Irene Rodriguez, a journalist, showed a clip from the film “On the Line” that gave some background information on the SOA (School of the Americas) which included mentioning that hundreds of people have died at the hands of soldiers who were trained there. The demonstration at Fort Benning in November 2009 marked the 20th year of protesting and had around twenty thousand demonstrators. The yearly demonstrations include a funeral procession and naming of the victims of SOA soldiers in which “presente” is uttered after each name is read. Irene showed a clip she had filmed from November’s demonstration that showed the protesters chanting “No mas, No more,” as they walked through the police wall of barricades and continued marching for a long time until finally listening to police announcements.
During the Salon, Professor Margie Thompson also showed a video clip from youtube titled “Honduras Women Targeted for Resisting the Coup” showing civilians, including many women, protesting in the streets against the police in Honduras. There were also copies of the Spring 2010 (Vol 15 No.1) ¡Presente! newsletter, provided by Jane Covode, that includes a lot of articles on the SOA. The action steps were to either sign a postcard and send it to House Representatives not in district 1 or 2 to encourage them to cosponsor the HR 2567 bill that will suspend operations and investigate the SOA/WHINSEC or to write a letter to Congressman Jared Polis or Congresswoman Diana DeGette, who represent districts 1 and 2, thanking them for their co-sponsorship of the HR 2567 bill.