Good Friday arrests at Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon, Livermore Lab and Nevada nuclear test site

Photo by Paul Sheldon

LOCKHEED MARTIN, PENNSYLVANIA

Thanks to Paul Sheldon for this report:

The Brandywine Peace Community held its annual Good Friday action at Lockheed Martin in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on March 30. Seven of the activists attempted to carry a message of peace and understanding onto Lockheed Martin property, in order to speak with those building world-destroying weapons. They were arrested, cited for disorderly conduct (praying in the driveway), and released. Paul Sheldon writes, “I view these actions as faithfulness to a continuing campaign at Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest war profiteer and nuclear weapons’ contractor.”

Thanks to Bob Smith for this report:

A Prayer for the Love of Humanity
It was a small group that gathered on Good Friday at the corner of Mall and Goddard Boulevards directly behind one of the country’s largest shopping malls, the King of Prussia Mall. Lockheed Martin overlooks the Mall. Traffic converges on the intersection from three different directions. There in the middle of it all stood 12-15 people, all of whom have stood on that ground many times before, in practice quoting Rev. Dr. Cornell West, author and Professor of Philosophy at Union Theological, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” 
Crosses, each with a Lockheed Martin logo at the crucifixion nail points, were hammered into the ground next to large, striking banners and posters.  A big wooden blue sign of the Lockheed Martin logo stated “we’re making a killing.” The only sound coming from the encampment of sorts was from masterful singer-songwriter, Tom Mullian, his guitar and harmonica being broadcast to the passing cars.  The most striking banner was of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the message: For Justice . . . Make War No More. Ignite Peace. 
After an hour people walked up the driveway entrance to Lockheed Martin, intoning a bell that has become a mainstay of Brandywine actions over the past four decades. 
Today we toll a bell for justice, nonviolence and love. We stand against the outrages of Donald Trump and the lethal greed of Lockheed Martin. From the depths of our hearts we defy today’s messages of hate, greed and violence. As we honor Dr. King on the 50th anniversary of his murder, just five days hence, we remember Dr. King’s “evil triplets of American society: Racism, Materialism, and Militarism.” We continue, as we must, our protest of Lockheed Martin, the world’s #1 war profiteer, and U.S.’s #1 nuclear weapons contractor and world’s #1 arms merchant.
Leader: By Jesus’ love and sacrifice….All: We resist war and Lockheed Martin!
Leader: By Jesus’ passion and death…All: We Act for Justice and Peace!
Leader: By Jesus’ witness to the truth…All: We choose nonviolent action! 
Leader: By Jesus’ message of Unarmed Truth and Unconditional Love…All: We say Amen
At the Lockheed Martin driveway, we repeated the Good Friday litany as well as a litany drawn from Dr. King’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize speech, during which seven people stretched across the drive with banners, signs and crosses. All seven were arrested by Upper Merion police, cited for “disorderly conduct” and released.  
Those arrested: Fr. Patrick Sieber, ofm, Carroll Clay and Beth Centz, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Paul Sheldon, from Media, Pennsylvania; Mary Ellen Norpel, from Ambler, Pennsylvania; Tom Mullian, from Wyncote, Pennsylvania; Barry Kreider, from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Thank you all.

Photo by James Séamus Knight

NEVADA NUCLEAR TEST SITE

The 24th annual Sacred Peace Walk, organized by the Nevada Desert Experience, took place from March 24-30. The group of peace walkers began in Las Vegas and concluded a week and 60 miles later at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS, formerly known as the Nevada Test Site).

From the Nevada Desert Experience website: “We walk in the footsteps of a long legacy of peace walkers and spiritual leaders to draw attention to the nuclear dangers that continue to threaten our planet, and the violent robots (RPAs or drones) continuing to kill people monthly, damaging the community of life in the desert. We also focus on the threats of nuclear waste to the Sacred Yucca Mountain.” 

On March 28, the Peace Walk stopped to hold signs and banners at Creech drone base in Indian Springs. Darcy Ike and Robert Majors were arrested for blockading the entrance road into the base. They were taken to jail in Las Vegas, where they were processed and later released. (See video of action here.)

On Good Friday morning, March 30, the walkers arrived at the Nevada nuclear test site. After a Stations of the Cross and prayers with Western Shoshone spiritual leader Johnny Bob, twenty of the activists crossed onto NNSS property, which the U.S. occupies in violation of the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley. The line-crossers carried branches of Western Shoshone medicinal plants with them, signifying the denial of Western Shoshone rights to gather plants there.  

After being briefly held in a pen, the activists were charged with trespass, processed and released on site.

Those arrested were:
John Amidon 
Vera Anderson
Sheri Bauer
Toby Blomé
Kelsey Chalmers
Don Cunning 
Susan Dillon
Pat Hornak
Darcy Ike 
James Séamus Knight
Sady Lindberg
Margaret McChesney
Jason Nellis
Barbara Nelson 
Julia Occhiogrosso
Marcus Page
Br. Mark Schroeder 
Brian Terrell
Shirley Tung
Tami Yaron 

For more information, contact the Nevada Desert Experience at info@nevadadesertexperience.org.

LIVERMORE LAB, CALIFORNIA

from the Livermore Patch

The annual protest has happened on Good Friday for more than three decades.

LIVERMORE, CA — About 75 people turned out on Good Friday to protest at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, police officials said. Police temporarily detained more than 25 people for unlawful assembly. After being detained, the protesters were released.

The annual protest has happened on Good Friday for more than three decades, as a number of East Bay organizations voice their disagreement with labs involvement with nuclear weapons.

The event slowed traffic along East Avenue, Patterson Pass and Vasco roads.

THE PENTAGON AND WHITE HOUSE

Thanks to Art Laffin for this report.

From Holy Thursday afternoon to Good Friday afternoon, about 25 people gathered in D.C. for a Faith and Resistance retreat and public witness that was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and held at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church. Those who participated in the retreat/witness included members of Jonah House, the Atlantic Life Community and students from Loras College from Iowa. The theme of the retreat was: “Standing With the Crucified Christ Today.” Holy Thursday was a day of reflection, sharing, action planning and Liturgy. Good Friday was a day of public witness.

The retreat began with a very rich and inspiring communal Gospel sharing about crucifixion narrative from the Gospel of Luke (Lk. 23: 33-49) and it’s meaning for today. This was followed by a planning session for the Good Friday Pentagon and White House actions.  After dinner, there was a moving Maundy Thursday  Celebration and Prayer Service. Loras Students led a foot-washing ritual followed by Sr. Ardeth Platte and Sr. Carol Gilbert leading the Last Supper Commemoration.

On Good Friday, a nonviolent public witness was held at the Pentagon. At 7:00 a.m. the community processed from Army-Navy Dr. to the police designated protest zone with signs and small crosses with the names of different victims in our society and world written on them. As we processed we sang “We are A Gentle Angry People” (by Holly Near). 

Once we arrived at the Pentagon there was not, to our surprise, the usual large Pentagon police presence waiting for us. Carrying a copy of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, seven members of our community, instead of going into the designated protest area, walked to the police check point closest to the building. They proceeded to offer a prayerful litany with the response: “With every bomb, Christ is killed again!” They then spoke with a Pentagon police officer and requested to speak to a Pentagon official about the urgent necessity for Secretary of Defense Mattis and the Trump Administration to ratify this historic UN treaty. After presumably make a phone call to someone in the building to consider their request, the officer returned saying that they needed to go to the designated protest area. After over ten minutes, they were placed under arrest. They were taken to the Pentagon Police Center, processed and released within two hours. They were charged with “disobeying a lawful order” and given a violation notice to appear in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA on May 3, 2018.

Simultaneously, as hundreds of Pentagon employees streamed into work, the rest of the community conducted a liturgy in the designated protest area. A huge banner that said: “U.S. Empire Crucifies Humanity” was displayed on the grassy slope overlooking the sidewalk going into the Pentagon metro entrance. Our leaflet was read (see below). Then two retreatants, dressed in a black robes representing victims of U.S.militarism and drone strikes, each took turns standing on a crate, with arms outstretched on a large cross. Reflections were read about each of the victims. In between the readings there was silence and singing “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord.”  The final reading was a reflection by Leonardo Boff, “Jesus Being Nailed to the Cross Today.” We concluded the witness by singing “At the Cross Her Station Keeping” (Stabat Mater) by Jacopone di Todi, with six new contemporary verses by Joe Byrne. 

As we left the Pentagon the Loras students led us in singing “ May I Be An Instrument Of Peace.” 

Those arrested:                                                                                                         

Joe Byrne
Kathy Boylan
Anne-Marie Eslinger
Sr. Carol Gilbert
Libby Johnson
Sr. Ardeth Platte
Sr. Megan Rice

At noon-time, as hundreds of tourists looked on, we conducted a “contemporary crucifixion” on Pennsylvania Ave., directly in front of the White House. For this witness we were joined by an additional dozen peacemakers from the greater DMV area, and two friends from S. Korea. We began by reading our leaflet (see below). Then twelve crucified victims, wearing black robes and a sign signifying each victim, took turns for several minutes in silence, standing on a crate, with arms outstretched on a cross (see the crucified victims below). After each victim came off the cross we sang: “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord.” A Buddhist bell was used to signal when each person would go onto the cross. After the 12th victim came off the cross, a reading about how Jesus is being crucified today, by Leonardo Boff, was offered. Joe Byrne then lead our concluding song, Stabat Mater. It was reported during our closing circle that many of the people who observed our witness and received our leaflet offered very positive feedback about the witness. We ended our witness and retreat by giving thanks to God for our time together, for all other nonviolent actions taking place around the world during marking this most Holy Day, and sharing a sign of peace.

Let us pray for each other during this Holy Season, and for all those in our world who are experiencing at this very moment the passion and death of Jesus. And let us be transformed by the cross and resurrection of Jesus as we seek to practice resurrection and be living signs of hope for our world.

In Resurrection Hope, 

Art

A Good Friday Plea: Stop Crucifixion Today!

Today is Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus. On this Good Friday, vast numbers of God’s global family experience a modern form of crucifixion as they are crucified to a cross of war, racism, militarism, economic exploitation and social injustice. In the crucified people of our world we see the crucified face of Jesus.

We, members of the Atlantic Life Community and students from the midwest, witness at the Pentagon and White House today to remember the victims who have been and continue to be crucified and deemed expendable, and to call for an immediate end to their crucifixion. We call, too, for an end to the desecration of our sacred earth.

We say loudly and clearly with Jesus: “Love one another,” “Love your enemies,” “Be merciful as God is merciful,” “Proclaim liberty to captives,“ and “Put away the sword.”

We appeal to the consciences of people everywhere, especially those who lead the nations, including our own, to eradicate what Dr. King called the “triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism.” End all racial injustice! Welcome the immigrant! Stop all violence, torture and killing! Abolish war! Abolish all weapons—from guns used in our society, to killer drones used abroad, to the threatened use of nuclear weapons. Endorse the new UN Treaty To Prohibit Nuclear Weapons! Create a political and economic order that rejects empire, upholds the dignity and human rights of every person, protects the earth and meets the human needs of all! Work for nonviolent social transformation! Practice Resurrection!

Please join us as we strive to create the Beloved Community!                                                                                                             

For more info contact:                                                                                         

Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649

Crucified Victims Remembered at the White House Good Friday Public Witness

Crucified Victim #1–Iraq War Victim 

Crucified Victim #2–Afghanistan War Victim

Crucified Victim #3–Drone bombing victim                                       

Crucified Victim #4–Victim of Militarism  

Crucified Victim #5—Yemen War Victim

Crucified Victim #6–Victim of Racial Violence

Crucified Victim #7–Victim of Economic Exploitation                    

Crucified Victim #8–Torture Victim (dressed as a GITMO prisoner)

Crucified Victim #9–Nonviolent Revolutionary Victim                 

Crucified Victim #10–Imprisoned Victim                                              

Crucified Victim #11–Immigration Victim

Crucified Victim #12–Our Desecrated Earth