Veterans for Peace Chapter 27 (VFP) has been going to the School of the Americas Vigil since 1993. In 1994 they began chartering busses and inviting others to join them in working peacefully and non-violently to close the School of the Americas (http://www.soawatch.org/).
In the early years VFP chartered a school bus. Today (November 18, 2011) a Minnesota Coaches bus with room for 48 riders pulled up to the St. Stephen’s school parking lot in Minneapolis at 7:15 a.m. to begin the 2011 SOA Vigil trip.
I have been participating in the “send off the bus” activities for about seven years. This year was very different! Jim Steinhagen, VFP told me that there would be 46 people going on the bus. That four St. Joseph Workers (pictured l-r: Sheila Otto; Catholic Charities, Opportunity Center Branch III; Norzin Waleag, SCU Center for Work and Learning; Donna Bonicatto, St. Stephen Human Services, Street Outreach; Elizabeth Ihde, Learning in Style) are again participating is no surprise, the St. Joseph Worker Program has a long-standing committment to the SOA Vigil. The wonderful shift is that this year 11 students from the College of St. Benedict, Collegeville are participating and the bus will stop in Rochester to pick up another 13 students from St. Mary’s University in Winona!
As I watched the young women arrive with their pillows and comfy clothes, I was aware that things are very different this year. More than half of the participants on the bus this year are young adults. This kind of involvement is reminiscent of the engagement and activism I witnessed in the 1960’s. And it is VERY exciting to see it happening again today!
Brigid McDonald, CSJ, Kate McDonald, CSJ, Rita Foster, CSJ, Joan Wittman, Consociate, Joanne Tromiczak-Neid, Justice Coordinator and Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate were among the crowd sending them off. Brigid led the group in a song followed by a time of silence. Joanne gave each person present a prayer folder and I led the prayer:
We invite you to join us in praying this prayer, November 18 – 20, when people of all ages from across the United States, including a bus of students from St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas, are traveling to Fort Benning, Georgia to participate in the 2011 Vigil. CLOSE THE SOA!
Posted by: Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate
St. Stephen’s Human Services ending homelessness, zAmya Theater is presenting The Reality Roadshow: Who Wants to be a Homeless Millionaire this week at various locations in Minneapolis. The play bill describes this play as, A reality game show with a million dollar prize! With humor, drama and a song and a dance or two, we’re cracking open the conversation that starts with real stories from homeless folks, but also speaks to how the current economy affects all of us.
The Justice Office attended this excellent production on Wednesday, November 16 at 10:00 a.m.. at Catholic Charities Opportunity Center. Two more performances remain in this series:
Wednesday, November 17, 7:30 at Wesley United Methodist Church, 101 East Grant Street, Minneapolis (ASL Interpretation) and Friday, November 18, 7:30 at Pillsbury House Theatre, 3501 Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis.
Some quotes from the play:
1/3 of homeless are under age 12
My daughter is seven and she has never had her own bed much less a bedroom
Lack of jobs and lack of transportation and lack of health care = homelessness
Marginalized, institutionalized, streetified, victimized
Hey, are you really faking being homeless?
The voice of addiction states it is only ME keeping YOU from being ALL alone
I’m not homeless. I am residentially displaced.
Winter is the hardest. People really freeze to death.
The system is everything about profits!
My mom passed through foster homes. She put me in foster homes. I got no mom
The American dream is just slippin’ away, everyone is afraid of being homeless
Closing theme: We need to change the rules, we need to unify, realize, mobilize… … …
For more information http://www.ststephensmpls.org/ and click on 2011 zAmya Reality Road Show to read more about this incredible experience that is told in the stories of the homeless by actors, singers some of whom have been or are homeless.
“Acknowledge” by Erika Hiller
11th Day Prayer for Peace: Armistice Day 11/11/11 May Peace Prevail on Earth
Presentation of our Lady Chapel, 1890 Randolph Ave, St. Paul
Friday, November 11 at 6:30pm
Ringing of the Bells by Veterans for Peace Chapter 27
Reflection: Erika Hiller, US Army, Desert Storm
Premiere Showing of 11/11/11 Canvases of Erika Hiller
Arrive early to experience her canvases
Prepared by Veterans for Peace Chapter 27 and the Justice Commission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates