Life of a Social Jusice Advocate
I have been a Peace and Social Justice Advocate most all of my adult life. This has been my vocation, my purpose in life. I have never been paid for my vocation. I have contributed my own money and time to my vocation. I have primarily acted independently, but often in coordination with other groups or organizations. I have been official members of some groups, but also so closely active with some that I would qualify as an active member.
Primarily, I am currently mostly active with 4 groups: Veterans For Peace, Code Pink , Oscar Grant Committee and Our Revolution Contra Costa. I have been lessor active recently, but more in the past, with Diablo Greens, Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center, Crosses of Lafayette and ACCE of Bay Point.
I am involved with Veterans For Peace and Code Pink for past 7+ years fighting against my country’s illegal immoral Drone Assassination Program in the greater Middle East. I have been involved in nearly monthly vigils at both Beale AFB (home of the Global Hawk spy drone) and Creech AFB, Nevada (home of the Predator and Reaper attack drones). I have been arrested for civil disobedience countless times at these bases. In May 2014, I participated in a 130 mile 10 day "A Walk to Peace" (https://devanphenix.wordpress.com/) from San FranciscoGolden Gate Bridge through California’s stunningly scenic Central Valley ending at Beale Air Force Base.
I am involved with Our Revolution Contra Costa as a founder and Board member since 2017. I became involved after my active participation to elect Bernie Sanders as Democratic Party candidate for President. I was among thousands active outside the 2016 Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia. ORCC has actively supported and endorsed numerous progressive activists who have run for various political offices.
I am active with the Oscar Grant Committee especially these past 3-4 years. The OGC works with and on behalf of families who have had their loved ones senselessly murdered or attacked by local community police members. We have been active in helping a number of local Bay Area families. OGC involves itself in community meetings, events and city council meetings on behalf of the families.
I am a member of the Diablo Greens, attending meetings and supporting various Green Party, Peace & Freedom Party candidates against Corporate controlled Democrats and Republicans. I was active in supporting Jill Stein for President in 2016 after the Democrat Party’s shenanigans and their super delegates gave corporate Hillary Clinton the nod over Bernie Sanders as Democrats nominee for President. In past Presidential elections, I have supported Ralph Nader, my childhood hero and whom I consider the greatest American ever!
I have been involved with the local Bay Point chapter of ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment). I was briefly active with their predecessor ACORN until I joined the Bay Point Residence Association about 13 years ago. It was around this time that I created an online Bay Point Community Bulletin Board.
When the BPRA dissolved with the election of several members to the Ambrose Park District and appointments to the Bay Point MAC, I soon became involved with the Bay Point Garden Club.
In late 2007, I learned that Loaves and Fishes had closed down its food operation for the homeless and needy. Using my home equity funds, I personally fed a community of some 20-40 people at a local park Monday thru Friday. We affectionately became the Anuta Park Picknickers. We sent a petition to Loaves & Fishes pleading them to return to Bay Point and fortunately they did finally return later in 2008. We also sent a letter to the Bill Gates Foundation signed by about 35 of us asking that they consider the possibility of financing a high school in Bay Point whose teens had to travel many miles to another town’s High School. The Gates Foundation rudely rejected our plea! In a fruitless effort to grow some of our own food in one of the numerous vacant lots in Bay Point, I was informed the Ambrose Park District might offer the vacant lot next to the community center.
After a lot of effort, I was able to secure permission to build a community garden as long as the District was not financially responsible or otherwise involved. With my home equity money and a loan from the District, I and many of my homeless community friends built the garden in just over a month. For 5 years, I financed and managed the garden with help from friends and community volunteers. Without notice, the garden was taken away from me by the Park District in a 5-0 vote. This was clearly done in retaliation for my successful efforts in saving the community pool from destruction. The Pool has since been remodeled and sadly the community garden has mainly been neglected and ignored by the Park District as I predicted.
I have been involved with the Crosses of Lafayette project since its founding in 2006. I built, painted and erected 75 of the first 300 crosses. That first New Year’s Eve, I helped lead a candlelight vigil display by each of the then 1000 crosses. The Crosses of Lafayette represents the now over 8000 American young men and women who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan both clearly illegal according to our Constitution and International Law. When the hillside across from the Lafayette Bart Station reached 4000 crosses, it became too full for additional crosses, but a sign there reflects the number of service people killed to date. Unfortunately, the City Council of Lafayette refused other signs to address the much larger number of service people seriously injured or the many hundreds of thousands of civilians needlessly killed and the millions forced into refugee status or terrorized on the ground in at least 5 other countries.
I have been involved in a number of environmental actions along with Idle No More, Extinction Rebellion and other groups to call the public’s attention to the rapidly approaching Climate Catastrophe. I was arrested at Monsanto Headquarters in Woodland over their environment poisoning with Round-up’s Glyphosate and their GMO terminator seeds terrorism of farmers.
When the Veterans For Peace made a call for veterans to gather at Standing Rock, South Dakota in late November 2016 in support of the Sioux and other Native Americans fighting to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), I made the journey with two other fellow activists. Although I was only there 3 days, it was quite an inspirational and spiritual stay. It was only the extreme cold and a paralyzing snowstorm which was limiting supplies into the now large camp of thousands that led Native leaders to request all non-essential people to leave. So, it was with mixed feelings, we made the harrowing exit out of the snow bound camp! With tremendous appreciation, my fellow activist, Devan, braved the weather to attach tire chains on the Prius and drive us out of camp and across a torturous frozen Dakota roads and landscape! I got to be the senior citizen wimp and very happy to be so this time around!
I was introduced to Nuremberg Actions (NA) on September 1, 1987 when Peace activist Brian Willson and two others Rev. David Duncomb and WWII Veteran Duncan Murphy were run over and assaulted by an ammunition train at the Concord Naval Weapons Station. Despite a week of constant notice to the base including a news article in the local newspaper about the pending action to block the train, the sheriffs at the scene suddenly left. Suddenly an accelerating train speeding over 3 times the authorized 5 mile an hour speed limit ripped through the 25 demonstrators on the scene. I soon became a full-time member of the two-year 24/7 vigil action in front of the Naval base. Brian’s words became our rallying cry “We are not worth more; They are not worth less!” With over 500 hundred arrests, we blocked every military ammunition train for 2 years along with countless weapons trucks. These weapons were mostly destined for right wing dictatorships oppressing their own people in Central America. Earlier in the 60s, the base supplied a bulk of weapons used in another War Crime, the Vietnam War which cost millions of lives. In March 1988, I became the NA support Peace House manager and a member of the ad hoc committee overseeing the vigil along with my share of arrests. I currently own and live in that Peace House ever since the action wound down in late 1989.
I began my association in the late 80s with the Mt Diablo Peace & Justice Center whose house office hosted Nuremberg Actions. The MtDPJC sponsors many educational events, actions and talks by renown authors and activists. The Mt Diablo Peace & Justice Center is an organization every peace, justice and environmental loving person should support and become involved.
Another progressive jewel we have in the Bay Area is the longest listener sponsored KPFA radio (94.1 FM) station in the world. 70 years young and going strong; you can also hear their many excellent current and archived programs at https://kpfa.org. They have been my political teacher for over 35 years. I urge everyone to support KPFA as it is a rare voice exposing and countering the mainstream corporate media lies and misinformation.
I somehow managed to be accepted into the elite Northwestern University after High School. I suspect this happen because of a convergence of two new situations. First, I had chosen a new field Science Engineering desperate for student majors. Secondly, this was the first year Blacks were accepted as students in the school’s 100 plus years of existence. Much later, I realized that I had also benefitted from Affirmative Action. I and a high school classmate were the first students, in anyone’s memory, from our poor working-class neighborhood who had been accepted into Northwestern.
I was in college during the height of the anti-Vietnam war movement with a low draft number staring me in the face. I was mostly clueless and never got really involved against the war. I was working off campus as a student engineer when Kent State happened. Students tore up all the iron wrought fencing and block the road in front of the campus for weeks with bond fires. The road was a major commuter route into Chicago. I missed all that, or maybe I might have become an anti-war activist sooner. Certainly, I had thought, my country wouldn’t attack Vietnam unless it was necessary and the right thing to do! I would learn better! Of course, I probably did do some small things in college that were signs of my activism to come. I actually completed my 5-year Science Engineering program, but never graduated or ever practiced Engineering. Never had any regrets about that.
My activist days actually began in earnest when I was the last of the draftees in October 1972. After training at Ft. Polk, LA and Ft. Gordon, GA, I was assigned to the U.S. Army Signal Corp in South Korea. It was Christmas Day 1973, when I traveled from Seoul to Pusan to meet the Korean orphan whom I had been sponsoring through a magazine ad. Later stationed in Wonju, I also became involved with a nearby World Vision orphanage. My two visits to Pusan orphanage led me to investigate corruption in the Korean orphan situation.
This would eventually lead me on a path of investigating the U.S. support of the South Korean dictatorship of Park Chung Hee. In 1974, I extended my time in the Army for another year time to stay in Korea. I then began exposing the U.S. support of the Park Chong Hee dictatorship in letters to Congress and President Gerald Ford. My letters were usually signed by 5-6 other soldiers. On my 4-page letter to the President, I collected over 100 signatures from my base.
I was also applying to stay in Korea to both marry my Korean Language teacher Un Chong and travel around Korea as a civilian. After a long delay in approval, I arranged to meet with the base Inspector General. The Major had me meet him alone after normal hours. Upon arrival he immediately stated that whatever it was that I was doing, the Korean Government was not going to let me stay in the country. I told him I had been writing letters to Congress and would he like to see my letters and responses. I then asked how the Korean government would know about my mail to Congress when I was never involved with Korean activists and had been using the military mail system. He immediately refused to review my letters and abruptly ended the meeting.
A week or two later under disguise of a fake military exercise with most of my base personnel scattered across distant Korean hillsides, I was abruptly and secretly removed from Korea by the U.S. Military command at the demands of the Korean Government. Under the Freedom of Information Act requests, I discovered that the Korean Foreign Minister was actually demanding the U.S. Military command do something about me. Article 15, Court Marshal and sending me back to the States were all considered. But it was determined that I was of a martyr disposition, so in order to please the Korean dictatorship and prevent any embarrassing incidents by me, the U.S. High Command finally decided to send me back to the U.S. illegally with no advanced notice. I was put under arrest and in less than 24 hours I was on a plane to Travis AFB in the U.S. My official removal orders stated that I was a discredit and embarrassment to the United States of America. My proudest award ever, this was like being given a Ph.D. in Korean Human Rights study all certified by U.S. Military and the Korean dictatorship.
During my removal processing, I was to publicly disobey my First Sargent numerous times always forcing him to allow Un Chong to be with me. In the back of a jeep on that two-hour ride to Seoul that night we exchanged vows with rubber band rings.
I spent much of the next 3 years, working on Korean Human Rights. It was October 1975 when I was released from the military at Ft. Lewis, WA. I went on a 4-month hitch hike and bus journey across the Northwest speaking at churches and colleges. In February, I was visiting with Professor Gregory Henderson at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Gregory, a scholar on Korea, had been a foreign service officer there at the start of Korean war. Later as a state department diplomat, Gregory was also forced to leave Korea by an earlier dictator. Gregory was the owner of the largest private collection of ancient Korean pottery. In Congressional testimony, Gregory discussed my case as an example of the inceasing reach of the Korean CIA in U.S. domestic affairs.
I was then called back to SF to try and help save a Korean Human Rights group taken over by “CIA” church leader in Berkeley. That experience taught me that political activists can be easily misled by people of status who pretend to be helpful, but actually mean them no good!
Separated for 1½ years, my Korean love, Un Chong was finally able to come to the U.S. We were married in February 1977 in SF by a United Methodist minister at an elderly Mormon woman’s home with Quakers. Our entertainment was provided by an ex-con burglar magician David Bronson, who had been hired by the FBI and Police to break into political groups offices in the late 60s early 70s. Once we were repeatedly photographed by an Asian man on Market Street in SF who we finally followed and chased several blocks before he escaped. We had a friendly debate. Was he spying on David or me as I had repeatedly been protesting at the Korean Embassy?
When I learned later in 1979, of my wife’s sexual harassment by her Director at the SF Community College ESL Division, I joined her in a long a 6-year lawsuit. Radical Woman in SF and WOASH (Woman Organized Against Sexual Harassment) helped create a dynamic support team to help my wife in her struggle and in exposing the reality of sexual harassment to the general public. These were the early years of the sexual harassment movement. We were also both involved with the San Jose NOW.
When a rent control initiative was put on the ballot in Sunnyvale, I joined in that effort which involved a joint effort between young liberal activists and conservative senior citizens from the many mobile home parks. More people voted for the initiative than had voted in the previous off year election, but the landlords and real estate backed by corporate media spent millions to get homeowners to believe rent control would destroy the city and we loss by a narrow margin.
A year and a half later, when I couldn’t get anyone else to, I ran in a short special election to fill a vacant City Council seat. I actually thought I could win as I was the only candidate in favor of rent control out of six candidates. Unfortunately, the city had earlier agreed to some rent control on mobile home parks, so the conservative seniors abandoned me, and apartment renters didn’t vote in mass. When the reporter called me to say I had finished only a few votes behind the landlord candidate, I exclaimed “ you mean she won”. Actually, I had finished 4th behind the Democrat and Republican Party candidates.
According to many lawyers who became aware of my wife’s case, it was considered one of the worst sexual harassment incidents they had ever heard. It was both a long sordid and also uplifting experience even as my wife’s health declined eventually requiring Kidney Dialysis. In September 1985, my wife died from the severe emotional stress that had aggravated and damaged her health. As my wife spent her final days in the hospital, two key witnesses to some of my wife’s sexual harassment were discovered. My wife died believing that she had won her long struggle for justice.
But justice and the legal system often are at odds. Laws passed to protect corporations and government entities quickly stole most the potential money damages from my wife’s case, causing our latest attorney to quit. Eventually, I was able to find another attorney, but I was eventually forced to settle without the trial my wife and I had wanted. This lawyer then embezzled all the money. In a strange twist of fate, I worked with the FBI on this case against the lawyer, as I was brutally attacked and knocked unconscious by other FBI agents in front of the Federal Building in SF.
I was to be the only one to file a criminal complaint in a case involving millions of dollars swindled from a number of people. The reason was insurance companies will not cover client losses if the loss was from criminal conduct by the lawyer. Thus, everyone else dropped their criminal complaints in order to recoup some of their losses. I couldn’t let this attorney walk free, so I sacrificed such money claims to see this lawyer punished. Just as the trial was to begin, he took a plea deal for 5 years. A least some justice was served.
However, I did learn that I could apply for funds with the Lawyer Trust Fund. Based on their determination they might grant funds from zero to $50K. I also found a lawyer in the Yellow pages, whom I never met, to file a malpractice lawsuit because my lawyer had refused to file a wrongful death case for me.
Meanwhile, as I had only recently started a new job, all this emotional stress in my life was preventing me from doing a good job. I had to set up a repair center with a new computer startup company creating a car navigational system, so I resigned. I eventually began helping friends, a Korean couple with their struggling print business. I took classes to learn printing business. Eventually, I obtained a full time job with another more established family running a printing business.
I was slowly recovering from the loss of my wife when Brian Wilson was attacked by the train at the Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS).
In March of 1989, I took, what I thought was a brief break from the Nuremberg Action vigil and my house manger position and joined a caravan to El Salvador. 50 strong in over 20 vehicles we gathered in San Antonio. With our aid and supplies for the communities and refugees in El Salvador on a ship, we all drove the long trip through Mexico and Guatemala to the border of El Salvador. There we were met by hundreds of community people. After having our passports stamped for entry into El Salvador, they were suddenly recalled hours later and voided. We remained on the no man's frontier between Guatemala and El Salvador for 10 days of which I fasted on a juice only diet in symbolic protest. Finally, the Government agreed to allow the release of some of our vehicles to the community groups, if we would leave. Later we learned our passports had been voided at the insistence of the American Ambassador who labeled us a bunch of communists. In El Salvador, to be called a communist was to be put on the death squad list. Eventually, 25 of us were still able to enter El Salvador in small groups at various entry points or fly in from Guatemala City. My time in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua is a long story for later.
I left El Salvador in early June on a long 5-day bus ride home. By the time I arrived home, I found the Peace House was for sale and that Nuremberg Actions had mostly ended except for a few die hard activists. I also learned that the co-coordinator, a young woman with several children, of our host community group in San Salvador had been disappeared. It was later learned that she had been kidnapped to the Treasury Department, apparently tortured, killed and disposed of to never be found. Other members of our support community group were in jail or hiding.
In the meantime, at home, I discovered I had come into considerable money, $50K from the lawyer trust fund a $30K malpractice lawsuit settlement, all indirectly from my Korean wife Un Chong's Lawsuit for Sexual Harassment. After several months I was able to purchase the Peace House through some creative financial arrangements.
I had lived with a large family in El Salvador and had developed a potential romantic relationship with the eldest daughter. Now I learned that her younger sister active with the community group who had supported us was herself in hiding and desperately needed to leave the country. I sent money, but she was caught at the U.S. Border and returned home. I again sent money. Weeks, later I got a call from Guatemala City. Both sisters, a brother and a cousin were there, and could I come and get them. Long story, but I flew there with a friend who spoke Spanish. After two harrowing weeks we were all at my home. 3 had been caught by U.S. immigration, but I had bailed them out and they all successfully applied for refugee status. I married the older sister, a month later. A year later she brought her 3 young children legally back from El Salvador. The children are now all grown, and I had a cordial divorce with my wife 2o years ago. However, I am still close with everyone.
I am a 9/11 truther! Since the release of the 9/11 Commission report in 2005 which I consider a flat out confession by my government, I have offered an unclaimed reward of $100,000 to the first person who can prove or at least demonstrate to my satisfaction that my government did not plan, manage, execute and cover-up the events around the September 11, 2001 attacks. My website is http://www.911reward.org.
I joined millions across the globe protesting the impending invasion of Iraq. I was arrested along with a couple dozen others including Daniel Ellsberg and the President of the Pacific Stock Exchange. The invasions and occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria are all War Crimes in violation of our Constitution and International Law. Our overt involvement in the coups in Libya, Honduras, Ukraine, Bolivia and failed attempt in Venezuela are also War Crimes. Every American should be ashamed. With NO respect for national sovereignty and Human rights, we have a terrorist government run by the Deep State.
We have a government and mainstream media under the control of the military-industrial-prison complex and a few hundred powerful and rich people who comprise the Deep State. They are real and too be feared. They act to smear and frame those who might successfully oppose them. When that fails, they have orchestrated the deaths of outspoken leaders such as JFK, RFK, MLK and Malcolm X. They attack imprison, exterminate whistleblowers and activists like Karen Silkwood, Brian Willson, Judi Bari, Mumia Abu Jamal, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Daniel Ellsberg, Ralph Nader, among others. They conspire to keep or remove from political office those who would defy them publicly, such as Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney and Bernie Sanders since 2015.
The Deep State relentlessly promotes racial, religious and social issues to divide, control and conquer us. The Republican and Democratic Parties along with the Corporate Media have become the Deep State tools to subvert us. Only when we understand this will we have a chance to unite and slay this demon that would willingly destroy us and the world for power and wealth.
There is more to be said, but I hope you will understand that I am truly indeed a Social, Environmental & Peace Justice Advocate. That is my longtime life avocation which continues in full force now with my life on social security income the past 8 years. I will be a bullhorn win or not.
In closing, I would rather you use critical thinking in looking closer at the issues. Rather than win any election, I would love to see people finally vote based on the issues rather than blindly supporting Democrat or Republican candidates. Both Parties are owned by the Deep State. If a candidate is financed by corporate big money interests, you need to be very concern about whose interests they will promote. It probably won’t be yours!
With Peace & Justice, Michael E. Kerr