Kathy Kelly has more than paid her dues in the movement for peace through non-violence, putting herself in harm’s way and risking her freedom.
She is the latest endorser of the Iraq Moratorium, a growing grassroots initiative which will be observed on Friday, May 16, as it is on the third Friday of each month. (She explains her endorsement below.)
The co-coordinator of Chicago-based Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Kelly helped initiate Voices in the Wilderness, a campaign to end UN/US sanctions against Iraq in 1996. For bringing “medicine and toys” to Iraq in open violation of the UN/US sanctions, she and other campaign members were fined $20,000, which they’ve refused to pay.
Voices in the Wilderness organized 70 delegations to visit Iraq in the period between 1996 and the beginning of the “Operation Shock and Awe” warfare (March 2003). Kelly has been to Iraq 24 times since January 1996. In October 2002, she joined Iraq Peace Team members in Baghdad where she and the team maintained a presence throughout the bombardment and invasion. Kelly left Iraq on April 19, 2003 and has returned three times, most recently in May of 2006 when she traveled to northern Iraq.
Along with three other Voices activists, Kathy was in Beirut, Lebanon during the final days of the Israel-Hezbollah war in the summer of 2006. (Photo at right.) They subsequently reported from southern Lebanon following a ceasefire.
In the spring of 2004, she served three months at Pekin federal prison for crossing the line as part of an ongoing effort to close an army military combat training school at Fort Benning, GA. In 1988 she was sentenced to one year in prison for planting corn on nuclear missile silo sites. Kelly served nine months of the sentence in Lexington KY maximum security prison.
She is currently organizing Witness Against War 2008,a nonviolent walk for peace from Chicago to the site of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
Kathy Kelly: Why I endorse the Iraq Moratorium