ISN Staff Report
4/24/13 – School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) announced yesterday that a federal district court judge has ordered the Pentagon to release the names of trainees at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) that had previously been withheld. SOA Watch is a national advocacy organization working to close the WHINSEC, formerly known as the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA). Many members of the Ignatian family have been advocating in partnership with SOAWATCH for years, advocating for cuts in funding to the SOA/WHINSEC, greater transparency, and ultimately its closing.
via SOA WATCH Press Release:
(4/23/13) Oakland, CA – In a rare reflection of judicial independence, United States District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton from the Northern District of California ordered the Pentagon to release the names of who trains and teaches at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC), a U.S. military training school for Latin American soldiers that has been connected to torturers, death squads and military dictators throughout the Americas. Human rights activists had taken the U.S. government to court over its refusal to release the information, and won.
Read the court ruling here: SOAW.org/judgment
From 1997-2009, the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice was held in Columbus, Georgia, in conjunction with an annual vigil to call attention to human rights abuses related to the SOA/WHINSEC. The Teach-In moved to Washington, D.C. in 2010 to address broader social justice issues and more intentionally integrate legislative advocacy. Legislation to close SOA/WHINSEC has been included in Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice Advocacy Day priorities in past years as a part of a larger call for U.S. policy that respects the human rights of people throughout Latin America, especially in violence plagued countries like Colombia and Honduras.
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.