Woman arrested after die-in at Kansas City nuclear weapons plant on Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2015

Memorial Day 2015

On May 30, more than 50 people took part in a Memorial Day peace walk from the old Kansas City nuclear weapons parts plant to the new one, about ten miles away. Surviving former employees of the old factory addressed the walkers about the legacy of their work.

“We are memorializing those who died and got sick because of the toxic chemicals used at the old plant to make parts for nuclear weapons” from 1949 to 2014, said Lu Mountenay, a minister in Independence, Missouri. “If it happened then, it will happen again at the new plant.”

At the conclusion of the walk, half of the walkers memorialized more than 150 known workers to have died from contaminants at the factory with a die-in, as a bugler played Taps. Mountenay then crossed the line, and was cited for trespass before being released at the scene.

About her nonviolent resistance, she says, “The military-industrial complex doesn’t ‘get it,’ but my grandchildren get it – they understand I’m crossing the line for them, for all the children of the world.”

She has a court appearance scheduled on August 1.

For more information, visit peaceworkskc.org.


from PeaceWorks Kansas City

Nuclear weapons resister crosses line in KC for her grandchildren, all children

Lu Mountenay, a Community of Christ minister in Independence, MO, on Memorial Day, May 30, crossed the property line at the National Security Campus, where Kansas Citians make non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons. She received a court date of Aug. 1, at 1:30 pm in KC’s Municipal Court. PeaceWorks members will gather at 12:30 pm that day at Locust and 11th Street, north of City Hall, for “court support.”

Photo by Jim Hannah

Before her line-crossing, she gestured to the massive facility down the entry road, saying, “The military-industrial complex, the profitable complex, tells us they make nuclear weapons to keep people from killing humans. It didn’t work in 1945 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

The National Security Campus, which the U.S. says costs $900 million per year to operate, opened for business in 2014. Referring to the old plant at Bannister Federal Complex, which made parts for nuclear weapons from 1949 to 2014, Mountenay said, “Bannister Federal Complex employees got sick, and many died from the contaminants. That’s who we’re here to memorialize.” Referring to the new plant, she asked: “This plant—how many years? Seventy years, before it’s so contaminated they’ll shut it down, abandon it, and leave the contamination in its wake?”

Mountenay unfurled a two-year- old list of 900 toxins identified at Bannister Federal Complex, a list recently updated to about 2,500 contaminants. She asked, “Will this be the same thing they’ll find at this plant when it closes?”

Then Mountenay asked, “What are we going to do about this?” She told the gathering of 52 protesters, “We can protest. We can write letters to the editor and Congress. We can elect Congress members who can speak truth to power, to change this.” She added, “We can do civil resistance,” saying she would soon cross the property line.

“The military-industrial complex doesn’t understand” why protesters do civil resistance, she said. “It doesn’t matter to them that ‘old granny’ is doing this, but it does matter to my grandchildren. They get it!” She thanked granddaughters Tori and Addy, who were present, and other children there, including Tiona, Eric, Josie, Shelbie, and Teegan. Mountenay closed with noting she was taking her step across the line for the sake of her grandchildren and children around the world.

She was processed by the police and soon released. Vice-president of the PeaceWorks board, she has now crossed the line at the new plant three times. Go, Granny!!!

–By Jane Stoever of PeaceWorks