The array of videos from PeaceWorks-KC’s Annual Meeting March 1 includes these gems, produced by Mark and Jenny Semet Videography … otherwise known as Mark and Jenny from our PeaceWorks Board.
Sunny Hamrick. After opening the Annual Meeting as MC, Sunny Hamrick asks, “Take a moment and just look at your hands. We don’t take time to honor these tools for peace, for loving, for caring.”
Ann Suellentrop, on Warheads to Windmills. “We are facing two major threats to our survival—one is nukes, another is climate change,” says Ann. “The book Warheads to Windmills: How to Pay for a Green New Deal talks about taking something that would destroy us and make it into something that will save us.” She notes, “The budget Trump just put out (for 2021) has exploded the money for nuclear weapons.” The cost to operate the KC MO nuke-parts plant could rise by about 40 percent under the new budget, she warns.
Sunny Hamrick, Mike Murphy. They introduce the play, “Putting Nukes on Trial in KC.”
Defense Attorney Henry Stoever. Henry presents his opening remarks from the Nov. 1, 2019, trial of 15 (out of 17) civil resisters who crossed the property line at the new nuke-parts plant May 27, 2019. “The defendants acted in the spirit of the law,” asserts Stoever.
Jim Hannah. “I consider myself a nuclear abolitionist, in the same way as my family members were slavery abolitionists,” says Jim. “I think it’s just as important to be on the right side of the law as in that time.”
Prosecutor questions Jim Hannah. The prosecutor, played by Sahj Kaya, asks Jim, “Did you see signs” against trespass? He says no. She asks, “Did you see the purple line? Did you recognize it as the property line and that you trespassed?” He replies, “I did. But I felt like I was trying to affirm life and defy death.”
Ann Suellentrop. “I have been a pediatric nurse in Kansas City since 2001.” Asked about the old site for KC’s nuke-parts plant, Ann says, “There are 2,400 toxins at Bannister Federal Complex. … I have a passion for mothers and babies. This is a group particularly vulnerable to toxins.” About why she took action May 27, 2019, at the new nuke-parts plant, she says, “I wanted to gum up the works. Many people don’t pay attention to our visits to Congress, our letters to editors. I must stand up for the world’s mothers, babies, and children.”
Christian Brother Louis Rodemann. Commenting on the Doomsday Clock, scientists’ indicator of how close the world is to catastrophe, Louis says he believes the clock is already at midnight: “The poor are already paying the price (for nuclear weapons) by their loss of resources to live a decent life. This is all incurred by the build-up and expenditure for nuclear weapons.”
Mike Murphy. Mike, taking the role of Spencer Graves, says, “I understand that the single greatest threat to the national security of the United States, and every other nation on the planet, is the US nuclear arsenal!”
Joseph Wun. “Part of my formation in nonviolence has been the work of Physicians for Social Responsibility, as well as a personal visit to Hiroshima in 2011 to the Peace Park there. That place of such immense suffering but also redemptive possibility was utterly moving and unforgettable for me.” Defense Lawyer Henry Stoever asks whether Joseph believes a nuclear war has already begun. Joseph asserts, “It began the moment the first bomb was detonated on this planet. It continues. But it can be stopped.”
Ron Faust. “We need to get beyond law and see the spirit that gives life,” says Ron. “Law is there to keep order. But there’s a higher law. It would be inappropriate for me not to cross the line at the nuclear weapons plant. Human beings are vulnerable. We have been irresponsible in allowing nuclear weapons despite having no way to contain radioactivity.”
Georgia Walker. Georgia says her citation May 27, 2019, was for trespassing in a cemetery and knowingly remaining there. “It’s not a cemetery yet,” she says. “However, what they’re doing in that plant could lead to massive cemeteries.” She gives testimony about her two aunts who died early after working at IRS, on the grounds of Bannister Federal Complex, adding, “I pray for the workers now at the new plant.”
Henry Stoever’s closing argument. In his closing, Henry affirms, “We all are under a death watch, awaiting execution. Nuclear war has already begun.” Holding a book on Rodin’s sculpture “The Burghers of Calais,” Henry explains the burghers’ effort to save their French city from destruction by England’s King John. “Calais’ city leaders, with ropes around their necks and bodies, went out to meet King John. They were pleading: Take our lives, but spare our city Calais and its inhabitants.” Henry continues, “That is precisely what happened May 27—17 line-crossers placed their bodies in jeopardy. They sounded the alarm, they confronted the evil, they acted for a higher good. They hope to touch our hearts, our minds, our souls, our morals, our ethics, so that we save ourselves from ourselves.”