Bix reflects on the April 14th youth vigil at Bangor

In conversations with Ciaron O’Reilly, Pat Gaffney and Bruce Kent in London; Gerry Hughes, S.J. in Oxford; Brian Larken, Jane Talents, Rev. Allan McDonald, and Cardinal Keith O’Brian in Scotland, it was strongly agreed that our different countries must support each other and be in solidarity with those carrying out actions and events to abolish nuclear weapons and the Trident delivery system.

On April 14th young people from the Tacoma area came together to carry out a planned resistance event at the gates of the Trident Sub Base at Bangor, Washington at the same time that a large blockade action at the gates of the Trident Sub Base in Faslane, Scotland was taking place.

Prior to the event at Bangor there was a planned video/Skype hook-up at Jeans House of Prayer at the Tacoma Catholic Worker; supporters of the blockade in Faslane connected with the youth of our community who were on their way to the resistance event at Bangor, and a sense of solidarity evolved. At 11:45 AM (PST) the youth of Tacoma (expressing reasons why they oppose nuclear weapons) were in touch with a room full of Scottish resisters who cheered and waved signs. Some of the youth present were Will Bently, Elias Rodkey, Rosie James, Claire Bently, Amanda Brown, and Kaitlin Martin. They identified themselves and expressed why they were there. Sam Colella led us in singing “Yellow Submarine” but with a modified version – changing yellow to Trident.

We concluded our Skype connection and solidarity wishes with singing together “We Shall Overcome”. After this we car pooled to Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, where we gathered in preparation for our walk to the Bangor gate. We were welcomed by Connie Mears then Will Bently called us into a circle and thanked all for coming. Brenda Gallo and Eli Rodkey expressed why they had come. There were words of support for what the youth were doing from Mary Gallagher, Ruth Gallo, and Niko Colella. After this all assembled recited the pledge of non-violence. The group was fortunate to have Mira Leslie and Mary Glystein as peace-keepers who gave instructions on how the group would safely proceed to the main gate of the Bangor Base; following this Peter Roderick led the procession with drumming.

On arriving near the entrance to the Bangor Base, we assembled in the usual place of demonstration which is bordered by a white line restricting entrance onto the state highway and a blue line restricting entrance onto federal property. No sooner had we assembled than a group of 5 marines with a guard dog assembled on the other side of the blue line. Will Bently welcomed everyone then he, Gabe and Quinn spoke of why they were there. We were led in song by Kaitlin Martin and George Rodkey.

Then all of the assembled greeted the marine guards with waves and words which said we were brothers and sisters and not enemies; mindful that we wanted the best for them while we work for a nuclear weapon free world. This was followed by a communal blessing of the guards led by Gerri Jones. Our gathering was ended by a reading from Martin Luther King by Amanda Brown. This reading stated that non-violent action first affects the participant and does not immediately have an effect on violence inherent in nuclear weapons.

We were a vulnerable, rag-tag, insignificant group gathered in a “cloud of unknowing” of the deep, devastating forces of violence that protects nuclear weapons. Though most had a general idea of why we were there, for many the reason of our gathering was a bit fuzzy and, for some, confusing.

We were like long-legged, spindly spiders trying to avoid a puddle. We were the stuff out of which an amused and joyful God writes on our fleshy hearts about the Kingdom (Kindom) coming.

 

 

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