Mindful of COVID-19, with masks and social distancing, PeaceWorks-KC is holding a one-mile walk and then rally for a nuclear-weapon-free world this Memorial Day, May 31.
We’ll gather at 10:30 a.m. at Prospect Avenue and Mo. Hwy. 150, parking on Prospect. Jim Hannah will welcome us, uplift us, as we begin our one-mile trek on the public sidewalk, alongside the new plant for making/procuring parts for nuclear weapons.
We’ll carry a flag for each country (54 and counting!) that has ratified the now-in-force Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. “The Ban Treaty is so hopeful, so miraculous,” says Ann Suellentrop. “The beautiful flags from countries all over the world call to mind the hibakusha (survivors of the 1945 nuclear bomb attacks), the indigenous, the downwinders, and indeed the majority of nations that demand an end to this nuclear madness!”
Around 11:30 a.m., we’ll end our walk at Botts Road, by the entry to the vast National Security Campus, the nuke-parts factory. We’ll greet the guards and police who, each year, show up to protect federal property from us nonviolent pacifists. We’ll hear from Maurice Copeland, a 32-year employee/supervisor at the KC Plant that from 1949 to 2014 was at Bannister Federal Complex, now being “decontaminated”—do you believe that?—from more than 2,000 toxins the federal government documented there.
We’ll enter into a die-in on public property, naming people who died from the old KC Plant toxins. Suellentrop will reflect on the silence we’ll keep, lying on the ground for the die-in, yearning for a new world free of nuclear illnesses, threats, and horrors. Enough!—our bodies will say.
This witness will be PeaceWorks’ 10th annual Memorial Day event to call for an end to nuke-making.
Among the persons crossing the property line and risking arrest are Jim Hannah and Tom Mountenay of Independence; Christian Brother Louis Rodemann of Kansas City, KS; Henry Stoever of Overland Park, KS; and Brian Terrell of Maloy, Iowa.
Stoever began our Memorial Day walk in 2012, a 9-mile, small-group trudge from the (then) KC Plant to the bean-field bought for the new plant. For the record, Henry’s wife, Jane, thought he was crazy to ask us to walk so far. This year, lifting up hope, we’ll bring food for Harvesters and greet friends in person whom we’ve (mostly) seen on Zoom this past year. See you May 31!