I don’t usually post announcements and logistical information on my blog, but our coming Good Friday service at Beale needs a prominent place where people can find it easily. So here it is!
You are invited to join a group of peacemakers on Good Friday, April 18 at 3 p.m., as we gather at the Main Gate of Beale Air Force Base, in the shadow of killer drones, modern day equivalents of the cross. Internationally recognized peace activist Kathy Kelly, twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, will join us there. Kathy has a new post up on CounterPunch today, titled “We Don’t Want You to Swim in the River.“
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. We will gather to pray, to act, and to build a community of peace. All people, regardless of spiritual or philosophical perspective, are welcome to join us.
1) Prayer Service: The prayer service will include songs, prayer, Holy Communion, and reflections by Kathy Kelly. It can get hot in the sun, so bring folding chairs, hats, and/or sunscreen. 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 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.
In addition to praying for the victims of US drones, we will acknowledge our complicity and pray for those who have suffered and who suffer now from the harm caused by the system of domination of which we are a part: for the harm done to the Indigenous people who used to live where Beale is now, the harm being done to Mother Earth by our building and deploying high-tech weapons and weapons of mass destruction, the harm done to families and communities who suffer cutbacks in public services while billions are spent for the military, the overall harm caused by the global reach of US military power. We will also pray for drone operators and all in the military, all service personnel, veterans, policy-makers, and all who are caught up in harmful systems, including those of us who are beneficiaries of the status quo.
2) Nonviolent Action: Following the service, some may cross the demarcation line onto Beale property in an attempt to deliver a letter and statement, “A Call from the Faith Based Community to Stop Drone Killings,” to the base commander. Some may then kneel in prayer. Those who cross the line will (no doubt) be detained.
The Reverends Pedersen, Griswold, and Delgado were detained on March 5, Ash Wednesday, for crossing the demarcation line. Also detained 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.
As for the consequences of taking such action: The charges against several protesters have been dropped, and the cases that have gone to trial have (so far) all resulted in sentences of just 10 hours of community service. In the past two nonviolent direct actions at Beale, arrestees have been fingerprinted, photographed, and returned within the hour. Citations have not been issued. Of course, past consequences are no guarantee.
If you are considering being a part of this action, bring a valid ID and a support person who has your personal information. Legal observers will be present, and a team of pro-bono lawyers is standing by.
3: Community Building: Gather at The Brick Coffee House in Marysville between 1:30 and 2 if you want to meet others and join a car caravan out to the Main Gate. The caravan will leave at 2:30 sharp. Following the Beale actions we will set up tables in front of the Main Gate for a potluck. Bring folding chairs or a blanket and some simple food to share. Bring a song if you like! Mosquito repellent comes in handy, as do flashlights if you stay late.
For a theological rationale of this Good Friday Action, see Sharon Delgado’s blog posting “Why I’ll be at Beale on Good Friday.”
To keep up with details, contact us at email@example.com.
Kathy Kelly will also be preaching at the Good Friday Action at Lawrence Livermore Lab on the morning of April 18. Some of us will be driving up to Beale with Kathy following this action. We could easily arrange a car caravan if others want to join us.
She 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. Find out more a the FaceBook event Kathy Kelly to Speak in Grass Valley or at Earth Justice Ministries April Projects and Campaigns.
Here is a video of the Ash Wednesday service and action. To find out more about the Ash Wednesday worship and arrests at Beale, previous nonviolent direct actions at Beale, and the outcome of trials, check out Sharon Delgado’s blog postings about drones.
Special feature about drone demonstrations at Beale dominated the front and back pages of the Sacramento Bee’s Sunday paper on March 31st.
Here is a video uploaded from my presentation at Parkside Community Church (UCC), titled “The Role of Nonviolent Direct Action in Christian Peacemaking.” I hope it inspires you.
Carpools, car caravans: There will be a car caravan from the K-Mart Shopping Center in Grass Valley, meeting at 2 p.m., leaving at 2:15 sharp. Contact Paula or Jerome Orloff (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 272-7019 to reserve a space. The car caravan from The Brick in Marysville will leave for Beale at 2:30 sharp. Flora will meet people there. The carpool, caravan from Livermore will leave by 12:30 p.m.
Concerns about Bathrooms: Yuba College is about a mile down North Beale Road in the other direction. There are bathrooms at the side entrance of the administration and there is a cafeteria also.
Directions to The Brick Coffeehouse from State Highway 70 W: Take the 3rd Street Exit (right), turn left onto D Street, to 316 D.
Getting Lost: If you get lost on the way to Beale, call Shirley by cell phone at 941-320-0291.
Directions to the Main (Schneider) Gate: 4875 N. Beale Road.
From Sacramento Take I-80 to I-5 north of Sacramento, almost immediately after leaving I-80, take exit 525B to transfer to Hwy 99, continue 12.5. mi. and stay right to transfer onto Hwy 70, continue about 20 miles, exit at Feather River Blvd., just after the Erle Rd. exit. Do not take the 1st Feather River Blvd. which is about 10 miles earlier! (note sign to Beale AFB), turn right at ramp, You’ll be facing Burger King, across the street, a good bathroom stop. If you don’t cross the intersection, turn immediately right at the light (Lindhurst Ave.) and left at 2nd light to get on N. Beale Rd. Continue on N. Beale Rd. for over 6 miles. It dead ends at the Gate Entrance. Parking on left side of Rd. near the gate.
From Grass Valley: Take the Highway 20 Exit toward Marysville. Go approximately 15 miles until you see the sign “to Beale Air Force Base,” then turn left onto Hammonton-Smartville Road (the name of the road is abbreviated on the sign). After about eight miles you will pass the Doolittle gate, then in three miles or so you will get to Brophy. Turn left onto Brophy, and take it a mile or two all the way to to the end, where it stops at North Beale Road. North Beale is not marked, and there is a misleading sign on the frontage road that says “Jewett Road.” But turn left at the “T” (it is North Beale) and go 2 to 3 miles to the Schneider Gate. Park on the left side of the road.
Follow Sharon’s blog by clicking the “Follow Sharon Delgado” button at the right or by “liking” the Shaking the Gates of Hell FaceBook page.