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November 17, 2000

Sponsored by the Student Activist Union (SAU) 28 Vassar students joined some 10,000 protestors at Fort Benning in Georgia to protest the School of the Americas (SOA), a training program for soldiers from the armies of several Latin America countries. Founded in 1990 after a Congressional inquiry determined that the massacre in El Salvador in 1989 of six Jesuit priests along with a co-worker and her teenage daughter had been carried out by troops trained at the SOA, an organization called SOA Watch staged annual protests, drawing participants from across the country. “These priests,” protestor Peter Owens ’03 told The Miscellany News, “stood up against military tyranny, as we do, and their martyrdom is what the protest is shaped around.”

“For me,” Owens said, “the most amazing thing about the SOA protest is the diversity and sheer numbers of people who attend…. I felt like is was most important to be there, make my voice heard, and add one more person to the already massive resistance.” “I think everyone who went,” added Evan White ’03, one of the trip’s organizers, “felt that is was a very valuable experience. Although this happens every year it is a really powerful experience…. There were old nuns and younger protesters that came together to say that the SOA can’t be allowed in their names, fund by their tax dollars.”

The Miscellany News

The Years