Kathy Kelly learned not long ago that her last name is Gaelic for “strife.” Kelly has spent a career coaxing communities into the struggle for justice, always nonviolently, always in the face of formidable violence. So successful has she been in recruiting young people to this dangerous, disciplined activism that there is a joke going around about the formation of a “Mothers Against Kathy Kelly” group among families wanting to save their children from the influence of this peace-waging “granarchist.”
In a wide-ranging conversation, Kathy Kelly shares stories about her family’s history with the IRA, the racist uproar of her North Chicago neighbourhood when Martin Luther King Jr. tried to move in, the Arab Spring in Yemen, of living through the bombardment of Baghdad when she and others refused to abandon their Iraqi friends to the US aerial assault, of courage and analysis she has learned from Afghan teenagers, and of how the IRS became her “spiritual director,” overseeing her life of poverty when she became a war tax resistor. Whether from far abroad or close by, every story Kathy Kelly tells hits home.
CORRECTION: In the preamble, Marcus mentions Donald Trump hosting a red carpet tour of a Yemeni crown prince at the time of the interview. It was in fact the Saudi crown prince who was touring the USA. Kathy Kelly was describing the role of the US Air Force in the in-flight refueling of Saudi jets, allowing for the uninterrupted bombing of many civilian targets in Yemen.
- Kathy’s organization, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
- The War in Yemen: at the time of the interview, Donald Trump was giving the Yemeni crown prince the red carpet treatment on a goodwill tour through the USA. For the release of this episode, Kathy sent along some updates on the situation in Yemen.
- CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams)
- War tax resistance – In the place where The Ferment podcast team touches the earth, there is Conscience Canada. In the US, you can find out more here.
- Catholic Worker movement
- Clarence Jorden Symposium
- MLK’s notion of the beloved community. Read more here.
- Jesuit Volunteer Corps