Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2013
By Jane Stoever
KANSAS CITY, Missouri — On July 13, about 80 people rallied, sang and spoke out against a new facility in the US nuclear weapons complex under construction here. Twenty- four of the protesters walked onto the property, were quickly arrested and detained by local police, and then released over the next few days.
The five-building “Kansas City Plant” will by next year replace the current, 70-year-old Kansas City Plant, where 85 percent of the non-nuclear parts for US nuclear weapons are made or procured.
During a brief ceremony, the protesters pledged to strive for peace and seek to be peacemakers in daily life, to persevere in nonviolence of the mind and heart, and work to abolish war and the causes of war from the face of the Earth.
With the assembly singing “Open the Door,” which was written for the occasion, 24 people stepped onto federal property through a mock door marked “Open the door to a nuclear-weapons-free world” — the slogan of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
The 24 who crossed the line were Rev. Carl Kabat, Chrissy Kirchhoefer, and Anneliese Stoever all of St. Louis, William Antone, of Washington, D.C., Sr. Cele Breen, Jim Everett, Lauren Logan, Sr. Theresa Maly, Rev. Lu Mountenay, Brother Louis Rodemann, Nehemiah Rosell, Kelsey Schmidt, Ann Suellentrop, Georgia Walker and yours truly, all of Kansas City, Frank Cordaro, Ed Bloomer, and Jessica Reznicek of Des Moines, William Bichsel, of Tacoma, Washington, Cassandra Dixon of Wisconsin Dells, Paul Freid of Lake City, Minnesota, Betsy Keenan of Maloy, Iowa, Janice Sevre-Duszynska of Lexington, Kentucky, and Rev. Jerry Zawada of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The line-crossers were arrested, fingerprinted, photographed and then detained by Jackson County Police. Some were released on July 13, some July 14, and some not until July 15. The resisters were given several different trial dates, but attorney Henry Stoever said he would try to secure a single trial date for them all.
Rev. Zawada, when asked why he crossed the line, said, “It’s the children! And the future of the world. People are blind and deaf to the fact that we’re producing these horrible bombs and creating an atmosphere of fear. It threatens the whole world.” He quoted a declaration from the late Rev. Richard McSorley: “It’s a sin to build a nuclear weapon.” Zawada also said he wanted to accompany Rev. Kabat in this action. Kabat has spent 17 years in prison for acts of civil resistance to nuclear weapons. Referring to Kabat and the worldwide community of people seeking a nuclear weapons-free world, Zawada said, “It takes passion and perseverance.”
Sr. Maly reflected, “I hope people that have positions of power, the ability to make decisions about nuclear weapons, hear our message.”
In court September 4, those who pleaded “guilty” were sentenced to community service, and those who entered “not guilty” pleas were told that trial dates would be set later. Some activists refused the order for community service.
— Jane Stoever is a PeaceWorks-KC board member and volunteer at the Holy Family Catholic Worker.