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Peace activist to speak at MCC on Afghan visit

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CRYSTAL LAKE – Author, teacher and peace activist Kathy Kelly will present “The Cost of War, The Price of Peace” on Thursday at McHenry County College.

The presentation, hosted by the college’s Student Peace Action Network, will be at 7 p.m. in the Luecht Conference Center, 8900 Route 14.

Kelly is returning from her ninth visit to Afghanistan, where she lived as a guest among ordinary people in Kabul.

She put herself through school, attending Loyola University Chicago and the Chicago Theological Seminary to earn a master’s degree in religious education.

To protest against war, Kelly in 1982 stopped paying income tax on pacifist grounds. She asked her employer to lower her salary so she would be exempt from taxes.

In 1985, she received a grant to travel to Nicaragua and participate in a fast led by Miguel D’Escoto against the U.S.-backed contra rebels.

Kelly and other activists started the group Voices in the Wilderness, which was a campaign to end U.S. and U.N. sanctions against Iraq.

Group members wrote a letter to then-Attorney General Janet Reno declaring their intention to travel to Iraq with food and medicine for civilians. This act went against U.S. sanctions, and the group received a letter back that warned of possible jail time if members went through with their plans.

Kelly has been arrested about 60 times in the U.S. and abroad. She served nine months in jail after she participated in the Missouri Peace Planting, trespassing at a nuclear missile silo in Kansas City, Mo., to plant corn on the land. She recently was arrested in Syracuse, N.Y., at the Hancock Field Air National Guard base, where she and others protested drone warfare. The judge assigned her to pay a fine, but she refused.

Kelly has traveled the globe to places such as Gaza, Lebanon, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, raising awareness about various issues and promoting peace.

Kelly said she is determined not to let war ruin the bonds of friendship between the United States and other nations, and believes the media have not done a good job reporting on the conditions of people in Afghanistan.

Her presentation is free and open to the public. For information, call the MCC Student Activities Office at 815-455-8772.

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