Good afternoon, Judge Wood, Mr. Knoche, and Mr. Gilully, and greetings to all the women and men who work in the courtroom there in Georgia. Also, greetings to all those who are listening in to these sentencing hearings on your phones. Your presence as attendees and witnesses to this procedure, as we work together to seek Justice, is essential. Without your participation we might lose sight of the nature of a government of the People, for the People, and by the People. I come before the court today ready for sentencing. May my words and spirit today be rooted in truth with love, the two elements of non-violence. I have come up with about 12 things that I would like to share today at my sentencing hearing.
1. I am a mother, I can’t think of anything that has shaped me more than being a mother. The awe of bearing my children, birthing, nursing and attending them as they grew and continue to grow, was and continues to be the biggest blessing in my life.
2. I have a big family, with siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews, and, great nieces and nephews, each of them, all of them precious and dear to me.
3. I love the Bible and all efforts to come together to live the call to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
4. I love people, …it’s a family thing… many of us are in hospitality in one form or another, or service, of cars, health care, elder care, farming or teaching: music and dance, advocacy,… it’s all about people… it’s all about well-being… it’s all about joy…and, it’s about justice.
5. I love gardening, growing food and flowers, being outside, working in the soil, working in the community garden alongside other gardeners, many of them from other lands, where they never lost the wisdom of gardening with grandma’s and grandpa’s, and children and grandchildren. It is music to my ears to hear my neighbors working and laughing and tending to each other, as they tend to the garden, while speaking in their native tongues.
6. I love Loaves and Fishes, the community kitchen herein Ithaca where I live. I began cooking and eating at Loaves in the late ’80s, and eventually became a kitchen coordinator for many years during my children’s childhood. The delicious meals made from the shared abundance in our community and the spirit with which it is shared has been life-changing for me. The ministry is not just to care for those without food, but to provide a place where those of us with food can break bread together, share lives, share resources, and build community. Recognizing our common need for a common table. It is a place that offers blessing to all of us who enter the doors, and, offers each of us the possibility to be part of the beloved community.
7. I love the mission statement of Loaves and Fishes from Matthew 25. I especially hold the part that says, “whatsoever we do to the least, that we do to Jesus.” The Bible passage tells us a little about the least, that they are those without food, drink, clothes, those without health care, without welcome, and the imprisoned. I add to this list of the “least”, those who are being killed, ESPECIALLY THOSE BEING KILLED IN OUR NAME. Because, when we kill others and harm others, we do that to Jesus. I believe it is a Christian calling to withdraw consent, interrupt our consent, from killing in our name. To do so is an act of Love, an act of justice, a sacred act that brings us into right relationship with God and neighbor.
This is what brings me before this court today for sentencing. It is the consequence of my choice to join friends to undertake an action of sacramental, non-violent, symbolic, disarmament because the Trident at Kings Bay is killing and harming IN MY NAME. To be clear, these weapons are not private property. They belong to the people of the United States. They belong to me, to you, to us. These weapons kill and cause harm in our name, and with our money.
This omnicidal weapon doesn’t just kill IF it is launched, it kills every day. Indigenous people are, and, continue to be some of the first victims of nuclear weapons. The mining, refining, testing and dumping of radioactive material for nuclear weapons ALL happens on Native Land. The trillions of dollars spent on nuclear weapons is resource STOLEN from the planet and her people. It would be valuable to calculate or even contemplate that harm. The late Sister Rosalie Bertell, devoted her work as a scientist and epidemiologist to raising public awareness about the destruction of the biosphere and human gene pool, especially by low-level radiation. As a result of her decades of study of the data, Rosalie estimated that millions of people worldwide have died from low-level radiation, since the dawn of the Nuclear Age and the release of ionizing radiation. And, as Daniel Ellsberg says in his book that we brought to Kings Bay,” Nuclear weapons are used the same way a cocked gun is used, even if it is never fired. If you hold it to someone’s head, YOU ARE USING THAT GUN!” Every judge in the land knows that.
It is because we know all this, that we are moved by conscience and by our religion, to take responsibility to withdraw our consent, to disarm, to shine the light of truth upon this violence.
8) I hold great value in due process. I put great value in hearing the truth, the whole truth, and hearing more than one side. I especially want to know what is being left out. I must say, that my experience in our case, is that the Supreme Laws of the land have been left out. Article VI, section 2 of our US Constitution states that every treaty, pact, and protocol that is signed and ratified, becomes the Supreme Laws of the Land. The bible says that Law is here to serve humanity, not the other way around. And as we know, if we are honest, Law has to catch up in recognizing the humanity of all people. Only after great struggle by the people who have been left out, has Law evolved to include them. Law is not monolithic. Law evolves as human consciousness evolves.
As for these Supreme Laws of our land, the treaties that guide us in matters of war and peace, this is what I know. After two world wars in the last century that saw the killing of millions and millions of people, we joined in deciding that it is illegal to kill civilians. It is illegal to use weapons that do not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants. It is illegal to use weapons that poison the air, water, and land. It is illegal to strike first. It is illegal to wage a war of aggression. Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction. They violate each and every one of these treaties. Going one step further, it was decided after WWII, that citizens are responsible for the crimes of their government.
This legal development resonates with spiritual truths with the same mandate that I have already mentioned.
9. I want you to know that I believe in the Golden Rule. Yes! If someone came to my place of work to take responsibility for the crimes within there that were being committed in their name and they brought with them no weapons, no threats, no hostility. If someone came to my place of work and did exactly what I did, and sat peacefully taking responsibility for their action, I would be very moved. Moved to wonder. Moved to question. Moved to listen and maybe even learn what such an act was all about.
10. I do not like jail. I do not like being treated as less than human. I do not like being yelled at all day long. I do not like being cold, being hungry, being tired, and overworked. I do not like being separated from my family, from the natural world, to not feel the earth beneath my feet, the sun over my head, the wind on my face. I do not like the violence of being warehoused with fellow women, who need healing and not further harm. I am really scared of being in prison during COVID. I can say with certainty that I have never seen a jail or a prison where you could practice the social distancing that we are told could save our lives during this pandemic. It only adds alarm that I’m 62, I have had melanoma twice in the past 3 years and have been living with the lingering effects of being infected with a tick-borne illness. My immune system is not what it used to be.
11. It turns out though, I learn quite a bit by being on the receiving end of harm, especially harm being done in my name, such as prisons for example.
I have had some profound awakenings in prison, one that seems important to tell often is this; that to the extent that those of us privileged by this system, take responsibility for the big crimes of killing millions and stealing trillions, we will stop scapegoating those on the receiving end of those crimes, those living the legacy of enslavement, of poverty, of genocide.
It’s a bitter thing to be on the receiving end of such things or to even have the teeniest taste of them. But I notice, and I do believe that we cannot have Justice, UNTIL we listen to the voices of those on the receiving end of our big crimes.
As for the crimes of nuclear weapons…. I would like to lift up the voices and experiences of the Hibakusha, the survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Listen to Setsuko Thurlow, a well-known survivor, a leading voice and organizer in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Setsuko gave an acceptance speech for ICAN, as it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017, three and a half months after the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted in July 2017. Listen to the voices of the women from the Global South who have been working to promote this treaty, in particular to Elayne Whyte Gómez, the Costa Rican Ambassador to the UN who presided over the negotiating conference for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Listen to the voices of the indigenous women organizing for the healing of their land and people from the contamination from the Nuclear industry. Leona Morgan, from the Navajo Nation, who has been fighting nuclear colonialism since 2007 and co-founded Diné No Nukes, and Nuclear Issues Study Group. Leona is also part of the international campaign Don’t Nuke the Climate. You can find her work online. It’s very accessible. Listen to the voices of the people of the Marshall Islands, who endured 12 years of testing of nearly 70 nuclear and atomic bombs exploded on, in, and above the Islands, vaporizing whole islands, carving craters into its shallow lagoons and exiling hundreds of people from their homes.
Listen also, to the voices of the Seneca Women, Agnes Williams and Maria Maybe, organizing to clean the contamination of their water and land from the nuclear waste site where they live on Seneca Land at the western door of Haudenosaunee territory, land labeled a sacrifice zone. There are many more voices…that is just a beginning. Before I move on to #12 on my list, I see that it is important too, to Listen to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists who tell us that we are
100 SECONDS to nuclear midnight. Listen to the Pentagon itself! In its own words from the published document “Vision for 2020,” it tells of a vision for the planet where the division between the haves and the have-nots will become ever wider, and in the face of that, the United States needs to come out on TOP. To ensure that end, the Pentagon sees its role in maintaining global dominance, by dominating Earth and Space militarily.
THIS is key for me, as I understand the Giant Triplets, identified by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, on April 4, 1967. Exactly a year before he was killed, Dr. King delivered his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, wherein he identifies the Giant Triplets of Racism, Militarism, and Extreme Materialism. Each of those is deadly in itself, and TOGETHER those triplets are even more deadly. Today we hear the cries across the land to be free from White Supremacy, to be free from economies of greed while so many go without, and to demilitarize our police & our world. Trust and believe. Militarism is the enforcement mechanism for both white supremacy and global capitalism. It is up to us first-world people of privilege to disarm these weapons that perpetuate these triplets. I choose sacramental, nonviolent, symbolic disarmament.
12. With that, I want you to know that Ithaca, where I live, is Cayuga Land. The Cayuga were forcibly removed from this land in 1779 with the Sullivan-Clinton campaign. It was one of the largest military campaigns waged by the Continental Army, where 4,469 troops covered hundreds of miles of Haudenosaunee Territory with orders to destroy villages, homes, crops, orchards, removing the first nation people from their homeland to make way for settlements for what would become New York, one of the first 13 colonies that formed the United States. This major military offensive changed the landscape where I live here in the Finger Lakes, for the next few hundred years, leaving only roadside markers as reminders of the people whose stolen land we live on. In recent years the Cayuga people, are returning to their homeland, they are still a sovereign people. They are still Haudenosaunee, People of the Long House, otherwise known as the Iroquois Confederacy.
They have much to teach us about democracy, about matriarchy, about right relationship with the creator and creation, the centrality of giving thanks, the necessity of considering the wellbeing of the 7th generation, the wisdom that to be human we should never separate our heads from our hearts. I resonate deeply with the Haudenosaunee belief and trust that “Nothing can go against the Good Mind”. It resonates with my trust that ultimately, nothing can go against God’s Will. To Force our will, and go against God’s will, has consequence, all of us humans have experience, perhaps every day, of choosing our own will over and above God’s will. The consequence varies…but it always goes better for the common good, when we do not try to go against God’s will. I see the Trident as the ultimate logic of putting self-will above God’s will, I see it as a violation of that trust in God, a violation of right relationship with God and neighbor and the least. The Trident is the ultimate manifestation, of FORCING our will above GOD’S WILL, and as the banner I carried said “The Ultimate Logic of Trident is Omnicide,” which is the death of all living. This is an unsustainable course… We are either going to continue to clench our need for power and control, to the point of death and the death of all living, or we could choose to let go and let God by disarming and restoring relationships. I am hopeful that we will accept responsibility and turn away from risking the death of all living, by many loving, truthful, just, and creative ways. I am now finished.
God have Mercy on us all and Grant us Peace. Clare