I will give those whom I am representing a good witness. Today, I will not live in fear.

A Milwaukee native, she is in her third year at Marquette University studying Psychology, Studio Arts and Spanish. This was her third time traveling to Fort Benning, Georgia to participate in the vigil and has been active in the movement to close the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) for the past few years. She loves being surrounded by art, music and creativity- all good things in life.


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