Some thoughts about Jackie, By Susan Crane, Dublin Federal Correctional Institution, August 10, 2011
Peter starts to walk on the water, and the strong wind frightens him, and he begins to sink.
The winds of violence, the winds of discouragement, of indifference and contempt for human life are all around us. It’s hard to even breath sometimes, much less keep on walking on unchartered waters.
But Jackie kept on walking, and encouraged us to walk with her. Her strong determined, clear, steadfast voice in the face of the winds of violence kept fear away. A voice of humor, a voice of disarmament, of getting on with things and not getting stuck in the details or confusion, not giving in to the temptation of inaction.
Jackie had a preacher’s voice—no surprise, as she was a Dominican Sister, the Order of Preachers. The Gospel in practice, the gospel of peace, of good news to the prisoners and the poor.
The gospel of the sacredness of life, of the 100 names of God. “Sacred the land, Sacred the water. Sacred the sky, holy and true.” Can’t you hear Jackie singing? “Sacred all life, sacred each other. All reflect God who is good.” I hear Jackie, and her Dominican Sisters, Carol Gilbert and Ardeth Platte singing! All life is sacred. All life is good, regardless of religion, race, nationality or gender.
I see Jackie’s smile as we go forward to walk on the Naval Base and begin to disarm our hearts and the nuclear weapons that hang over our heads like a sword of Damocles.
I hear the passion in Jackie’s voice outside the courthouse in Colorado, in Tennessee, in Tacoma, as she talked about nuclear weapons, which are immoral and illegal, and about the prison system in the US that warehouses Black, Hispanic and Native people in inordinate numbers.
Jackie wasn’t afraid. She wasn’t afraid of the courts or of what others might think. She wasn’t afraid to be who she was. She wasn’t afraid to journey with the most marginalized in prison. She wasn’t afraid to appear foolish. Really; disarm a Minuteman III missile? Walk into Y-12? Think the US should obey treaties it signed? Honor humanitarian international law? Think that nonviolence is a force more powerful? The US attorney in Colorado called these ideas sabotage. Others say… “naive, foolish.” But that didn’t seem to deter or bother Jackie.
Jackie’s humor and clarity sure kept us in the Disarm Now Plowshares on the path. She might be short, but she’s tall in humor and moral conviction.
When we sing, or pick up a microphone to talk, or walk onto a nuclear weapons site, or discern about nonviolent resistance to war and nuclear weapons, we’ll remember Jackie!
Jackie Hudson, Order of Preachers, Presente!