Susan Crane – Shadows on the Wall

A bit of history.  On August 6, 1993 Susan Crane and Maxina Ventura engaged in a creative nonviolent direct action at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories as a statement against its work and contamination of surrounding communities. 

In their action Susan and Maxina painted shadows of bodies in remembrance of all those incinerated in the bombing of Hiroshima.

Susan Crane 1993 LLNL

Maxina Ventura (foreground) and Susan Crane (background) being arrested for after painting shadows at Livermore Labs on Hiroshima Day 1993 (Photos by Hal Carlstadt)

The following is an excerpt from the War Resisters League 1996 Peace Calendar, Volume 41,  NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH: ACTIVISTS SPEAK IN COURT, highlighting Susan’s  statement to the court during her trial. 


Susan Crane 1993


On August 6, 1993 (Hiroshima Day), Susan Crane and Maxina Ventura painted human shadows on the sidewalks and fences of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL) in California. Susan, a mother, school teacher and peace activist, and Max, a musician and activist, were sentenced to 60 days in jail and a $1,300 fine.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories has said that it cost about
 $550 to clean up the shadows. We are requesting that LLNL pay $8.8 billion
to clean up their toxic and radioactive contamination, $105 million to clean
up the ground water, a yet to be determined amount to be paid to the families
 of those who have cancer, and that LLNL be ordered to begin complete conversion to non-nuclear, non-classified research.

In light of the tremendous degradation of the local environment that the
lab has brought about, I find it obscene, unjust, and inane that you, Judge
 Hurley, expect me to pay restitution to LLNL for painting a few shadows,
 using regular latex house paint on the LLNL property. This paint could be
easily cleaned up; there may be no way to clean up the crimes of the lab.

The shadows were a gentle way of bringing about discussion of the fact
 that LLNL is at present developing the next generation of nuclear weapons.
The shadows were a way of remembering those who were killed at ground
zero when the uranium bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

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