“A Pandemic Pivot: From Warfare to Human Care” will be the focus of PeaceWork Kansas City’s ninth annual peace witness on Memorial Day, May 25.
The tradition has focused public attention on actual and potential deaths from nuclear weapons production—the 65-year toxic legacy of the old Bannister Federal Complex impacting employees and nearby residents, and the lethal potential of atomic weapons being made at the new Kansas City National Security Campus, 14520 Botts Road.
A 10:00 a.m. rally will kick off the event in the parking lot of St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church, 3800 Troost, Kansas City, MO. Social distancing will be observed as participants hear speakers urge legislators to “Move the Money” from militarism to humanitarianism. Among the speakers will be spokespersons for PeaceWorks KC, the Poor People’s Campaign, Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, and Vets for Peace.
From St. Mark’s, rally participants will form two caravans, one going through midtown Kansas City and the other to the National Security Campus in south Kansas City. Social distancing due to the COIVID-19 pandemic will curtail the tradition of a peace march and symbolic die-in at the Botts Road plant, but PeaceWorks co-chair, Henry Stoever, will speak there, as well as PeaceWorks board member, Charles Carney.
Each Memorial Day for the past eight years PeaceWorks KC has memorialized those who sacrificed health and life in the production of nuclear weapons, noting that even if never detonated, nuclear weapons have been lethal by exposure to toxins, and by contamination of soil and groundwater.
Beginning in 1949, the now inactive Bannister Federal Complex at 1500 E. Bannister Road in Kansas City grew to produce 85 percent of the non-nuclear components of the United States nuclear arsenal. Multiple investigative reports by NBC Action News and 41 Action News documented 2,400 toxins that workers were exposed to during the plant’s 65-year history, and “hundreds of former employees at the site who reported severe diseases and rare forms of cancer that likely came from their time on the job (41 KSHB, May 6, 2019).”
The prospect of a future nuclear weapons exchange, with extensive radioactive fallout and ensuing nuclear winter, has led PeaceWorks KC to resist the construction and ongoing operation of the KC National Security Campus. More than 150 persons have been arrested during nonviolent peace witnesses at the site in the past decade. Despite these efforts, the number of employees at the plant has doubled to 5,000 since its groundbreaking ceremony in 2014, and its budget has increased to more than a billion dollars annually.
Nonetheless, PeaceWorks co-chair, Henry Stoever, insists that the Memorial Day event he initiated eight years ago will continue, saying “For human survival we must move from the culture of death that nuclear weapons epitomizes, to a culture of life that affirms the sacredness of all creation and all creatures.”
Jim Hannah, PeaceWorks communication team 816-719-5583 [email protected]
Henry Stoever, PeaceWorks co-chair 913-375-0045 [email protected]
Calendar of Events 5-25-2020:
In compliance with the latest version of Mayor Lucas’s emergency order, certain business activities may resume while ensuring necessary public health measures remain in place. See the FAQS at kcmo.gov.
- TUES, May 26, 7:30 – 8:30 PM will be an online event you are invited to join MainPAC with guest Dr. Jonathan Metzl, professor, psychiatrist, KC native and noted author of Dying of Whiteness: How the politics of racial resentment is killing America’s Heartland. Based on research undertaken in Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee, Dr. Metzl shows how many lower- and middle-class white Americans are drawn to politicians who pledge to make their lives great again. But as Dying of Whiteness shows, the policies that result place white Americans at ever-greater risk of sickness and death. Tickets available at mainpac.org.
- Thursday, May 28, at 5 – 7 PM Safe and Welcoming Special Public Session will be an online event hosted by Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity – MORE2 . You can learn more about the Safe and Welcoming Wyandotte County proposed legislation at wycoid.org. It’s been confirmed! The Wyandotte Commission will hear a special session on the Safe and Welcoming Wyandotte proposal May 28, at 5pm. The session will be online, hosted via zoom. RSVP at More2. Please attend to show community support.
- Cancel the Rents and Mortgages Protest: You can join thousands of people across the country in car caravan protests on Saturday, May 30 to demand the cancellation of rent, mortgages and all debts to landlords for the duration of the pandemic. Protesters will adhere to social distancing guidelines and requirements. Visit CancelTheRents.Org to find a May 30th Cancel the Rents and Mortgages car protest happening near you!
- Saturday, May 30, at 8 PM – 10 PM You can join a FB Livestream with Dylan Connor followed by a Zoom hangout with human rights actions and activities! Tickets eventbrite.
- A list of services, meals, and hot lines are available at lawrenceprogressivecalendar.blogspot.com. It is updated daily.
Please take care of yourselves and others. Thanks to all our listeners, stay close to your dial and stay well!
Please listen to Jaws of Justice next week.