Plowshares witnesses to receive Nuclear-Free Future Award

Michael Walli, Sister Megan Rice and Greg Boertje-Obed stand with banners and the tools they used to enter the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in 2012. (CNS/Courtesy Transform Now Plowshares)

Michael Walli, Sister Megan Rice and Greg Boertje-Obed stand with banners and the tools they used to enter the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in 2012. (CNS/Courtesy Transform Now Plowshares)

The three plowshares activists who broke into the government’s Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in 2012 and served 19 months in prison will be honored for their action on behalf of peace.

Sister Megan Rice, a member of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and military veterans and Catholic Workers Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed will receive the Nuclear-Free Future Award in ceremonies on Capitol Hill Oct. 28.

The award was established by the Munich-based Nuclear-Free Future Foundation. It has been presented since 1998 to people around the world working to resist, educate and act to rid the world of nuclear weapons and nuclear power.

Calling themselves the Transform Now Plowshares, the three were convicted in 2013 on sabotage and depredation of property counts for breaking into the Y-12 plant, where nuclear weapons are assembled, and defacing walls. They were sentenced in February 2014 to 35 months on each count, to be served concurrently. However, on appeal, they were resentenced in September to time served and two years of unsupervised probation, and were ordered to pay $52,000 restitution for the damage they caused.

The trio will receive their awards during ceremonies in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill Oct. 28. The program moves to cities around the world and this year it is in the United States.

Other winners include Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, a Swiss scientific illustrator who studied, collected and painted images of deformed insects since the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdown; Tony deBrum, foreign secretary of the Marshall Islands, who has advocated widely for the world’s nuclear weapons powers to abide by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; Alexander Kmentt, ambassador and director for disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation in the Austrian government; and youth members of the Cree Nation of Mistissini in Quebec, who led a successful campaign to ban uranium exploration, mining and waste storage on tribal land.

Sen. Edward Markey, D-Massachusetts, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California are honorary co-hosts. Beyond Nuclear and Green Cross International at the nongovernmental organization co-hosts.

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