Inauguration Bleachers

From the Archive

MAY 23, 2014 – Global Day of Action to Close Guantánamo

Not Another Broken Promise! Not Another Day in Guantánamo!

On May 23rd of last year, President Obama again promised to close the detention facility at Guantánamo.  His pledge came in response to the mass hunger strike by men protesting their indefinite detention and to the renewed, global condemnation of the prison.  One year later, far too little has changed: few detained men have left the prison and hunger strikes and forced feeding continue. Join us in Washington DC, across the US, and around the world to urge President Obama and Congress to end indefinite detention and close the detention facility at Guantánamo.

So far, demonstrations, fasts, and vigils are planned in Chicago, Raleigh, New York City, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Buffalo, and Boston. Click here for a toolkit to plan your own action. Please email if you are planning or hoping to plan an action in your community.

The May 23rd Day of Action is being coordinated by Witness Against Torture in collaboration with:

  • Amnesty International
  • The Center for Constitutional Rights
  • Code Pink
  • Blue Lantern Project
  • London Guantánamo Campaign
  • No More Guantánamos
  • The Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition,
  • World Can’t Wait
  • The National Religious Campaign Against Torture
  • Veterans for Peace
  • September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
  • Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
  • Project Peace, Tiffin Area Pax Christi, and People for Peace & Justice Sandusky County
  • Free Omar Khadr Now
  • The Justice Campaign
  • Metro New York Religious Campaign Against Torture
  • north Carolina stop torture now
  • The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
  • Pax Christi Metro New York
  • AmnestyUSA/OK/Group #238
  • veterans for Peace
  • Hartford Catholic Worker
  • Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace
  • Chicago Benedictines for Peace
  • Afghan YP Volunteers
  • Tackling Torture at the Top!
  • Committee of Women Against Military Madness
  • Socialist Party USA’s Anti-Imperialism Committee
  • School of the Americas Watch
  • Hilton Head for Peace
  • Northern NJ Socialist Party

Contact  if your organization would like to sign-on as an endorser.

Find the Facebook event listing here.

Click here to read Witness Against Torture’s full Call To Action.


(click here to read the full report from the retreat)

Jonah House filled up over the course of Thursday, March 21 as friends and fellow activists flew, drove, bused, and trained into Baltimore for our second annual strategic planning retreat.

We reflected on the lives of the men in Guantanamo, our own lives, and our collective commitment to acting on behalf of those who remain detained.

We committed, in 2014/2015:

  1. To organize a Global Day of Action to Close Guantánamo and End US Torture on May 23, 2014.
  2.  To participate in Torture Survivor Awareness Month activities in Washington DC from June26th thru the 30th. This will include meetings to talk more about WAT.
  3. To mobilize around lawsuits that are currently challenging forced-feeding in Guantanamo &hold President Obama and the Guantanamo envoys in the State Department and Pentagon to their promise(s) — more info to come soon
  4. To come together on and around January 11th, 2015.

Finally, we formed a WAT Organizing Team (See description below).

What is the WAT Organizing Team?

At the retreat, we decided that we want a new structure so that WAT can mobilize actions and respond to developments in Guantánamo with greater frequency, reach, and power.  To make this happen, we set up an Organizing Team, compromising members from different regions and with diverse skill sets.

Nine volunteers — Jerica, Matt, Beth B, Marie, Chrissy, Palina, Beth A, Chris K, and Jeremy — agreed to join the team.

Some of the core tasks of the Organizing Team are: to think of strategic ways — year round — that WAT can serve its goals of closing Guantánamo and ending torture; to mobilize people and other resources to take effective action; to devise rapid responses to particular crises at Guantanamo and shifts in the political landscape; and to build and maintain relationships with allies.

Equally important, the Organizing Team exists to help WAT members nationwide bring their own actions and campaigns to fruition by directing resources to them and providing, as needed, assistance with particular tasks (eg, media work, demo design, getting materials onto our Website and into our social media).  The Organizing Team, that is, works in two directions: it directs energy out to WAT nationwide; and it receives ideas, input, and instruction from WAT members everywhere to facilitate local action.

The Team will meet face-to-face again in June, and we will assess as a larger group how it is working, as well as its composition, in January of next year.


We are inviting you to join WAT’s Friday Fast for Justice.  If you join the fast, we would ask you to:

  • Fast on Friday, in any form you like;
  • Make three phone calls to (1) the White House to urge President Obama to declassify the executive summary and major findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture swiftly and in their entirety,  as well as to fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo: 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414 ; (2) to Cliff Sloan at the State Department to insist he work more quickly to shut the doors and empty the cells of the prison. Let him know that you are disappointed that since President Obama’s speech last May, only 12 men have been released:  202-647-4000;  and (3) to U.S. Southern Command to decry the conditions at Guantanamo: 305-437-1213.  Talking points on behalf of Guantánamo prisoners: I am fasting for 24 hours in solidarity with the prisoners at Guantánamo, especially for those who are on hunger strike.  I am calling today out of concern for them and for the rest of the prisoners.  I am asking you to resume releasing the number of prisoners on hunger strike and to stop the inhumane force-feeding of them.  Lastly, the U.S. must release those cleared for release and close Guantanamo.
  • Write to a prisoner at Guantánamo.  Choose a prisoner’s name off the list  at the Amnesty International website. There is also a sample letter that  can be downloaded and printed off here. The address to send the letter to is:

Detainee Name
Detainee ISN
Guantánamo Bay
P.O. Box 160
Washington, D.C. 20355
United States of America

If you are already participating in or are interested in participating in the Friday Fast forJustice, please sign up here.  You can commit to fasting on a specific Friday, on May 23rd, the Global Day of Action to Close Guantanamo and End U.S. Torture; weekly for a particular time period; until Guantánamo is closed; or whatever works for you.


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Post any pictures of your local activities to Flickr, and we will help spread the word on Tumblr.


Witness Against Torture is completely volunteer driven and run.  We have no paid staff, but do have expenses associated with our organizing work.  If you are able, please donate here.

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