Ann Suellentrop posts a chant for the rally. A nurse, she said during her talk, “Nuclear weapons offer ZERO help in a pandemic.” Photo by Jim Hannah.

KKFI Community Radio (90.1 FM) and NBC Action News (Channel 41) covered the May 25 “Human Care, Not Warfare” rally at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church in Kansas City, Mo.

PeaceWorks Board member Ann Suellentrop, a mother-baby nurse, said at the rally, “Nuclear weapons offer ZERO help in a pandemic. In fact, these weapons weaken our medical response by using up money and scientific minds—the workers could be much better used to meet human needs. We need money for human care, not warfare. We need to protect workers who give us LIFE, not death.” Suellentrop was interviewed both by KKFI and NBC Action News. The text for Suellentrop’s part of KKFI’s “Jaws of Justice” show is at this site. http://peaceworkskc.org/nuclear-weapons/ann-suellentrop-on-kkfis-jaws-of-justice-5-25

Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, M.D., calls for eliminating funds for nuclear weapons, asserting, “As a physician, I can tell you, the only cure for a nuclear war is prevention.” Photo by Jim Hannah.

Several other rally speakers were also on “Jaws of Justice.” Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, M.D., whose practice is Argentine Family Health in Kansas City, Kan., said, “Every war we have now could potentially become a nuclear war. It’s senseless to continue spending money on nuclear weapons when, if we use them, they’ll be the beginning of the end of our world.” Asked for her opinion as a physician about nuclear weapons, Huet-Vaughn said, “As a physician, I can tell you, the only cure for a nuclear war is prevention.”

Huet-Vaughn noted a study published April 28 in Annals of Internal Medicine, saying half a million health care workers in this country have no health care insurance, and more than 600,000 medical personnel have incomes below the poverty level.

Bob Ronan notes that Missouri has become the only state to execute someone during the pandemic. Photo by Jim Hannah.

Bob Ronan, a Board Member of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said Missouri, on May 19, became the only state to execute a prisoner during the time of the coronavirus. Missouri endangered its employees who administered the lethal drugs, said Ronan, adding that, in the case of prisoner Walter “Arkie” Barton, it’s very likely he was innocent.

PeaceWorks Board Member Kristin Scheer told the rally participants, “I’m here because I’m concerned about our environment.” She mentioned fossil fuels trapped in the atmosphere, heat waves, and ice caps and sea ice melting. “Climate change, water pollution, deforestation, and illegal wildlife trade do increase the risk of more pandemics,” she warned.

“Our choices have brought us here,” Scheer said. “We can begin to make different choices. There is still time for people and policy-makers and the business community to make changes toward sustainability.” As the coronavirus begins to wane, said Scheer, “governmental spending packages must be aligned to build back better, to capture opportunities for green investment, renewable energy, smart housing, smart transportation.” With a bow to Earth, Scheer said, “She’s the only home we have. We need to protect her!”

With a bow to Earth, Kristin Scheer says, “She’s the only home we have. We have to protect her!” Photo by Jim Hannah.

Hear the rally speakers on KKFI’s “Jaws of Justice” at this site. https://kkfi.org/program-episodes/peaceworks-kc-memorial-day-rally-urges-pandemic-pivot-from-warfare-to-human-care/

Among the speakers taped by KKFI during the rally, two of them became part of KKFI’s May 26 “Radio Active Magazine.” PeaceWorks Co-Chair Cris Mann, a special-education teacher who recently retired, reflected, “Teachers do their very best for their students.” She described her colleague who goes the distance for her students whose families have fewer resources: “She brings them extra food, even brings them birthday presents, and she gives them confidence—tells them their futures are bright.” Mann urged, “We should cancel college debt and eliminate the warfare budgets.” She led a chant: “Books, not bombs!”

Trinidad Molina says there’s an 89 percent chance immigrants will lose their bid for asylum if they come to the KC Immigration Court. Photo by Jim Hannah.

Trinidad Molina, of Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation, quoted on KKFI May 26 along with Mann, noted PeaceWork’s history of standing for peace and justice. Molina said at the rally, “The Kansas City Immigration Court has one of the country’s worst records on asylum applications.” He added that there’s an 89 percent chance applicants will lose their asylum status if they come to the KC court.

PeaceWorks reached out to other groups to join the “Human Care, Not Warfare” events, building on efforts to establish justice and equity.