For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Ellen Grady, (607) 279-8303, demottgrady6@gmail.com, Mary Anne Grady Flores, (607) 280-8797, gradyflores08@gmail.com, Jessica Stewart: (207) 266-0919, kingsbayplowshares@gmail.com, Paul Magno, (202) 321-6650, Willa Bickham, Brendan Walsh, (410) 233-0488, VivaCatholicWorker@gmail.com, Max Obuszewski, (410) 323-1607, mobuszewski2001@comcast.net   

Ithaca Catholic Workers

50 Years After Catonsville, Kings Bay Plowshares 7

"Resistance needed to end empire" — interviews available.

 

WASHINGTON - On May 17, 1968, anti-Vietnam War activist Catholics, calling themselves the Catonsville Nine  entered a draft board in Catonsville, Maryland. The nine took hundreds of draft files, brought them to  the parking lot, poured home-made napalm over the files (an incendiary used extensively by the  U.S. military in Vietnam), and set them on fire. Approximately 300 similar actions followed across  the country until the draft ended in 1973. See website with commemorative events  -- Catonsville9.org -- and recent pieces in the Los Angeles Times and the Baltimore Sun. See trailer  of film about the Catonsville Nine and approximately 300 other nation wide draft actions: "Hit and Stay." 

The Catonsville Nine included Daniel Berrigan and Philip Berrigan, both deceased. The widow of Philip,  Elizabeth McAlister, has been in prison since April 5th, as one of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 -- see  KingsBayPlowshares7.org: "Seven Catholic plowshares activists entered Kings Bay Naval Submarine  Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia at dusk on April 4th, 2018. They went to make real the prophet Isaiah’s  command to 'beat swords into plowshares.'      

"The seven, Carmen Trotta, Patrick O'Neill, Martha Hennessy, Liz McAlister, Clare Grady, Fr. Steve  Kelly, and Mark Colville, all Catholic Workers, chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination  of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to highlight what King called the 'triplet evils of militarism, racism  and materialism.' Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to expose  and convert the omnicidal weapons of mass destruction. They hoped to call attention to the ways in  which Trident nuclear subs and nuclear weapons kill every day, by their mere existence and the cost  of their maintenance."     

"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, housing 6 US Tridents, 2 smaller nuclear subs and rents space to  British Tridents." 

Clare Grady, one of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 currently imprisoned, is a member of  the Ithaca Catholic Worker with her sisters, Teresa, Ellen, and Mary Anne, in N.Y.  Their  father, John Peter Grady, was apart of the Camden 28, a group of Catholic left anti-Vietnam War  activists acquitted after executing a raid on a Camden, New Jersey draft board. Ellen spoke  at the opening event commemorating the Catonsville Nine's action earlier this month in Maryland.       

She said today: "Clare is the mother of two daughters. Her husband Paul works with the local  community kitchen. She and the other activists are facing four Federal charges, including most  dangerously, conspiracy. They've been in jail for six weeks with no bail and they've been all been  separated now. Their next hearing is Thursday, May 17th." See piece on the action in the  National Catholic Reporter.       Clare Grady wrote from jail, "The Trident and all nuclear weapons are the cocked gun held to  the head of the planet. These omnicidal weapons embody all 3 of the triplets Dr. King spoke of,  seeking global dominance for resources. This always has a racial dimension effecting people of  color. Black, Brown, Indigenous Peoples are always on the receiving end of deadly force as empire  seeks to maintain its global dominance."  

"We must encourage each other to be the resistance needed to end empire. The U.S. government is  gearing up to spend over a trillions of dollars on more nuclear weapons." said her sister, Mary Anne.      "And the U.S. government's ongoing airwars, like lethal and illegal use of MQ9 Reaper drones  over Afghanistan and elsewhere is another continual killing many are blind to." See the the  The Bureau of Investigative Journalism's page on drone warfare.  

In Baltimore: Bickham and Walsh run the Viva House in Baltimore, which they founded shortly before the Catonsville Nine action and provided support for the that action 50 years ago. See piece in America magazine  Max Obuszewski is with the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, which has been involved in the Catonsville Nine commemberations and organizing recent protests at the headquarters of the National Security Agency nearby.

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