By Charles Carney
As a straight white male of privilege, I have been steeped in a culture of dominance and entitlement. This is not a statement of guilt or shame. It is simply a statement of truth. And the truth will set us free.
After great contemplation, it has weighed upon my heart to carry out a walk for peace from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, to the Honeywell plant in Kansas City, Missouri, in May of 2022. For me, to accept the dominant paradigm that nuclear weapons are a necessary evil is as abhorrent as accepting racism, sexism, and heterosexism. As a life-long social worker, it is as abhorrent as saying poverty and homelessness are unsolvable! The belief that “Man (sic) has dominion over the earth” is a ticket right into our own extinction — either by nuclear holocaust or abrupt climate catastrophe, or some combination of both. It is getting late. The clock is ticking with 100 seconds left. We will not go quietly into the night
So I have volunteered to be the coordinator, or “head cat herder,” if you will, of the “Peace Is the Way” walk through Kansas next year. It is a walk of downward mobility from privilege to solidarity. It is a walk away from the addiction of violence and fossil fuels to honoring and listening to Mother Earth. It is a walk to expand our consciousness into the reality that nuclear weapons are illegal! It is a walk to seek humility and to hear the stories of First Nation Peoples and people who were forced onto this land into the violence of slavery. The root of the word humility is “humus” or to “be of the earth.” We will honor the earth by walking, not driving, and by treading lightly. We will seek divestment from the violent culture, a culture of resource inequality, sex trafficking, and public lynchings of the countless George Floyds and Breonna Taylors. The journey hopefully will direct us to deeper ways of fostering our simplicity, deepening our sense of community and breaking down the false barriers of class, race, and sex.
Since Peace is the way, and not the goal, we will seek to be as inclusive and nonviolent as possible. We will make decisions by consensus … because … well, I said so! Everyone will take a nonviolence pledge. We will seek to honor everyone’s journey, everyone’s mobility, everyone’s story.
Will you join us for a day, a week, or the entire walk? Will you help with the planning of this journey? Do you have gifts like networking or “camping out” skills? Do you just want to see Kansas and walk through the Flint Hills? Will you write down my email address – email@example.com – and let me know if you are interested in joining us in any small or large way?
—Charles Carney, a social worker in Kansas City, KS, serves on the Board of Directors of PeaceWorks-KC and is a leader of the Poor People’s Campaign in Kansas.