Kathy Kelly Imprisoned after Delivering Bread and Letter to U.S. Military Base

Peace Activist Kathy Kelly (left) with Nuria Mustafa (centre) and Jack Hynes (right) at Afri's 2003 Famine Walk in Mayo.
Peace Activist Kathy Kelly (left) with Nuria Mustafa (centre) and Jack Hynes (right) at Afri’s 2003 Famine Walk in Mayo. Photo: Derek Speirs

Former speaker at Féile Bríde, Kathy Kelly has just begun a 3-month prison term, having been arrested when she went to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to the commander of Whiteman Air Force base Missouri, which operates drones over Afghanistan.

Here is an update from Voices for Creative Nonviolence, the organisation of which Kathy is the Co-ordinator:-

Co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Kathy Kelly will turn herself in to the federal prison camp in Lexington, KY on Friday, January 23. She will begin serving a three-month sentence for her June 1, 2014 protest of drone killings at Whiteman Air Force Base, in Missouri. 

Kelly asserts that drone warfare jeopardizes the security of ordinary people and that the U.S. Constitution protects her right to assemble peaceably for redress of grievance.  She was arrested  when she went with Georgia Walker and other activists to the gates of Whiteman Air Force Base  to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to the commander of the base, which operates drones over Afghanistan. At her trial in December, Federal Magistrate Matt Whitworth found her guilty and sentenced her to three months.

Before leaving Chicago for Lexington Kelly wrote, “When I was imprisoned at Lexington prison in 1988, after a federal magistrate in Missouri sentenced me to one year in prison for planting corn on nuclear missile silo sites, other women prisoners playfully nicknamed me “Missiles.”  One of my sisters reliably made me laugh today, texting me to ask if I thought the women this time would call me “Drones.” 
It’s good to laugh and feel camaraderie before heading into prison.  For someone like me, very nearly saturated in “white privilege” through much of this arrest, trial, and sentencing process, 90% (or more) of my experience will likely depend on attitude. 
But, for many of the people I’ll meet in prison, an initial arrest often begins with something like a “night raid” as armed police surround homes, burst in, remove their prisoner from children and families, often with helicopters overhead, and then sequester the prisoner in a county jail, often with very little oversight to assure that guards and wardens treat the prisoner fairly.  Some prisoners will not have had a chance to see their children before being shipped clear across the country.  Some will not have been given adequate medical care as they adjust to life in prison, possibly going without prescribed medicines and often traumatized by the sudden dissolution of ties with family and community.  Some will not have had the means to hire a lawyer and may not have learned much about their case from an overworked public defender. 

If people ask how to support Kathy Kelly while she is away, she suggests assisting the Afghan Peace Volunteers  and considering involvement in and support for Shut Down Creech, March 4-6.  
In winter 2014, the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APV) started their street kids project with 21 local children.  Now they are able to provide 30 children with one day a week of school, teaching basic literacy, math and global awareness. The children’s families receive a sack of flour and a tin of oil each month. The APV are working to increase the program to serve a greater number of children and families, and provide additional days of schooling each week.
Donations to support the school can be sent by check to Voices for Creative Nonviolence, 1249 West Argyle St. #2, Chicago, IL 60640. Please note “street kids” in the memo.
While she is in prison, Kathy can receive letters through the mail. If you would like to write, please address your envelope to:

Kathy Kelly  04971-045
FMC Lexington
P.O. BOX 14525

Paperback books may be sent, but only if shipped directly from a publisher or bookstore. (For Bureau of Prisons regulations on sending books, mail and money to inmates click here)

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