The following was written by Joan Lohman, who walked the first and last days of the Sacred Sites Peacewalk for a Nuclear Free World, offered massage and food at our Hayward and Berkeley stops, and held us in her heart throughout the 16 days. She shared this wonderful piece of writing at our morning prayer the day after the walk.
Dear brothers and sisters, walkers, welcomers, family and friends.
Today we stand on sacred ground to honor a completion and a beginning. I celebrate with you the many steps and miles you walkers have traveled to shine the light of your hearts on Sacred Native American lands and the dangers of nuclear power and weapons for all beings. I honor the prayerful devotion that has sustained you.
Some of you have walked all the way from Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant at Avila Beach near San Luis Obispo. Some of us have joined you for a few or many miles. We come from Japan, Bainbridge Island and Seattle in Washington State, New York, Maine, Nevada, San Luis Obispo, the Bay Area, and many other places on the planet. But all of our hearts carry a message of love and gratitude for our Mother Earth and a commitment to respect and care for her.
Whatever our birthplace, culture, race, tribe, age, or class, in all our diversity, we recognize that all beings are impacted by the threat of radiation. Our brothers and sisters from Japan know this in their cells and have come across the ocean to admonish us to heed the terrible lessons of Fukushima and Chernobyl. Our Native American sisters and brothers have taught us about enduring commitment. Veterans of many long walks and The Longest Walk, they have shepherded this herd of heart warriors with great patience and clear discipline. They have shared with us the meaning and value of the sacred sites we have visited. Our Japanese Buddhist sisters and brothers have taught us the sustaining power of chanting.
With our feet, our hearts, and our prayers, we have called for a moratorium on nuclear power and nuclear weapon development. We have pointed to the impact of uranium mining, the first step in the nuclear cycle, on the health and lands of native people in the southwest. We have outlined the risk of operating Diablo Canyon and holding spent fuel rods on land that hovers above two earthquake faults. We have told and heard stories of the desecration of sacred Native American lands.
We have suffered blisters, sore knees, restless, uncomfortable sleep, and the taunts of those who are yet unable to feel their own vulnerability to the message we walk. We have been nourished by many loving, supportive people along the route and by the community we have built together. We have each been changed, honed, carved out in this mobile community. The beat of Buddhist and Native American drums has steadied the beating of our hearts as we walk. The echo of those drumbeats will sustain us and the experiences we have shared will empower us as we return to our homes, families, and communities.
Deep gratitude to the organizers and leaders of this amazing journey. Deep gratitude to each walker. Deep gratitude to Mother Earth for her abundant blessings.