As part of the Brandywine Peace Community’s noontime Martin Luther King Day of Nonviolent Resistance at Lockheed Martin, more than fifty people stood with banners and signs in front of the King of Prussia, PA complex of the world’s largest war profiteer, Lockheed Martin. Many of those gathered (just as in previous years) were from the New Jerusalem Laura, a faith-based addiction recovery community in North Philadelphia.
As people arrived for the day’s demonstration honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his message of nonviolent action for justice and peace, excerpts of many of Dr. King’s sermons and speeches were being broadcast loudly in front of Lockheed Martin, located directly behind the King of Prussia Mall, the area’s largest shopping mall (indeed, the largest mall on the East Coast).
The demonstration began with a series of chants (Honor King’s Legacy; For peace, Stop Lockheed Martin!; Inaugurate Justice, Make War No More; Many Suffer, Few Profit) and focus readings as Barack Obama was concluding his inaugural speech in Washington, DC. and just as drone strikes were again raining down on Yemen.
The customary intoning of our peace bell, and the lyrics of Tom Mullian singing “The Needed Times”, followed. These are the needed times, these are the needed…Sister, won’t you walk with me, Sister, won’t you walk with me…segued way beautifully into the Litany of the King Day memorial, based on Dr. King’s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance speech in 1964 that concluded: “…I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered people have torn down other-centered can build up and that one day humanity will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will be proclaimed the rule of the land…and I still believe that We Shall Overcome”
As the voice of Dr. King boomed again in front of Lockheed Martin, this time with the words from his Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence speech at Riverside Church, April 4, 1967, echoing his call to resist “the evil triplets of American society: racism, extreme materialism, and militarism”, nine people carrying signs befitting the day and prepared to be arrested walked up the driveway entrance toward the company’s main lobby entrance. Lockheed Martin security and Upper Merion police, seeming surprised by the direction of the war resisters, bolted from the heat of their cars to stop the activists from preceding any further.
Each of the nine were arrested, taken to the Upper Merion police station and cited for Disorderly Conduct and released. They are: Mary Jo McArthur, Bernadette Cronin-Geller, Beth Friedlan, Fr. Patrick Sieber, OFM, and Robert M. Smith, all from Philadelphia, PA; Theresa Camerota and Tom Mullian, from Wyncote, PA; Paul Sheldon, Drexel Hill, PA; and Rev. Dave Reppert, Conshohocken, PA.
“…Today, here at Lockheed Martin, we honor the legacy and dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and continue the struggle for economic and social justice, and peace. Inaugurate Justice. Stop Lockheed Martin. Make War No More..” (from the Martin Luther King Day of Nonviolent Resistance at Lockheed, January 21, 2013).
Short video of the day’s nonviolent resistance/disobedience here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6SIGriRjws
Brandywine Peace Community
P.O. Box 81, Swarthmore, PA 19081