Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Kathy Kelly is a tireless peace activist, pacifist, author and founder of Voices in the Wilderness but now a co-leader and co-founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. She lives in Chicago. IL when she is not speaking all over the world and residing in Afghanistan or Iraq helping promote peace and justice.
Kelly was born in Chicago where she attended a Catholic school. She got a BA at Loyola University Chicago and in 1978 went on to study for a MA degree in Religious Education at the Chicago Theological Seminary. It was there that she met fellow activists by working at soup kitchens. One of the people she worked with was Roy Bourgeois, who spoke at Peacestock 2012. In 1980 Kelly began teaching at St. Ignatius College Preparatory School.
Kelly pursued peace activism while teaching and spent time in Nicaragua to see firsthand the U.S. backed Contra war. She returned to the U.S. and in 1988, planted corn on a nuclear missile site near Kansas City, MO which caused her to be arrested, the first of 66 times. She served nine months in prison at a maximum security prison in Lexington, KY.
Kelly’s next actions were joining peace teams and doing nonviolent action in places like The Gulf, Bosnia, and Haiti. This led her to help organize Voices in the Wilderness and began a campaign to end the sanctions on Iraq and bring relief to the people of Iraq which caused threats of imprisonment by the U.S. government. Voices in the Wilderness was not deterred. In spite of this threat, Kelly’s work continued.
Kelly was in Bagdad when the 2003 Iraq War started and she experienced the “Shock and Awe” with her Iraqi friends. When Voices in the Wilderness became a target of relentless U.S. judicial action it was dissolved and that is when Kelly’s present organization was formed, Voices for Creative Nonviolence.
Kelly more recently has done work with the Audacity of Hope flotilla to Gaza and numerous trips to Afghanistan to learn from the Afghanis themselves about their hardships and suffering caused by unending war.
Kelly has authored books including Other Lands Have Dreams, 2005, and has contributed to several other books. She has written numerous articles and essays and has done many, many interviews. Her awards are too numerous to mention here but we encourage you to go to Wikipedia to read more about her remarkable life. We are proud to have her speak to us at Peacestock 2013. Come listen to her stories of hope for a better world.
William Blum, author
Mr. Blum is perhaps the foremost documentarian of U.S. foreign policy ‘mishaps’ in the world. Leaving the State Department in 1967 over his opposition to the Vietnam war, Blum commenced researching and writing a series of ongoing critiques of America’s interventions throughout the world since WWII. In 1999, Mr. Blum was one of the recipients of Project Censored’s Exemplary Journalism awards. In 2006, sales of Blum’s book Rogue State skyrocketed following Osama Bin Laden’s recommendation that Americans read the book to understand why the U.S. is so hated in the Middle East. Currently, Blum publishes a monthly newsletter, Anti-Empire Report, providing current analyses of ongoing American misadventures overseas. His books include:
West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Memoir
Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since WWII
Rogue State: a Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire
America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy…the Truth About U.S. Foreign Policy and Everything Else
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, professor
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is Associate Professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Jack is a graduate of St. Olaf College where he majored in Political Science. He did his theological training at Union Theological Seminary in New York City where he received a Master of Divinity degree. Jack is an activist academic whose life and work are focused on addressing the political, economic, faith, and foreign policy dimensions of hunger and poverty.
Jack is the author of thirteen books, some of which have been used by progressive social change movements in this country and throughout the world. The focus of recent writings has been on religion, violence and “sacred” texts, and authentic hope. His recent concerns focus on the “most important decade” in which problems linked to climate change, declining U.S. power, and economic systems and priorities that foster inequality and ignore ecological sensibilities, present both challenges and opportunities. His new book, Authentic Hope: It’s the End of the World as We Know It but Soft Landings Are Possible is available from Orbis Books.
Jack is one of the founders of the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (www.mnasap.org) a grassroots initiative to build a state-wide movement to shift federal spending priorities from militarization and war to meeting essential needs.
Jack sought but did not receive DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor) Party endorsement for U.S. Senate in 2008. He is married to Sara Nelson-Pallmeyer and has three daughters (Hannah, Audrey and Naomi). He loves to play racquetball and to garden.