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KKFI podcast spreads word of Memorial Day witness for nuke-free world

On May 25, the KKFI (90.1 FM) Radio Active Magazine featured PeaceWorks-KC leaders discussing the May 31 Memorial Day walk and rally in Kansas City, Mo., for a nuclear-weapon-free world. Here’s the podcast:

Moderator Ann Suellentrop kicks off the show saying, “I’ve been a pediatric nurse for 45 years in Kansas City. I’ve been working against the nuclear weapon parts factory in Kansas City for 12-13 years.”

2018 Memorial Day walk–Photo by Kim Hoa Fox

Suellentrop asks Henry Stoever to talk about PeaceWorks-KC. “We take responsibility for nuclear weapons,” Stoever says. PeaceWorks-KC’s 10:30 am walk and 11:30 am rally on Memorial Day, May 31, will occur at the site of the Kansas City National Security Campus, where non-radioactive parts are made or procured for nuclear weapons. Stoever notes, “The beautiful nature walk, a 1-mile walk on a nature trail, takes you close to the monstrosity, the plant” for making nuke-parts. During the rally, five persons will cross the property line, risking arrest. Stoever explains that over the past 10 years, about 150 arrests have been made as activists protested nonviolently. This year, he says, “I’ve spoken with the guards and the KCPD” about the line-crossing. “This is no ambush. They know we’re coming, and they respect us.”

Stoever, a lawyer and this year a line-crosser, says, “I call this an intervention. When you have a crisis, whether it’s a suicide crisis or domestic violence, you want someone to intervene. This action is to expose the danger and foster change. This is nonviolence in action.”

Suellentrop asks Cris Mann to discuss the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the Ban Treaty), which more than 50 countries have ratified. “The treaty was developed by countries that do not have nuclear weapons,” Mann explains. “The intention is to bring pressure on nuclear weapon states, to move more forcefully toward disarmament of nuclear weapons. For the nations that sign the treaty, they must get rid of nuclear weapons.”

Mann, a member of the Green Party, which is cosponsoring PeaceWorks-KC’s Memorial Day witness, says the Missouri Green Party and the Green Party US have had anti-nuclear-power and anti-nuclear-weapon provisions since their founding in 1984. Mann says, “We should be calling, e-mailing, and sending letters to our senators urging them to acknowledge the treaty and its validity and value.”

Suellentrop notes, however, that “since 2014, when this new plant (the National Security Campus) opened, the number of workers has doubled, from 2,500 to 5,000, and they want to build 50 percent more warehouse space, which we are opposed to.” She advises going to NuclearBan.US where you can click on a map, see who your elected and state officials are, and ask them to support the Ban Treaty. More than 2,000 nuclear weapons have been detonated in testing, says Suellentrop, adding, “The new treaty requires people to take care of those people who have been damaged, make reparations and help them heal, and to take care of the environment.”

Suellentrop asks Jim Hannah to share his thinking as he, too, prepares to cross the property line at the National Security Campus. “It’s so important how you frame a discussion,” says Hannah. “I’ve thought about the name of the plant, and I’m reframing it. It’s not just national; it’s also global. It’s not about security but insecurity—nuclear weapons make other nations insecure, intimidated. And it’s not a campus! It’s acres and acres of concrete and asphalt, and buildings upon buildings, expanding like a cancer. I call it now the Global Insecurity Factory.”

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Man hanging origame peace cranes.