We have news from Bix and Lynne and Susan!

Bix and Steve are in the same cell.  Bix is in very good spirits, and has access to his most critical medications.   There are a few medications he needs that are not as critical that he has not gotten yet.  They are so expensive that even most pharmacies on the outside do not keep them in stock.  Joe Power-Drutis is working through the public defender’s office to coordinate with the jail’s clinic, to see if they will allow Joe to bring Bix those medications.  Bix will be okay for a few days if it takes that long.

Anne and Susan are also roommates.  Lynne is pleased to have been placed on a quiet floor where she is near Anne and Susan.  They have plenty of access to each other.  Lynne reports that the group received a friendly welcome at the FDC when somebody placed a “No Nukes” sign below the American flag. Continue reading

Letters to the Jailbirds


Many people have been asking about how and where to send letters to our dear friends now that they are beginning their journey through our nation’s glorious Criminal Justice System (think Rube Goldberg).  It’s going to be a while before they are settled.

They are currently (temporarily) residing at the luxurious Federal Detention Center (FDC) in Sea Tac in Seattle.  Click here to see a photo of this lovely five star property.  It’s hard to estimate just when they will be moved to the prisons where they will stay for the duration of their sentences. Continue reading

Visit to FDC SeaTac

For those who can join us – a group will be at FDC SeaTac tomorrow, Tues March 29th, from 3pm-4pm, to stand outside and send our support through the prison walls to the members of Disarm Now Plowshares.  For those who would like to caravan from Tacoma, a group will be leaving from Jean’s House of Prayer at 2pm.  Email disarmnowplowshares (at) gmail (dot) com if you need transportation.

Map – Jean’s House of Prayer
Map – FDC SeaTac

Guardians of this sacred place

John K. La Pointe, character witness for Bill Bichsel
Words of solidarity at sentencing
March 28, 2011

Peter Blue Cloud, a Mohawk poet, once wrote,

“Will you ever understand the meaning of the very soil beneath your feet?
From a grain of sand to a great mountain, all is sacred.
Yesterday and tomorrow exist eternally upon this continent.
We Natives are guardians of this sacred place.”

Hail to the Sunrise - photo by dawnzy58 on flickrSo much has changed in our world since Peter Blue Cloud’s words challenged the collective conscious of America as it struggled through its own adolescence.  From a worldwide viewpoint, America is yet a very young nation which continues to demonstrate its short-sightedness and illusions of invincibility.

Blue Cloud’s words resonate still today, like a desperate parent pleading with their adolescent child to open their eyes before their own self-grandeur destroys them and any hope for the transference of wisdom, wisdom that can only be achieved through the collective conscious of our elders through countless generations.

As a Native American, I can say, there is at least one universal teaching that still exists among the First People of this youthful nation.  We are still taught and continue to teach our youth to not only respect our elders, but most importantly to listen to them.

There was a time, now long past, when Blue Cloud’s words reigned true as he wrote, “We Natives are guardians of this sacred place.”  Sadly today we can only plead for the support and advocacy of others.  Progress and the American dream have left the guardians of old decimated, reduced to a perpetual state of mourning and recovery.  We continue to mourn the relentless tyranny of domination that ravages our mother earth.

Today our elders stand tried and convicted by a system that fails to hear their plea, just as we failed to hear Peter Blue Cloud decades ago.

Today we stand in solidarity with our elders and guardians, Susan Crane, Anne Montgomery, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly, and Bill Bichsel, as they challenge the collective conscious of today, asking, “Will we ever understand the meaning of the very soil beneath our feet? Will we ever fully fathom the threat and breadth of destruction our nation’s nuclear arsenal is capable of inflicting on humankind, our mother earth and all of creation?”

Our elders are pleading with us.  They are pleading for us to open our eyes and our hearts, they are telling us to grow up and start caring for one another in a global manner.  Please listen to them with compassion for they are our wisdom teachers, they are the guardians of this sacred place.

Sentencing: 6-15 months confinement, 1yr supervised release

The Disarm Now Plowshares activists who entered U.S. Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to symbolically disarm the nuclear weapons stored there were sentenced today at the Tacoma Federal Courthouse, receiving sentences of 6 months to 15 months confinement, plus one year supervised release.  About two hundred fifty people gathered at the courthouse to support the Plowshares activists with their presence, song, and prayer.  After the trial, they sang peace songs and processed out as a group, celebrating the beacon of hope the five activists have been for their community. Continue reading

Photos – Festival of Hope, day before sentencing

[click below to scroll through the photos, or click here to view a full-size slideshow]

Photos – Liturgy, day before sentencing

[click below to scroll through the photos, or click here to view a full-size slideshow]

Festival of Hope

By six o’clock Sunday evening at the Catholic Community Center, a line of people spilled down the stairs and out the door as they came to share a meal with five members of Disarm Now Plowshares.  Looking at the crowd, Tom Rogers from the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action admired the dedication of all those who came to show their support.  Another form of dedication was obvious as well — seeing such an overwhelming display of support for nuclear abolition, one could sense the decades of study, self-reflection, and community building on the part of so many people, that laid the foundation for these events.

After the potluck dinner, Nipponzan Myohoji monks Gilberto and Senji, along with Denny and Jim, led us in a short procession to St. Leo’s Church.  Every pew, every chair was filled as we sang and blessed Anne, Bix, Lynne, Steve, and Susan.  St. Leo’s pastor Steve Lantry led us in prayer in solidarity “with the people of the world who do not want war and are ready to walk the difficult road of peace.”

The five each received a prayer shawl whose every stitch represents a prayer for strength and protection.  They also received a Native American song and blessing sung for them.  Susan and Lynne were commissioned by Dotti Krist-Sterbick on behalf of the lay members of the church, to parallel the commissioning received that morning by those of their group in vowed religious life.

Jackie Hudson OP gave a reflection on the miracles that accompany Plowshares actions, and the teaching moment that this particular action has been for us.  “Now that we’ve learned, what do we do with it?” she asked.  As we send off our friends, we recognize that this is our call for action.

Bishop Tom Gumbleton of Detroit spoke as well.  He reminded us of the United States’ policy of keeping the nuclear option on the table.  Reminding us of the atrocities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the fire bombing of Tokyo, he warned us not to be so foolish as to think we aren’t capable of such bloodshed again.  Bishop Gumbleton declared that nuclear weapons “must be abolished before they abolish us. It is therefore our intention to challenge the nations of the world not to an arms race but a peace race.”

Anne, Bix, Lynne, Steve, and Susan also spoke.  Each gave thanks for the strength and support shown to them by all those gathered.  They extended their thanks and blessings to all of us who will carry the torch as they go to prison.  “My prayers will be for the people keeping up the work,” Lynne said.  Bix said too, “We are so blessed to know that what is happening will be carried on by you. Thank you.”

We Are All Called

Those gathered at St. Leo’s Church in Tacoma today focused on what it means to be missioned.  We celebrated the prophetic mission of nuclear disarmament, affirmed our own call to work for nonviolence, and knelt in self-reflection before the God of Peace alongside those preparing for baptism and confirmation in the Catholic church.

The congregation met Father Pat Lee’s opening cry of “NO MORE WAR!” with resounding applause and a standing ovation. Continue reading

Make a Joyful Noise

It was a joyful group that gathered today at Ground Zero and processed over to the main gate of Bangor Naval Base.  We numbered about fifty, all decked out in rain gear and boots and umbrellas, though by the end of the vigil we had the sun come out to join us.

We read together.  Steve Kelly read for us the words from Isaiah, about “setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke.”  And the world’s liberation, Isaiah tells us, is ours as well: “Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed.” Continue reading

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