Pax Christi Tampa Bay E-mail Newsletter
WEEKLY EVENTS CALENDAR
- If Trump Fires Mueller
- Get Out the Vote Pinellas Conference
- St. Pete City Budget Open House and People’s Budget
- Nakba 70th anniversary observance
- Laundry Love
- Kings Bay Plowshares indicted
The Kings Bay Plowshares have been indicted for their action at the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. Details and updates, including a press release and an article from the local newspaper, are at the end of the newsletter.
Other items include a get-out-the-vote workshop, Laundry Love for people experiencing homelessness, observing of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, when Palestinians were forced to leave their homes, and more.
Pax Christi Tampa Bay
WEEKLY ONGOING EVENTS
MISSIO DEI SUNDAY DINNER: Missio Dei is a small church that meets in the refurbished corner of a warehouse at 1330 Burlington Avenue N. (map; the entrance is on 2nd Avenue on the south side of the building.) They serve a meal after their worship service. The congregation is largely homeless or precariously housed.
The service begins at 5:30 PM; the dinner begins at 6:30. For information on how you can help prepare, serve, or financially support the meal, contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088.
RESIST TRUMP TUESDAYS AT SENATOR MARCO RUBIO’S NEW OFFICE:
Indivisible and other local activist groups gather outside Marco Rubio’s office in the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Court House, 801 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa, FL 33602 (map). The protest is every Tuesday, 10:30-11:30 AM. Bring signs, or the Indivisible organizers can provide them. There is parking around the courthouse and the meters take credit cards. For more information (FMI): email@example.com
WEEKLY SARASOTA DEMONSTRATION: Activists from Veterans for Peace and Manasota Pax Christi, among other groups, will demonstrate for peace through justice from 4:00-5:00 PM every Tuesday in downtown Sarasota along Bayfront Drive/N. Tamiami Trail near its intersection with Gulfstream Drive (map). The demonstration is south of Unconditional Surrender, the “kissing statue.” FMI: Russ at Rjbannerusa@gmail.com
PEACE FIRST: During every Wednesday in May, will be at the corner of 38th Avenue and 4th Street North in St. Petersburg every Wednesday from 4:30-5:30 PM (map). There are a McDonald’s, a Burger King and a Chase Bank at this intersection.
They will focus on gun violence and other issues. Bring a sign, or they will provide one.
The group eats at a restaurant in an “after party” following the demonstration. For more information (FMI): SMcCown@tampabay.rr.com
PEACE MEDITATION: Biweekly meditation for peace every other Wednesday at 7:00 PM (May 16 and 30) at Sacred Lands, 1620 Park Street N. in St. Petersburg, Florida 33710-4348 For more information: http://www.sacredlandspreservationandeducation.org/; 727-367-3592 or 347-0354
FRIDAY NIGHT PICNIC ON THE PLAYGROUND IN ST. PETE: The Friday Night Picnic is a potluck picnic for hungry people, most of whom are low income or experiencing homelessness. The picnic continues to need potluck food, beverages, picnic supplies, and volunteers. The picnic, which serves over 100 people a week, is at 6:00 PM every Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 719 Arlington Avenue N. at Mirror Lake Drive in downtown St. Petersburg. FMI: http://uustpete.org/2014/09/17/friday-picnic-playground or (973) 768-3256.
WEEKLY BREAKFAST: Loaves and Fishes is a breakfast held at Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday mornings. Volunteers serve a full hot breakfast to over 150 people. The breakfast is held on the third floor of Trinity Lutheran Church, 401 4th Avenue North in St. Petersburg.
The breakfast runs from 7:30-10:30 AM, and volunteers can participate with some or all of the breakfast. Please contact Anita Podgwaite at (727) 565-8742 or G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 to help.
- IF TRUMP FIRES MUELLER: If President Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller, Indivisible FL-13 will sponsor an emergency rally in Demen’s Landing, St Petersburg:
- If Trump fires Mueller BEFORE 2:00 PM, meet at 5:00 PM
- If Trump fires Mueller AFTER 2:00 PM, meet at NOON of following day.
Indivisible FL-13 will send an email notification and post it on Twitter and Facebook.
Indivisible FL-13 Contact Information:
Indivisible FL-13 on Facebook
Indivisible FL-13 on Twitter
Email Indivisible FL-13 at firstname.lastname@example.org
- GET OUT THE VOTE PINELLAS
Friday, May 11, 2018 6:30-8:30 PM
Allendale Methodist Church
3803 Haines Rd N, St. Petersburg FL 33703
Pinellas County progressive organizations with Get Out the Vote Pinellas will help people connect, make a plan, and get training for the upcoming election. Workshops include organizing neighborhoods, understanding the Constitutional Review Commission ballot, issue-based canvassing, mindfulness for activists, and more. This workshop is important because:
- One in three new registered voters will vote in the next election
- Mail-in ballots can result in a double-digit increase in registered voter turnout
- Face to face issue-based contact is a proven way to get people out to vote
- 60% of mail in ballot voters fill their ballot out the day it is received and mail it back in
Information and registration are here; Facebook invitation is here
Sponsored by Fired Up Pinellas, Indivisible-13 and Women’s March St Pete/Pinellas.
- FY2019 St. Petersburg City Budget Open House
Monday, May 14 6:00 PM
535 Fourth Ave. N., St. Petersburg FL 33701
Citizens can discover how city leaders create an annual city budget and learn next year’s spending priorities during the FY2019 City Budget Open House.
The open house allows citizens one-on-one access with Mayor Rick Kriseman, Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin, City Council members and senior administrators.
Staff from City Development, Public Works, Public Safety, Neighborhood Affairs, Leisure Services, and General Government will also be available to answer citizen questions from 6:00-6:30 p.m.
Following the breakout session, Budget Director Liz Makofske will present an overview of the budget process and explain city spending priorities. Citizens will then have an opportunity to comment before City Council members share their thoughts on the proposed budget.
The People’s Budget Review, a local budget activist group, is working to make St. Petersburg better for all its citizens. Their Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/peoplesbudgetreview/
- NAKBA 70TH ANNIVERSARY OBSERVATION
Tuesday, May 15 4:30-5:30 PM
Corner of 49th Street and Park Boulevard
Pinellas Park, FloridaMay 15, 2018 is the 70th Anniversary of Nakba, the Arabic word for Catastrophe, when Palestinian families were force to leave their homes. Interfaith Alliance for Peace in the Holy Land will observe the anniversary with a peaceful demonstration holding signs on the corner of Park Blvd. and 49th St. on Tuesday, May 15th (map here). The demonstration will be followed by dinner at a local restaurant. Please join the Alliance and help make people aware of the injustices and oppression that the Palestinian people continue to suffer. FMI: email@example.com.
SOAP AND PIZZA: MONTHLY FREE LAUNDRY
Monday, May 28, 6:30-8:00 PM
Coin laundry at 365 8th St S, St Petersburg, Florida (map).
Imagine being homeless and living in unwashed clothes for days on end.Laundry Love Projects are regular opportunities to help financially struggling people do their laundry. There are now over two hundred projects nationwide.
Locally, Laundry Love is sponsored by the Missio Dei and takes place the last Monday of every month. Organizers and their supporters provide soap, coins and pizza for those washing their clothes.
Each Laundry Love costs around $200. FMI on how you or your group can support and participate, contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES
On the evening of April 4th, the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the Kings Bay Plowshares, seven Catholic Worker peace activists, entered the Trident submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia, the largest nuclear submarine base in the world, to hang banners, string crime scene tape and pour their own blood on facilities at the base.
Below are updates from the Plowshares, including a press release announcing their indictment and an article from the Tribune and Georgian, the local newspaper.
May 4, 2018
For more information contact:
Jessica Stewart: 207.266.0919
Paul Magno: 202.321.6650
Brian Hynes: 718. 838.2636
Kings Bay Plowshares Indicted in Southern District of Georgia Federal Court
On April 4, 2018, the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Liz McAlister, 78, Stephen Kelly S.J., 70, Martha Hennessy, 62, Clare Grady, 58, Patrick O’Neill, 62, Mark Colville, 55, and Carmen Trotta, 55, entered the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. Carrying hammers and bottles of their own blood, the seven sought to enact and embody the prophet Isaiah’s command to: “Beat swords into plowshares.” In so doing, they were upholding the US Constitution through its requirement to respect treaties, international law through the UN Charter and Nuremburg principles, and higher moral law regarding the sacredness of all creation. They hoped to draw attention to and dismantle what Dr. King called, “the triple evils” of racism, militarism, and extreme materialism.
In an indictment filed this week in the Southern District of Georgia, Brunswick division, the seven were charged with four counts: Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Station, Depredation of Government Property, and Trespass. They will appear before a magistrate in Brunswick on May 10th. Although currently being held at the Camden County jail in Woodbine, Georgia, they expect to be acquitted of all charges. Attorney William P. Quigley, Professor of Law at Loyola University, New Orleans, LA, noted, “These peace activists acted in accordance with the 1996 declaration of the International Court of Justice that any threat or use of nuclear weapons is illegal.”
Kings Bay Naval base opened in 1979 as the Navy’s Atlantic Ocean Trident port. It is the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. The Kings Bay Plowshares hope to draw attention not only to the threat of nuclear annihilation posed by the weapons aboard the submarines whose homeport is Kings Bay, but to emphasize how the weapons kill every day. Clare Grady wrote from Camden Country jail, “We say, ‘the ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide’, and yet, the explosive power of this weapon is only part of what we want to make visible. We see that nuclear weapons kill every day by their mere existence. We see the billions of dollars it takes to build and maintain the Trident system as stolen resources, which are desperately needed for human needs. In response to news of the indictment, Mark Colville, of New Haven, Connecticut, wrote from the Camden County Jail, “Once again the federal criminal justice system has plainly identified itself as another arm of the Pentagon by turning a blind eye to the criminal and murderous course from which it has repeatedly refused to desist for the past 70 years.”
For more information visit their facebook page: Kings Bay Plowshares.
PLOWSHARES : WHO ARE THEY? WHAT DO THEY WANT?
BY: JILL HELTON
(Appeared in Tribune & Georgian, St.Marys, GA newspaper)
It could have been a dinner party at any Camden County home.
As southern Georgians do, they opened their potluck gathering on Friday evening with prayer. With plates of hors d’oeuvres and half full glasses of wine, the guests assembled around the living room for some engaging conversation.
Yet these party guests may not have been welcome in every Camden County home.
This was a gathering for members of the Kings Bay Plowshares, who visited the area to support the anti-nuclear protestors who were arrested at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base earlier this month. They are part of an international Plowshares movement that wants to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command to “beat swords into plowshares.”
The full verse from Isaiah 2:4 (KJV) states, “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
Seven of their members, all Roman Catholic, remain in jail this week after bond was denied in Camden County Magistrate Court. They illegally entered the base on April 4 and staged protests into the early morning hours of April 5 at three areas of the installation: the nuclear weapons storage bunkers, the D5 missile monument and the administration building.
Carrying bottles full of their own blood and hammers, they “attempted to convert weapons of mass destruction,” according to a press release from the organization. The activists defaced the properties with what appears to be their blood, spray-painted messages like “love one another” on sidewalks and pounded with their hammers in a symbolic gesture.
Mark Colville, 55, of New Haven, Conn.; Clare Grady, 59, of Ithaca, N.Y.; Martha Hennessy, 62, of Perkinsville, Vt.; Steve Kelly, 69 of Los Gatos, Calif.; Elizabeth McAlister, 78, of Baltimore, Md.; Patrick O’Neill, 61, of Garner, N.C.; and Carmen Trotta, 55, of New York City; were charged in Camden County Superior Court with interference with government property, possession of tools for the commission of a crime, both felonies, and criminal trespass, a misdemeanor. No federal charges have been filed.
Several Camden County citizens have voiced their outrage on social media because they feel the group wrongly characterizes its demonstrations as non-violent.
“I am all for freedom of speech and expression but there is a time and place. Entering without authorization and vandalizing is not part of it,” said Andrew Bellendir of Kingsland, whose letter to the editor was published in a recent edition.
The Tribune & Georgian Facebook page also elicited mostly negative comments about the seven offenders and their detention at the Camden County jail.
Various peace groups have protested the nuclear weapons on base since the early 1980s with few incidents and appear to be mostly tolerated as they picket at the front gate of the base.
The Plowshares’ actions drew a stronger response, in part because laws were broken, but also because blood can contain disease-causing pathogens and hammers can be used to cause grave bodily injury.
However, they don’t put much into the idea that Camden County citizens, even those who live on base, might be legitimately disturbed or fearful of their safety because of the protest.
Plowshares’ member Bill Streit said he was sorry for anyone who truly felt threatened by the demonstrators, but questioned how one could be fearful of a hammer but not the destructive power of the missiles at Kings Bay. He said it shows how skewed and numb people have become about weapons of mass destruction.
“(The hammers) are not used against any human being,” he said. “Our souls are messed up when we are more afraid of Christians with bolt cutters,” Streit said.
When a reporter suggested that others don’t know what there intent might be, group members emphasized that the hammer was an essential element of this symbolic action.
“Hammers are also used to build things,” added Beth Brockman from Durham. N.C.
In the book, “Religion and War Resistance in the Plowshares Movement,” Plowshares activist Mary Sprunger-Froese explained why they use human blood.
“War has been sanitized … because we mostly do it through our technology and satellite surveillance. Back when people [fought] hand to hand, you would see the blood and gore and you would see the consequences,” she said. “Now we’re so far removed and we watch war coverage on TV like it’s a miniseries. That’s so desensitizing, deadening. So when we use blood, it has a very powerful effect. … The blood is very real, very arresting, shocking, and in your face. It says, ‘This is what we’re talking about — human life.’ All this technology is made to destroy it, to spill human blood.”
The activists realize that some of the blood that is spilled may be their own.
Group members said those who demonstrate spend up to a year preparing with prayer, fasting, political analysis and other rituals before attempting to breach sensitive areas that are often guarded with armed Marines.
The group shared the thoughts of Elizabeth McAlister, one of those arrested, on their Facebook page after the demonstration:
“We raise our voices in a cry to dismantle the weapons — all of them — and we risk life and limb and our future hopes to make this plea: ‘dismantle the weapons.’
“Admirals at Kings Bay, you must know as well or better than we, that the payload of your six Tridents is more than enough to obliterate all life on Earth. We plead with you to examine your priorities. Is this really what you want to be about?
“How can you look at your children and grandchildren and continue to grease the wheels of destruction. Turn it around before it is too late …”
The Plowshares organization has protested at about 100 installations around the world and some of the support team members have themselves been arrested in similar operations. If the trial for the seven base protestors is set in Camden County, the Plowshares said many more peace activists will come to the community in a show of support for the accused.
The Plowshares’ press release said they selected the Georgia base as a demonstration site because April 4 was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.
Robert Randall, a support team member from Glynn County, said Dr. King was also characterized as radical or even violent because of his actions during the early days of the civil rights movement. He preached nonviolence through sit-ins and marches.
“We want to make sure that message does not get lost,” Randall said.
Streit said he understands that abolishing nuclear weapons is an unpopular proposition in a community where the economy is so heavily dependent on that military program.
“To them, it would be a radical way of thinking,” he said. “We are hoping to reach hearts.”
Brockman said the money spent on the nuclear weapons program could address an endless list of public needs, such as hunger and homelessness.
It seemed to matter little that the group would be fighting an uphill battle to grow its membership in Camden County.
They point to the teachings of Jesus Christ and question how any Christian could feel differently. To them, this is just following the path upon which their faith has placed them.
“We’re not really in charge,” Streit said. “We just do what is right, just and good and then we leave it in better hands than ours.”