Sunday, January 7, 2018

Trial Family, I Love You #Aegis9

Aegis 9 trial family, I love you. (Ok, one of you is my husband, tireless peaceworker Mark Roman. More on him in a minute.)

After spending the day with you all in a small room at the West Bath District Court, I can honestly say I love you even more. We were there doing jury selection for our trial for alleged criminal trespass at General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works shipyard. How fun is that? A lot more fun than you might think if you're in a room with the right people.

We laughed, we snacked, we worked and, most of all, we cooperated. This is my idea of a blessed community.

Here are the Aegis 9 trial family members as seen through my eyes.

Bob Dale is at the center of the photo above, wearing a blue jacket and holding two walking sticks. Bob wrote this powerful piece "Hudner Protest - A Veteran's Perspective" for the local Times Record about flying a nuclear-capable plane carrying bombs targeting China when he was a Navy pilot in 1953. Now a member of Veterans for Peace, he had this to say about why he was standing in a snowstorm with the rest of us:
We certainly hope to see BIW employees remain gainfully employed. They have the skills to create a more peaceful world, one in which we all can thrive.

This is my love, Mark Roman, reading to our grandson Elliot. Mark did not go in the military but avoided the draft during the Vietnam War by gaining a 4F (physically unfit) designation which card he still proudly displays in his woodworking shop. Mark was active in nuclear power resistance long before I met him on a freezing bridge in February, 2003 protesting the war on Iraq. We have been together ever since. Last summer he was featured in the Morning Sentinel/Kennebec Journal protesting white supremacy after the attacks on people of color in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

You can see some of Mark's delightful design work here: Mark Roman Design.

This is the artist Natasha Mayers. She may be smiling because she is about to get out of the cold and into a warm police van. She is no longer wearing her great BIW carbon footprint sign with its message of the need for conversion to building sustainable energy solutions rather than weapons of mass destruction. Natasha has had an amazing career applying her considerable talents to communicate, often humorously, with the general public. She is a leading force behind the Union of Maine Visual Artists' Rapid Response Team (ARRT!) which has produced many great banners used at BIW over the years.

She is the subject of an upcoming documentary film, Natasha Mayers: An Un-still Life, which you can see a trailer for and support here.

An-gas, aka Jason Rawn, is a tireless communicator who never stops thinking of new ways to alert the public to environmental crisis brought on by corporate government. At our arrest he was channeling one Maine senator, Angus King, while I was channeling Susan Collins. 

Both of us decided to wear corporate logos to indicate how senators are enriched by General Dynamics and in turn make sure the contracts for building weapons continue to flow.

Jason is a permaculture worker, a singer-songwriter for the movement, and a tireless international traveler for peace. This is one of my favorite recent designs by Jason:

Jessica Stewart is the courageous mom who drove hours down the flooded coast the day after "Bombogenesis" with her kids who had a second storm-related day off school.

Jessica is a Catholic Worker who has been part of many civil disobedience actions, sometimes being arrested and at other times providing paralegal support. She runs half marathons in her spare time (haha). Here's a poem she shared online this week with the comment "Happy Three Kings Day!":

WISE WOMEN ALSO CAME by Jan L. Richardson 
Wise women also came.
The fire burned in their wombs long before they saw the flaming star in the sky.
They walked in shadows, trusting the path would open under the light of the moon.
Wise women also came, seeking no directions, no permission from any king.
They came by their own authority, their own desire, their own longing.
They came in quiet, spreading no rumours, sparking no fears to lead to innocents' slaughter,
to their sister Rachel's inconsolable lamentations.
Wise women also came, and they brought useful gifts:
water for labour's washing, fire for warm illumination, a blanket for swaddling.
Wise women also came, at least three of them,
holding Mary in the labour,
crying out with her in the birth pangs,
breathing ancient blessings into her ear.
Wise women also came, and they went, as wise women always do, home a different way.
from Night Visions: searching for shadows of advent and christmas, 1998: United Church Press

Russell Wray is the creator of many fine works of art that advocate for the living creatures of the ocean who are harmed by military activity. When arrested with the #Zumwalt12 at a previous warship launch in Bath, he was wearing a hat shaped like a dolphin.

He created the banners for the last two Maine Peace Walks, and he created the banner below for a recent trip to Okinawa with the Veterans for Peace solidarity delegation. 

Russell's love for all creation shines through everything he does. You can see more of his art here.

Bruce Gagnon is a dear friend we've organized with and protested with many times. He lives in Bath intentionally and organizes with locals including workers at the shipyard to bring the good news of conversion as a path forward. (You can see me interview him here.

Bruce is a member of Veterans for Peace and also plays a key role in international organizing for peace as coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He will be speaking at the upcoming Conference on U.S. Foreign Military Bases next week in Maryland.

Mike Tork is the Aegis 9 member I know least well, partly because he is from Cape Cod and doesn't get to Maine that often. Mike was absent from our arraignment last summer because he was in Arizona helping with preparation for the Border Encuentro (gathering) organized by School of the Americas Watch. He missed jury selection this week for health reasons. Mike was in the Navy during the Vietnam War and now he is active with Veterans for Peace.

You can see him interviewed here for VFP's action at the Vietnam Memorial wall in Washington DC last May.

Logan E. Perkins, Perkins Law Office,
Last but certainly not least, no account of our trial family would be complete without mentioning our awesome pro bono counsel. Attorney Logan Perkins of Belfast specializes in criminal law and has a particular interest in defending those involved in nonviolent civil disobedience. She is representing me and two other Aegis 9 defendants, and advising the group as a whole (six will go pro se i.e. will represent themselves.)

Logan was lively, knowledgeable, smart and strategic at jury selection, guiding us through what can be a bewildering process and helping us focus on picking the best jurors possible. I feel incredibly lucky to have her on our side.

A shout out also to our jail and now trial supporter Peter Morgan. Peter was there for us in April with bail, and has been there for us in court with a warm smile, logistical support and always carrying forward a positive message:  his VETERANS FOR PEACE" sweatshirt emblazoned with "MAINE PEACE WALK" - "For Conversion, Community, and Climate."

And no peace action in Bath is complete without Bruce's partner Mary Beth Sullivan, who appeared toward the end of our day in court. Her warm smile and intelligent vision are beacons of light and hope in what can be a cold, dark world.

Our supporters are also cherished and important members of our trial family, and we love them! 

We welcome your support when the State of Maine v. Robert L. Dale, et al. trial begins on February 1 in Sagadahoc County Superior Court at 752 High St., Bath, Maine.

1 comment:

Sarah Roche-Mahdi said...

Such an inspiring, gifted and stalwart group of activists Here's to the amazing Aegis 9 XOX Sarah RM