On Monday, March 20,
our Fellowship has the honor of hosting the crew of the famous Golden Rule sailing vessel. Please join us in the main building for a potluck supper at 6:00 p.m. in their honor, followed by
a short movie and a
discussion at 7:00 p.m.
The Golden Rule is the boat that helped to launch the international debate about atmospheric (above-ground) nuclear weapons testing. Monday night will be an opportunity to learn more about the story of the original crew’s brave quest to sail into the waters near the nuclear weapons testing site. As Steve Baggarly, noted local anti-war activist, puts it, “In 1958, the sailboat's Quaker crew tried to disrupt US nuclear weapons testing by sailing into the test zone around the Marshall Islands.” Spoiler alert, they got arrested and jailed in Honolulu—about halfway to their destination, but the international press was all over the story and soon the world was calling for a halt to atmospheric nuclear weapons testing. This was not a moment too soon. Indeed “radiation had begun to show up in mother’s milk around the planet. In 1963, the movement culminated with a [nuclear test] ban treaty agreed to by the US, the USSR and the UK outlawing above ground testing. The boat was predecessor to subsequent direct-action boats like Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherd.”
Today, Veterans for Peace has set sail once again on the famous 30-foot wooden ketch (hauled up from the bottom of a California bay and refurbished by Veterans for Peace members, Quakers and others to her former glory). Hampton Roads is one of 100 stops it is making on its 15-month voyage. It’s taking the 11,000-mile “Great Loop” starting in the upper Missouri River and continuing down to the Mississippi River, out to the Gulf of Mexico, then up the eastern seaboard to the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes. It is stopping in Hampton Roads from March 17 – 24.
Why does the Golden Rule sail today? The Golden Rule and her crew give us an inspiring example of what a small group of people with an unshakeable vision for a better tomorrow can do. Veterans for Peace wants to highlight the need for an all-out prohibition of nuclear weapons by promoting the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). They also are out to educate us more broadly about peace-building and climate justice and to inspire us to “to take action to protect communities and the planet” in order to create an environmentally sustainable future where all can thrive.
Recently Dave Weiman gave a presentation on the Doctrine of Discovery for the 8th Principle Learning Community, which a couple of us from the UUFP Racial Justice Team attended. In it, he laid out just how methodical the Europeans were in laying out policies for usurping lands, treasure, lives and labor for their immense benefit. How might the world be different if those policies had been different? Weiman ended his talk by reminding us that our desire to control the world is on-going. America, he pointed out, has over 100 territories in the world on which it places military bases. Weiman recommended that we all read How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States, by Daniel Immerwahr, to become better informed about the present policies of the United States.
The Golden Rule (aptly named) will be anchored in Hampton Roads for a week. If you’d like to actually go aboard and tour this great vessel, tours will be offered this Saturday, March 18, 9:00 a,m. – 12 noon, and Sunday, March 19, 12 noon – 4:00 p.m., at the Waterside Marina in Norfolk, which is behind the Waterside Festival Marketplace (address: 333 Waterside Dr. Norfolk, VA).
Some of us attended a Sunday Forum in February given by Steve Baggarly. Steve crossed the water that chilly morning to speak with and encourage us to help give the Golden Rule a warm Tidewater welcome. He is coordinating their visit. For more information about all the Golden Rule events being held, contact Steve Baggarly at the Norfolk Catholic Worker, 757-472-5388.
Hope to see you at the Fellowship on Monday, March 20—potluck 6:00 p.m. with movie and discussion to follow at 7:00 p.m.! Please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested. For more information about our upcoming Golden Rule/Veterans for Peace event at the UUFP, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.