The 2015 Peace Pilgrimage to Close the School of Americas ...

was the 16th year we walked from Atlanta to Fort Benning, GA, a walking prayer of more than 100 miles. That year, the organizers announced they would move the vigil to Nogales, Arizona, a town on the border to highlight the connection between the SOA and immigration injustices. Our work on the Peace Pagoda prevents us from making that journey to the border. But our hearts (and feet!) will always be with the movement.

2017 Selma to Montgomery Pilgrimage

This year's Pilgrimage from Selma to Montgomery taught us to connect the dots between the past and present. In Selma we met Rev. William Barber, leader of the Moral Monday movement, who explained how the loss of voting rights is connected to the attacks on every progressive movement of today. Then in Montgomery, we toured the facilities of the Equal Justice Initiative and heard the direct connection between slavery, lynching and today's mass incarceration. It was a rich journey, as rich as the soil of the Black Belt of Alabama. And it was a journey of hope because everywhere we met people full of spirit, joy and determination to move us forward to peace and justice.

It was a sacred journey that started with more than 100,000 descending on Selma to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Bridge Crossing. On the way we walked with hundreds of people young and old, including some of the original marchers, were hosted in grand style by Macedonia Church in Montgomery and felt the joy of being part of something much bigger than ourselves.

Peace Pilgrimage:


  1. We walk an average of 15 miles per day. Generally, we will walk for an hour -- about 3 miles -- and take a break. Everyone is encourage to make his or her best effort, however, a support vehicle is available for the foot-sore and the weary.
  2. You are welcome to join for an hour, a day or the entire walk. 
  3. The support vehicle also carries the luggage, water to refill water bottles and food for the day. 
  4. We stay mainly in churches and homes, and everyone needs to bring a sleeping bag and pad and be prepared to sleep on the floor.
  5. Daily chores on the Pilgrimage can include packing up vehicles, cleanup of the vehicle(s), setting out lunch & cleanup, cleanup at our stay place and evening meal preparation. Everyone can pitch in.
  6. Things to bring: sleeping bag & sleeping pad; good walking shoes, preferably ones that are half a size big as your feet will swell with the walking; water bottle as well as your own plate, cup and utensils; a hat to block the sun. Even so, PLEASE PACK AS LIGHT AS POSSIBLE.
  7. No pets please. Let us know if you need to bring a service animal.
  8. No drugs, no alcohol.

Please contact us with specific questions.

Great Smoky Mountains Peace Pagoda &