As we have written in the past, there was a lively Central American Solidarity movement in Grand Rapids in the 1980s that lasted well into the 1990s.
Those who organized in the 1980s around the US sponsored counter-insurgency wars in Central America, used a variety of tactics, such as public forums, newsletters, sponsoring speakers from Central America, marches, financial support for popular movement in Central America, sit ins and other forms of civil disobedience.
The photo featured here is from the early 1980s, where every Wednesday activists would gather on the old Monroe Mall to protest US policy in Central America. In this photo, the focus was on El Salvador, which in the 1980s, was the recipient of $1.5 million a day of US military aid. This military aid supported what many people at the time referred to as a “death squad government” in El Salvador.
Featured in this photo are, from left to right: Barb Lester, Matt Goodheart, Walter Bergman (seated in Wheelchair), unidentified man, Tim Peiri and Sister Helen LaValley.