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KC Star column: ‘We Protest at a Nuclear Weapons Plant on Memorial Day’

“We are your neighbors,” writes Tom Fox in a May 30 Kansas City Star column, “We Protest at a Nuclear Weapons Plant on Memorial Day in the Name of Peace.”

“We will come face-to-face with Kansas City police and guards just before noon on Memorial Day,” says Fox, the former editor and publisher of the National Catholic Reporter. “Five of us will risk arrest by crossing a line onto private property. … They will likely be arrested in front of the plant that produces 85 percent of all the non-nuclear components that make up the US nuclear stockpile—and is euphemistically named ‘National Security Campus.’”

The event begins at 10:30 a.m., on Monday, May 31, at Prospect Ave. and Mo. Hwy. 150, with a one-mile walk in front of the vast nuke-parts plant. The group holds a rally at 11:30 a.m. at the entry to the plant, 14510 Botts Rd., just north of Mo. Hwy. 150.

“We admittedly break a civil law to maintain the laws we hold to be of a higher moral order,” says Fox. “Join us if you like, but do not bring predetermined so-called ‘tribal’ notions to the protest. Police and protesters, we are all friendly. Our protests, under the aegis of PeaceWorks Kansas City, are entirely nonviolent. We respect the dignity of every person, starting with those closest to us, at the moment of protest, the police and security officials we face only feet away.”

Fox learned from PeaceWorks-KC Co-Chair Henry Stoever, a local lawyer who expects to cross the property line for the fourth time, that he informs police of upcoming actions so the police and protesters can avoid surprises and possible violence. Fox phoned Sgt. Craig Hope of the KCPD southern district, who said of the line-crossers, “They’re really respectful people. Everyone is friendly. They intentionally do not go limp when we arrest them so they will not hurt our backs. … We take good care of them and they take good care of us.”

Fox adds, “Asked why he returns year after year to protest, Stoever called the plant, which operates on a $1 billion annual budget and is managed by Honeywell, a ‘monstrous’ operation, (explaining), ‘I see our action as an intervention in a very dangerous situation.’”

Protesters in 2018 hold their signs high as they take a one-mile walk on the National Security Campus nature trail.–Photo by Kim Hoa Fox

Fox’s KC Star column notes that Christian Brother Louis Rodemann, who fed the homeless at Holy Family Catholic Worker House in midtown Kansas City for 28 years, plans to cross the line for the fourth time. Fox quotes Rodemann: “Walking with me will be every one of the thousands of guests who were ever welcomed into Holy Family Catholic Worker House through its 44-year history – guests who could come in from their poverty, brokenness and loneliness and be treated with the dignity of a human person they had stopped dreaming and hoping they could become; to get a glimpse, if just for an hour, of the peace and wholeness they justly deserved as a way of life. For making this glimpse just one step closer to reality, I will step over that line one more time.”

Man hanging origame peace cranes.