Josie Setzler wants people to know the United States has a moral and legal obligation to close the U.S. Army prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A member of St. Joseph Parish in Fremont, Ohio, 36 miles southeast of Toledo, Setzler took her concerns to the public once more May 23 during a global day of action to urge President Barack Obama to make good on his pledge to close the prison.
She helped coordinate an hour-long vigil during what amounts to the afternoon rush hour in the nearby town of Tiffin.
Setzler, 60, said she believes that releasing the 154 men being held, nearly all of whom have never been charged with a crime, is long overdue. Records show 76 men have been cleared for release, but remain in detention.
“The Guantanamo issue has been a hard one to keep going right now because people think it’s been resolved,” Setzler said.
The event, coordinated by Tiffin Area Pax Christi, Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin and local peace and justice organizations, was among demonstrations, prayer vigils and educational events in 38 U.S. communities and six cities around the world that focused on Obama’s pledge to close the prison during a speech at the National Defense University May 23, 2013.
Events were organized by Witness Against Torture, which has called for the prison’s closing since 2005.
In Tiffin, Setzler and her friends held large letters spelling out “Close Guantanamo.” A couple of people wore bright orange jumpsuits similar to those worn by the detainees.
“Our messages are going to be very simple. First of all it brings the subject up again. But it also lets people know it’s important to take a stand,” she said.
“It also helps people passing by to have the courage of their convictions as well.”