Sara Suman – Civil Disobediance Update

Sara Suman

This morning Sara Suman appeared in court along with fellow JVC community members, co-workers, and the LACW community in court for sentencing. Although she expected to receive three months of probation, her defense lawyer, and LACW friend, Ron Kay succesfully argued that she should be given time served or in other words no additional penalties. Initially the judge made an offer of community service, however Sara stated that service is an honor and not a punishment. Sara then made a personal statement of her convictions that lead her to take part in the action on March 16 marking two years of war in Iraq. After a brief recess the judge released her on time served. Below is the statement she read in court.


   On Wednesday, March 16, 2005 I joined the Catholic Worker at the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles to commemorate the United States’ second full year in Iraq, to recall, in prayer, the names of U.S. soldiers, and to remember all of the people throughout the world who have died so needlessly in this war. Three of us, David, Catherine and I intended to construct an altar at the top of the steps and strew 1500 beautiful peace cranes, each crane representing a fallen U.S. soldier. As we proceeded up the steps we immediately encountered federal officers who told us to stay on the sidewalk. We continued walking up the steps and at that point we were placed under arrest.
   We commemorate, recall and remember in order to resist the government and the media’s orchestrated efforts to make us forget that a horrific and costly war is being waged against the people of Iraq. The United States continues to spend billions per month in Iraq. Simultaneously Congress is now deciding on deep cuts, in the tens of billions, to effective and essential human needs programs like Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the Veterans Association, and the Section 8 affordable housing program–evidence of a domestic war against the poor. The government isn’t even willing to take care of the very people we send to fight our wars. Veterans from this war are already ending up on our streets with untreated PTSD. The war has made the entire world increasingly unstable considering the increase in international violence and there is also a corresponding increase in domestic social problems, particularly that of homelessness. It is a lesson we’ve already learned from history; a disproportionate amount of the homeless population in the U.S. are veterans from our 20th century wars. The Iraq war will continue to feed homelessness in the United States. The consequences of United States’ intervention in Iraq are clear and the benefits are uncertain if none at all. As a person of faith, a person of conscience, as a case manager, community organizer, a young woman simply hoping to live in a world that values peace over profit, I could not and I will not stand by while my country wages a senseless war against innocent people, the poor of our country and the citizens of Iraq.

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    • Michael J. Wright on May 28, 2005 at 7:11 pm
    • Reply

    Hey Sara S.,

    Hmmm… I do agree with your stance and don’t appreciate the actions that the police took.
    In my opinion they were a little harsh. Yet… the President did a great job rail roading
    this war issue. And well… You heard his roar that day.

    I’m sorry that happened to you Sara.

    • Beth Suman on June 9, 2005 at 12:50 am
    • Reply

    Funny that I found out about this on a boredom-driven google search of your name. At first I thought…
    wait, which arrest is this one? But then I realized it was just another one…and why waste the energy
    to explain the circumstances and defense? Good work, Sister!

    • nikki franz on June 18, 2005 at 12:32 am
    • Reply

    i am 100% with you. i commend you, catherine and david and will keep all of you in my prayers. thank you for being a beautiful soul and expressing something i can not. your words sank in to me and i am very moved. very well put!!!

    • Joe Cracchiola on June 27, 2005 at 8:29 pm
    • Reply

    Sara, You are an inspiration. When I return to L.A. this fall I hope to join you
    and all those involved in the L.A. Catholic Worker. Civil Disobedience has always
    been something I’ve been fascinated by…I’ve always talked the talk about it, but
    now it’s time to put my words into action. God be with you and keep the faith! Your efforts
    are not in vain.

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