Monday, November 24, 2014

SOA Watch Vigil: Witness to Justice in Solidarity with our Latin American Sisters and Brothers, Who Were Victims of Brutality from Graduates of the School of the Americas

The crosses give the names and sometimes the age and country of our Latin American sisters and brothers who are the victims of the brutality of the graduates of the School of the Americas and multi-national global corporations.
On Sunday morning for the memorial funeral procession we choose a cross to raise as their names and sometimes ages are sung in a litany of remembrance. Raising our crosses we chant "Presente"

ARCWP Women Priests: Olga Lucia Alvarez, Deacon, Rita Lucey, and Janice Sevre Duszynska

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left to right: Roman Catholic Women Priests; Katy Zatsick, Diane Dougherty, Barbara Zeman and Kay Akers, support member ARCWP

Then we marched three miles to the Stewart Detention Center which houses 1,700 people. 

Corrections Corporations of America (CCA) is the largest for-profit prison company in the U.S. CCA is the owner of the Stewart Detention Center, which is the largest immigrant prison in the country. The fact that CCA and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) warehouse almost 2,000 men in Stewart simply for seeking a better life for themselves and their families is infuriating enough. That they do so for profit is immoral. But that is only the tip of the iceberg of the injustice occurring in Lumpkin and other private and public immigrant prisons across the country.

"Our movement is also connected to this big immigration issue. Stewart Detention Center is the largest detention center for the undocumented in the U.S. for profit about 2,000 undocumented there many of them from Latin America," Bourgeois says.

Stewart detainees are, by all accounts other than those of ICE and CCA, kept in inhumane conditions. Georgia Detention Watch (GDW) is the local coalition that organizes the Stewart Detention Vigil. According to Everitt Howe, a member of GDW, "The severity of the conditions in the facility strikes everyone who enters. We know we only see a fraction of what goes on inside." This is not a coincidence in the private prison industry. CCA makes more money by cutting on detainee medical services, food, amenities, recreation, as well as employee training and benefits. Not only does CCA profit from incarcerating migrants, but it also profits by forcing them to endure through horrendous conditions such as those inside Stewart.

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