➤ CLARE GRADY, from p.11
murder by a white cop just two
blocks from where I live. I looked
out my window and, because of the
life I’d lived, I could see at a glance
the police had done something terrible
— they had killed this Black
man, Shawn Greenwood. I was on
two collectives for justice for him —
this was before Black Lives Matter.
This standing up for racial justice
gets neglected by most of us white
people. Even when we know better,
even when our parents didn’t raise
us like that, we forget that racial
justice is essential.
I was at Standing Rock. My
time working with water protectors
there was profound. The Red
Warrior Camp put out a video and
said, if you do nonviolent direct action,
we want you to come.
Two things to know. One, Standing
Rock resistance was started
by the youth. Two, they explicitly
wanted it to be rooted in prayer.
That was rarely translated by the
time it got to the East Coast. There
was this symbolic action of saying
prayers at the frontline. I’m like, “I
am not Indigenous; this is not my
land. But I’m glad to see people doing
this and not apologizing for it.”
The older I get, I see the swirling
of how the creator connects
us in these weavings. It reinforces
my sense that no one person is expendable,
but no one is carrying it
all, either. Your imagination is not
big enough to carry what’s unfolding.
Holding Back Armageddon
The blood that we poured at
Kings Bay Naval Base? I’m part of
a community where blood is used
as a symbol of atonement. It cuts
through intellectual brain fog. It’s
also not a big deal, the blood’s
drawn by a nurse and it’s stored
carefully. We took a little of our
blood in small bottles, and we took
hammers — household hammers
— and spray-paint and bolt cutters
and banners. We brought three to
You know, the Trident is literally
the most deadly weapon on
this planet. There are 14 Trident
nuclear submarines, with six at
Kings Bay. That’s their homeport.
Our factsheet says, among other
things, that each of those submarines
can carry 24 ballistic missiles.
Each missile can carry up to
eight 100-kiloton nuclear warheads
— or about 30 times the explosive
force of the Hiroshima bomb.
Most people have no idea. Honestly,
I don’t think about it every
day. I try to act humanly in the
face of what I know, and emphasize
the positive part of what I feel
we’re called to do. I’m trusting that
universal spirit is holding back Armageddon
for us to get our stuff
Finally, after centuries of work
by people of color, we have Black
Lives Matter — fi nally, we have
these awakenings. I feel like we’re
on the cusp of something. My hope
is that we start to weave in how
nuclear weapons are connected.
For me, they’re the billy club of the
planet — the enforcement mechanism
of white supremacy and global
capitalism. They’re used, 24/7,
to extract resources, labor, life.
In my sentencing statement I
called on Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam”
speech, where he identifi es
the giant triplets of racism, militarism,
and extreme materialism.
I said I took a nonviolent disarmament
action because the Trident is
killing in my name. It doesn’t just
kill if it’s launched, it kills every
day. Indigenous people are some
of the fi rst victims — the mining,
refi ning, testing, and dumping
of radioactive material for nuclear
weapons happens on Native
I knew, even though the judge
could get pissed off and give me
more time, that I wasn’t just speaking
to the judge. I got 12 months
and a day. I just got the papers, I
report on February 10. They’re
still deciding where to send me. It’s
crazy; I’m really scared of being in
prison during COVID. But people
can get stuck on, “Oh, poor you.”
Actually, it’s all of us. If you have
any kind of privilege or power, use
it because we’re on this cusp now.
Listen to the voices of the Hibakusha,
the survivors of the bombings
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Learn how we’ve used nuclear
weapons — what did that look like?
What does it look like now?
Listen to the scientists who are
telling us, “Hey, we have 100 seconds
to midnight…” Then connect
the dots to Indigenous people and
people of color who have been on
the frontlines of this violence daily.
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