School of the Americas Rally
The School of the Americas Rally is a peace and social justice protest held annually during the weekend before Thanksgiving. The School of the Americas/WHINSEC is located in Ft. Benning, Georgia and has had significant influence in military dictatorships, assassinations and civilian violence in Latin America. The SOA Rally consists of over 20,000 concerned citizens who form at the gates of the military base to call for the closing of the institution. The diverse group of protesters, many of whom come from a faith community, hold a funeral vigil in order to remember the thousands who have died at the hands of SOA graduates. Students, clergy, people old and young join the multitude of voices saying 'Presente', we are present in solidarity with the victims of the SOA. While the contingency from Augustana drives down to Georgia, some of the rally attendees like Carrie Newcomer, a singer/songwriter, Sister Helen Prejean, activist/author of Dead Man Walking, and Father John Dear, peace activist have spoken on campus in recent years.