By Ed and Marilyn Lorenz
On Friday, Nov. 22, Ed and Marilyn Lorenz went to Columbus Georgia with five students from the Amnesty International chapter at Alma College to participate in the School of the Americas (SOA) Watch protests at the gates of Ft. Benning. They traveled on an United Auto Workers bus from Detroit, arriving in Georgia on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 23. On Saturday they participated in events at the Gates of Ft. Benning. They also met member of Pax Cristi from Washington, D.C.
The number of young people at the events was especially encouraging. There were groups from Warren Williams College in North Carolina, Loras College in Dubuque, The College of St. Thomas and St. Catherine’s in the Twin Cities, Holy Names College in California, and Goshen in Indiana. There were high school students that we met from as far as California and Missouri. Of course, there also were the United Auto Worker members.
On Saturday evening there were a number – almost too many – of great presentations and films. John Dear, S.J. gave a great talk on living the work of peace. There were films on torture, cooperative worker enterprises and women and the military.
On Sunday we returned to the gates of Ft. Benning for the formal ceremonies recalling the martyrs of the Americas, often killed by people trained at the School of the Americas. As we went to Ft. Benning, one of the UAW members led us in prayer, including for the soldiers put in the terrible position of following orders and killing people of good will.
Sunday was an extremely cold day for Georgia, with highs in the 40’s and a strong wind from the North. We were glad to return to the warmth of the bus, with a diverse group of defenders of peace and human rights – workers, students, younger kids of UAW members, and some of us not so young. We arrived back at Solidarity House in Detroit at 5:30 a.m. on Monday. Our Alma group then drove two and half hours back to campus, arriving about 8;00 a.m., shortly before two students had 8:30 classes.
The experience, especially affirmed for us how we need to focus on finding and supporting youth to take up the challenge of building peace and justice.
Marilyn and ed