“There are two main threats to our survival: nuclear weapons and the climate crisis,” Ann Suellentrop told a crowd of more than 125 persons Dec. 31, 2019. She spoke at the Rimé Buddhist Center in Kansas City, Mo., at the 6 a.m. program held annually on New Year’s Eve morning, the World Peace Meditation. The center gave one award, the Bodhisattva Award, during the program—to PeaceWorks-KC—and asked Ann to receive the award in recognition of her peace work in many circles.
Ann highlighted PeaceWorks’ efforts in the 2000s to oppose KC’s local bomb-parts plant that opened in 1994. “This was the first new nuclear weapons factory built in the U.S. in 32 years,” she noted. “We testified at the public hearings, lobbied elected officials … and held many protests at the new plant, which has resulted in about 150 arrests for trespassing. An African-American judge (in Municipal Court) compared us to Rosa Parks and said, ‘I can’t just put you in jail!’ So he gave us essays to write.” The audience laughed, taking delight in the judge’s creativity.
Spring 2020 peace events, said Ann, will likely include talks in KC by two Dominican sisters, Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert, about the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), that led to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Ann asked people to go with her to an international conference in Tennessee May 22-25 on abolishing nuclear weapons.
Ann offered the audience copies of the new book Warheads to Windmills, on converting funds for nuclear weapons to funds for solar panels, windmills, and other efforts to save the planet. She noted the power of the films “Harriet,” on Harriet Tubman of the Underground Railroad, and “A Hidden Life,” about Franz Jaggerstatter, beheaded for refusing to swear allegiance to Hitler. Ann closed her remarks by saying, “To me, these films showed people who made up their minds to courageously stand up against evil. We can do the same!”
–Tom Fox, videographer; Mark and Jenny Semet, video editors; and Jim Hannah, photographer.