We Are Guahan determined to talk to President - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

We Are Guahan determined to talk to President

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Although full details haven't been revealed yet as to when and where and what time President Barack Obama will speak to the public when he visits the island next Monday, the We Are Guahan organization plans get their message across to the commander in chief one way or another.

We Are Guahan is hopeful they'll get an opportunity to explain their concerns about the impending military buildup during Obama's brief visit to Guam next week.  While details about the president's public event haven't been released, Melvin Won Pat Borja says if Obama doesn't meet with residents off-base, it will send a strong message to island residents.

"If he decides not to address the public I think that the people of Guam need to take a long hard look at our relationship with the United States and ask yourselves if we really are a priority," he said.

Last week the organization submitted a petition signed by more than 11,000 residents requesting that Obama meet with the people of Guam and not just military personnel.  Won Pat Borja says it's imperative that the president understands that island residents are the ones that will have to live through the military buildup. The organization has gained notoriety over the last several months speaking and hosting several events to spread awareness and their concerns about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement regarding the military buildup.

To coincide with the president's visit, Monday night the group will hold a peaceful rally along Marine Corps Drive in the hopes President Obama will get their message: we are here.  "We will be on government easement, and so it'll be completely non-violent," he said.  "We're not out there to cause any trouble or to make a scene. We're strictly there to show presence to let the president know that you may be on-base and you may be speaking to the servicemen and women - and that's all fine and good, but the people of Guam are here. We are here.  We're waiting outside the gates. We're waiting to hear from you. We're waiting for you to hear from us and understand the true climate of the island what we're concerned about."

We Are Guahan is encouraging island residents not to be passive and let outside parties dictate the territory's future and participate in the human chain.  "This is going to be a family event.  We're trying to bring people out from all walks of life, anyone who has any stake in this issue we want them there.  We want to show the nation and we want to show the president that we really do care about the fate of our island the future of our island," he said.

Anyone interested in joining the alcohol-free event is asked to wear white, and bring flashlights, glo-sticks and other non-flammable devices. The We Are Guahan group plans to assemble at 6:30 with the location to be announced based on further information that will be provided on the White House regarding the president's public event.

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