Why Did I Stand In The Road?

Editor’s Note: The following is the statement that Susan Delaney read at a mitigation hearing on November 7, 2017 at Kitsap District Court. Susan and others had entered the roadway carrying banners during a protest vigil at the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base in August. All were cited for being in the roadway illegally and released. Some of the resisters, including DeLaney, appeared in Kitsap District Court to mitigate their charges.

Why Did I Stand In The Road?

I was born in Seattle 70 years ago and in all those years I have been a follower of rules and a law-abiding citizen.  I have never received a citation from the police, not even a traffic ticket.  This is the first time.  So why did I decide to get up early one morning and deliberately break the law?  Why did I go stand in the road?

Let me explain.  Most people in the Seattle area don’t know about the existence of the Bangor Submarine base located right in our front yard.  When the base was being built decades ago, there were big protests against it being constructed here but now that is mostly forgotten.  I believe it is time to remind people that the base is dangerous and very close to home.  And so as a way to call attention to the issue, I decided to stand in the road to see if anyone would want to know why I did that.

What are the dangers of having more than half of our nuclear-armed submarines serviced in one location?  The situation reminds me of Pearl Harbor where the Pacific fleet was concentrated in one

Susan DeLaney, after receiving her citation during the August vigil.

place making it possible for Japan to destroy all the ships in one attack.
In addition to all the nuclear missiles deployed on multiple submarines, Bangor is a storage site for other nuclear weapons.  All of this makes our region a first strike target and an accident waiting to happen.

I have a list here of 75 different military nuclear accidents and those are just the ones that are on the public record.  That says to me that the probability of a significant accident is just a matter of time.  The consequences of an accidental detonation or a release of nuclear materials is terrifying.  These realities must be recognized.  That is why I stood in the road.

There is a great precedent for changing things.  Up until 1991, our country had nuclear bombers on alert in the sky 24 hours a day.  There were numerous accidents and close calls.  A conservative Republican president, George Bush Sr. made the wise decision to end that era.  In 1991 he stood down the bombers.  I still remember hearing about it on the evening news.

It is time to take another big step to make our world a safer place.  Attention must be directed to the problem before people will start figuring out how to change things. I know that my protest was small and that it was not enough but I am not discouraged. Mother Teresa taught us that doing the right thing may not be enough, but that we should do the right thing anyway.  I believe that there is a special responsibility for what happens in our own front yard.  And so that is why I stood in the road.

Susan DeLaney
November 7, 2017

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Rally, March & Hearings for Mothers Day Nuclear Resisters July 25th

Join us on July 25, 2017 for a rally and march to support the activists who were arrested for blocking the gate to Bangor Naval Base on May 13, 2017.

Their mitigation hearings take place at the Kitsap District Court 614 Division Street Port Orchard, WA 98366. The rally begins at noon in the park at Givens Community Center, 1026 Sydney Road Port Orchard 98366. We will march a short distance from there to the Kitsap District Court, arriving there by 1:00 pm. Hearings begin at 1:30 pm. All are welcome to witness the court proceedings. Your supportive presence and participation helps to bring attention to the ferocity of weaponry that can never be used, yet costs billions of dollars to produce and maintain, at the expense of health care, social services, education of our youth . . .

Please watch this beautiful and powerful music video (with music written by Margarita Muñoz, one of the participants in the May 13th nonviolent direct action. Click on this link for “Just Beneath Our Clouds of Grey” music video http://seattlepeacechorus.org/about/ae/just-beneath-our-clouds-of-grey/

Directions to rally: From the “Givens Community Center (1026 Sydney Road) drive north 1/2 block to Kendall, turn left, drive two short blocks to Austin. Parking available at the corner of Kendall / Austin next to the playground.

Proposed walking route to Kitsap County Courthouse: From Kendall / Austin, we will walk north on Austin two blocks to Taylor, turn left, walk one block to Cline, turn right, walk two blocks to Division, turn right and we will arrive to the front of the Kitsap County Courthouse across from the Kitsap County Administration Building.

What… Rally and March to support activists arrested on May 13, 2017
for blocking the gate to Bangor Naval Base

When… July 25, 2017

Time… 12:00 p.m. (rally)
12:30 p.m. (march)
1:00 p.m. (arrive at courthouse)

Where… Rally: Givens Community Center Park (1026 Sydney Road)
March: To Kitsap District Court (614 Division Street Port Orchard, WA 98366)

Questions: Email outreach@gzcenter.org

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April Ground Zero Newsletter, and much more…

Greetings Friends of Ground Zero Center,

As I sit here contemplating the seemingly endless cycle of global violence and the reactive, shortsighted reactions that continue this madness I find myself working hard to stay centered, and I am all the more grateful for the huge community of people who are working on many levels for a nonviolent world at peace with justice for all. We know that war is NOT the answer, and yet the rush to violent “solutions” and war has become the norm. Concepts like diplomacy become meaningless in such a context. We are continuously fed the false narratives that have evolved from our national mythologies, leading us like lemmings to follow in lockstep. The triple evils of Militarism, Racism and Economic Exploitation (that Dr. King warned us about) have helped build the false (and shaky) foundation of the American Empire that is leading not only our own nation, but the rest of the world along with it, toward the brink of disaster.

As we continue to pour all of our energy and capital into fighting the enemies of our own creation, the very real and existential dangers we face – principally global warming/climate change and nuclear war – continue to grow. Those who have the power to face these challenges are abrogating their responsibilities to their own nations, as well as to the rest of humanity. They are, as one infamous leader did in ancient Rome, “fiddling” while the fire burns. In the U.S. President Trump has called for a massive $54 billion military spending boost while gutting domestic programs, along with agencies and programs essential to creating alternatives to war.

Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda has said that “The real struggle of the 21st century will not be between civilizations, nor between religions. It will be between violence and nonviolence. It will be between barbarity and civilization in the truest sense of the word.” So we continue to rise up in speech and action, as civil society, speaking truth to power, calling on those with the power to find their conscience and their common humanity.

At Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, we continue to stay centered and focused on nonviolence and an end to the scourge of nuclear weapons. Join us (and those with whom we work), as you are able, as we continue in our work for a better world.

Ground Zero Newsletter is Ready to Read!  

Click here to read the online April 2017 Ground Zero Newsletter. Thanks to our editor and all who contributed to this quarterly publication that keeps us all connected.

Putting Trident On Trial April 12th

The “Trident Three” trial is still scheduled for 1:30 PM on Wednesday, April 12th at the Tacoma Union Station Courthouse (1717 Pacific Avenue Tacoma). We will hold a vigil in front of the courthouse beginning at 12:00 PM, and a media conference at 12:30. Please check the GZ Events Calendar for more details.

Jump-Starting Earth Day on April 21st

Every day should be Earth Day, and Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and allies are organizing a big (pre) Earth Day event on Friday April 21, 2017 in Seattle. We will gather at Westlake Park at 11:00 am where prayer, drumming, singing, and a variety of speakers from different movements will engage us. From Westlake Park we will march to the Federal Building where we will continue the rally while a delegation meets with Senators Cantwell and Murray and/or their staffs to call for their leadership in the abolition of nuclear weapons. Click here for more information and to download the flyer to share with others.

GZ Mothers Day Event Update

Please plan to join us the day before Mothers Day to celebrate the original intention of Mothers Day for Peace on Saturday, May 13th. The event planners have the full day’s schedule up at the GZ Events Calendar.

The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs in Tacoma, April 30th

There will be a special screening of the new (and not yet released) documentary “The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs” on Sunday April 30th at 4pm at the Father William Bichsel SJ Hall (aka: The Bix), St. Leo Church, 710 S. 13th St., Tacoma. Filmmaker Helen Young will be present for the screening and post-screening conversation, as will some of the activists featured in the documentary. Please join us for this sneak peek of this much anticipated film.

Nuclear Insights: Survivor Stories and Action to Prevent Nuclear War on April 11th

All are invited to a special event, Nuclear Insights: Survivor Stories and Action to Prevent Nuclear War, on April 11th at University of Washington.This event will feature: Yukiyo Kawano, a third generation hibakusha (nuclear bomb survivor) and local artist; Fumi Groves, President of the local Hiroshima Club, incarcerated at a Japanese internment camp, and whose family members died in Hiroshima; Jim Thomas, a life-long peace activist who has traveled to Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and interviews from Hiroshima survivors. Yukiyo Kawano’s life-size soft sculpture of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Little Boy, will also be on display. Sponsored by the University of Washington Global Zero Chapter, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, From Hiroshima to Hope, and Earthcare not Warfare.

Where: The University of Washington, The HUB, Room 145
When: Tuesday, April 11th, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Contact: (206) 462-9238 or lilly@wpsr.org
Food will be provided at the event.
RSVP here: https://goo.gl/forms/4qnfOWQcDZDAqpct2
Here’s the link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/273506446437182/

Tax Day Action in Seattle (April 18th)

Join Veterans For Peace (Seattle Chapter 92) on its annual Tax Day Action on April 18th from 11:30 to 1:30 PM at the Federal Building, 915 2nd Ave, Seattle to raise awareness of how our Government spends our tax dollars and the outrageous amount that goes to the military. This action is also part of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, which is a world wide effort to expose the enormous amount of money the U.S. and other nations spend on their military. Click here for the event page.

Take Action on Nuclear Weapons!

As citizens, there are many ways for us to get involved in reducing, and ultimately eliminating, the threat of nuclear war. We can start by writing to our governmental officials. Click here to take action on any of the more than two dozen current action alerts from many organizations. We also invite you to make personal contact with your members of Congress and/or their staffers. Right now is the perfect time to call your members of Congress as they are coming home for the Spring recess through April 23rd. Click here to find the contact information for The White House, and your members of Congress.

Closing Thoughts…

The first round of negotiations toward a treaty banning nuclear weapons is over and, to quote Ray Acheson of Reaching Critical Will, it was “transformative… not just in terms of banning nuclear weapons, but in terms of international relations and the United Nations more broadly. More than 130 states came together in the absence of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, also known as the “P5”. Even with the opposition of the P5, those present came together in a cooperative spirit, collaborating with civil society to build the elements that can lead to a successful outcome. The President of the conference will prepare a draft text for the treaty before the resumption of negotiations at the UN starting June 15th. This is a most ambitious and important effort, and it is an example of people coming together in our common humanity to build the world envisioned in the founding of the United Nations.

Dr. King reminded us that we have a “choice… nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation.” He also urged us to move to action. Above all he reminded us that those in positions of great power must have: compassion to anchor that power, morality to balance their might, and sight to guide their strength. May we continue to work together, as did those at the UN negotiations, toward the goals we seek and to speak truth to power with unified voice, and may the spirit of nonviolence and peace prevail.

For all of us at Ground Zero Center,


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Resisters’ “Charges dismissed in the interest of justice”

In an extraordinary decision yesterday, Friday, September 30, 2016 a Kitsap County Court Judge dismissed charges against two nuclear resisters.

Sue Ablao and Mack Johnson appeared before Judge Marilyn Paja in Kitsap County District Court on charges of being in the roadway illegally stemming from their nonviolent direct action on August 8th during a vigil at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Main Gate.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Sue Ablao and Mack Johnson blocking the roadway on August 8th

Sue Ablao and Mack Johnson blocking the roadway on August 8th

During the vigil, Ablao and Johnson carried a banner onto the roadway, blocking traffic entering the base. The banner was identical to the bus ad currently running on Seattle Metro Transit buses that reads, “20 miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.” The banner included a map with a line drawn from Bangor to Seattle.

Both were subsequently removed from the roadway by Washington State Patrol officers and issued citations for being in the roadway illegally before being released.

Both Ablao and Johnson appeared in court to mitigate their charges.

At the courthouse; Sue Ablao (l) and Mack Johsnon (r).

At the courthouse on September 30th.

In her statement to the court, Ablao said (in part):

Our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren deserve better. They deserve a life. They deserve a nuclear free world. And that is why I stepped in the road to say, never again, no business as usual, at this base.

Ablao also quoted from a recent Op-Ed in the Seattle Times by David Hall and Leonard Eiger of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action:

The use of nuclear weapons is illegal under international law and humanitarian law – unusable because there is no way to limit escalation, are exorbitantly expensive, and are a massive diversion of human talent and resources away from resources, diplomacy, foreign assistance, innovation and public health.

After listening to each defendant’s testimony, Judge Paja dismissed the infractions for both Ablao and Johnson “in the interest of justice.”  She also thanked them both for their service and action.

And we also thank our fellow resisters for their service and (nonviolent direct) action. Through our continuing and concerted actions may we hasten the day when there will be a totally different, peaceful and sustainable “business” at what is now the Bangor Trident ballistic submarine base.

Click here to read Sue Ablao’s full statement to the court.

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August Resisters in County Court

Ground Zero members Mack Johnson and Sue Ablao were cited by the Washington State Patrol for their nonviolent direct action at the Bangor Trident submarine base during Ground Zero’s August vigil at the Bangor Main Gate.

They will have mitigation hearings on September 30 at 3:00 pm in Kitsap County District Court in Room 104.

They welcome supporters to observe the proceedings.

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