Today (January 15) is Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. Next Monday, January 19, people all over America will celebrate Dr. King through a wide variety of activities. As I researched activities across the nation, I noticed that the vast majority (indeed, nearly every one) involved service of one sort or another - volunteering at a food bank or participating in an environmental or urban restoration project.
While it pleases me to see people doing something positive for people and our planet on such a day, there is another way to honor the memory of a person who spoke out (as one of the greatest prophets of our time) not just against racism, but also against militarism, which he found to suck the life out of everything it touched; it was as he said, "the enemy of the poor". In his Beyond Vietnam speech in 1967, Dr. King spoke out against war with great certainty. You can read more about this speech at my Subversive Peacemaking Blog.
This Monday a group of dedicated peace activists and nuclear weapons abolitionists will gather as we do every year to honor Dr. King in our unique way - in a vigil and nonviolent resistance action at the gates of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor (just east of Seattle, Washington), home of the West Coast Trident nuclear submarine fleet, one of the largest concentrations of (and the deadliest) nuclear weapons on earth. We will honor the legacy of one of the world's great peacemakers by bearing witness to (and resisting) the nuclear weapons with which the United States threatens the world with utter devastation and extinction.
Each Trident nuclear submarine carries enough nuclear armed Trident missiles to destroy an entire continent. These Cold War ("first strike") weapons still prowl the world's ocean's, ready to launch at the president's command.
Dr. King once said that, “We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.” The members of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action choose nonviolent coexistence, and reject violence and the tools of annihilation. And so, on Monday, January 19 (and throughout the year), we will stand up for peace and non-violence and call for an end to not only Trident, but all nuclear weapons.
This is how we will honor Dr. King. Won't you join us?
Click here for more information on Monday's vigil and a schedule of activities.