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Students To Converge on the SOA

This November, members of the Berea College community will join thousands from across the nation to call for the closure of the School of the Americas (SOA), a school many say is a combat-training facility for Latin American security personnel located at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Commonly known as the School of the Americas, it's name was changed in 2001 to Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

The School of the Americas is located in Ft. Benning, GA.

CELTS, the Campus Christian Center, Berea’s Coalition, and HEAL will sponsor vehicles to travel to Georgia on November 18. Last November, 16,000 people gathered at the gates of Ft. Benning to call for the closure of the school.

Berea College students have been attending the protest for the past seven years. Lisa Miller, a sophomore who is helping to organize the trip, commented, "One of my favorite events is hearing Father Roy Bourgeois speak. His message is always one of hope and determination. He founded the SOA Watch, which was largely a grassroots movement. After hearing him speak, I'm left feeling even more inspired." She went on to say that "Berea attends the annual protest to send the message to congress and America that we cannot allow human rights abuses in Latin America to occur, especially when America is responsible for training the soldiers who commit such vicious acts. We hope to raise awareness about human rights issues and globalization. By going to the vigil, we show that we support non-violent action."

According to the School of the Americas Watch We site, the organization is "a nonviolent grassroots movement that works through creative protest and resistance, legislative and media work to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America, to close the SOA/WHINSEC and to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy that institutions like the SOA represent."

For more information, please contact Lisa Miller at Lisa_miller@berea.edu

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