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Good Friday Anti-Drone Vigil To Be Held At Beale Air Force Base

On April 18 at 3 p.m., Internationally recognized peace activist Kathy Kelly will join anti-drone demonstrators at the Schneider (Main) Gate of Beale Air Force Base at a Good Friday prayer service followed by nonviolent action.  Organizers say that they are gathering at Beale, “in the shadow of killer drones, modern day equivalents of the cross, to pray, to act, and to build a community of peace.”  There have been frequent anti-drone demonstrations at Beale, home of the Global Hawk Drone, a  surveillance drone that assists in finding targets for armed Predator and Reaper drones.

The prayer service will include songs, prayer, Holy Communion, and reflections by Kathy Kelly.   The following clergy will lead the service:

The Reverend Dr. Gerald O. (Jerry) Pedersen, former U.S. Marine, present as part of the Honor Guard on the U.S.S. Missouri during the surrender of the Japanese at the end of World War II, retired Lutheran pastor, Sacramento, author of Unfinished Journey:  From War to Peace, From Violence to Wholeness, member Veterans for Peace.

The Reverend Elizabeth Griswold, pastor of Parkside Community Church, UCC, in Sacramento.

The Reverend John Auer, retired United Methodist Pastor, Wesley UMC, Fresno, California.

The Reverend Sharon Delgado, retired United Methodist Pastor, founding director of Earth Justice Ministries, author of Shaking the Gates of Hell:  Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization, in Nevada City, California.

Following the service, some demonstrators may cross the demarcation line onto Beale property in an attempt to deliver a letter and attached statement,   “A Call from the Faith Based Community to Stop Drone Killings,” to the base commander.

The Reverends Pedersen, Griswold, and Delgado were detained on March 5, Ash Wednesday, for crossing the demarcation line.  Also arrested were Flora Rodgers of Linda and Michael Kerr, a member of Veterans for Peace from Bay View/Pittsburg.  The demonstrators carried crosses and sprinkled ashes representing children killed by U.S. drones.   See a video of the arrests here.

Kathy Kelly is coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.  In 2011, Kathy Kelly was a passenger on “The Audacity of Hope,” the U.S. boat in the international flotilla to break the illegal occupation of Gaza.  She has taken nine trips to Afghanistan, where she has lived alongside ordinary Afghan people in Kabul.  She has joined activists in the United States to protest drone warfare outside of military bases in Nevada, upstate New York, and Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

Kathy formerly coordinated Voices in the Wilderness.  From 1996 to 2003, the organization formed 70 delegations that openly defied economic sanctions by bringing medicines to children and families in Iraq.  Kathy and other members lived in Baghdad throughout the 2003 “shock and awe” bombing.  They have also lived alongside people in war zones in Gaza, Lebanon, Bosnia, and Nicaragua.  She has spend time in prison for planting corn on nuclear missile silo sites and for crossing the line at Fort Benning’s military training school. She is a war tax refuser.

She has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Kathy Kelly will also be speaking in Grass Valley the following day, April 19, at 1 p.m. at Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters, Tomes, at 671 Maltmann Drive in Grass Valley.

Photo of Kathy Kelly

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