What would you do for an issue you believed in? Protest in public? Go to jail? Dr. Janet Gottschalk, visiting professor of nursing at Texas A&M International University, did both in April in order to bring attention to Third World debt.
Dr. Gottschalk, a Catholic nun, was one of seven religious protesters arrested last month for unlawful entry at the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, D.C.
She explained the arrest occurred during an annual Good Friday pilgrimage through Washington organized by the Religious Working Group, a faith-based organization dedicated to issues of global economic justice.
"In 1996, the Religious Working Group started a yearly procession modeled after Jesus' journey to crucifixion. We begin from the Capitol to IMF headquarters, with stops at 12 other sites of major economic influence to pray for victims of economic injustice," said Gottschalk.
She added that while this is the first year members of the group have been jailed, the arrests "extend and intensify the prayer that we were doing."
This year's procession included stops for prayerful protest at the Office of Central Intelligence Agency, the Office of the US Trade Representative, and the World Bank.
Gottschalk, joined by over 100 fellow protesters, solemnly walked to each stop carrying dozens of paper chains and white wooden crosses bearing the names of Third World countries and the amounts of foreign debts. After the three hour walk, they deposited the chains and crosses at the main entrance of the IMF and sang for almost two hours while Gottschalk and six others who blocked the entrance waited to be taken away by police.
Dr. Gottschalk is an international known human rights activist who has participated in events around the world, from Washington, D.C. to Beijing, China.
Last year, she presented a talk at A&M International on the effects of low intensity warfare on the women in the strife-torn Mexican state of Chiapas.
For more information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at 326-2180. University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.