Activists gather in Kansas City to resist nuclear weapons plant

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's a saying from the movie Field of Dreams that's become an almost unrecognizable part of the popular lexicon: "If you build it, they will come."

Of course, in the film the phrase refers to a crazy scheme somehow pulled-off by the the main character: building a baseball diamond in the middle of an Iowa cornfield to allow long-dead ghosts of baseball greats to play the sport they loved for the first time in decades.

For the past two days I've seen something of that crazy scheme come alive -- just not exactly in the way that the builders in this particular case might have liked.

Coming from across the nation by bus, train, and caravan, 60 activists gathered this weekend here to resist the building of a new nuclear weapons production facility, scheduled to be the nation's first construction of such a site in 32 years.

Known by most as simply the Kansas City Plant, the facility under construction is due to replace one by the same name that has operated since World War II. Located about 13 miles south of the city’s downtown area, the current plant is responsible for the production and assembly of approximately 85 percent of the non-nuclear components of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Organizers here have put together a conference to resist the new plant's construction that is part classroom, part celebration. There have been four key components: education, art, prayer and civil disobedience.

In education, there have been numerous presentations to explain the different ways the nation's nuclear weapons complex operates and what this new plant will provide to the system.

In art, the conference has been much more than just another boring lecture series. There have been concerts by skilled folk musicians, time for painting, and lots of creative cooking solutions to feed the numbers gathered.

In prayer, activists held ecumenical services at both the new and old locations that included a Native American blessing of sage.

In civil disobedience, activists have been discussing ways to creatively to draw attention to new plant's construction. Today they plan to risk arrest by blocking the construction machines at work.

Look for more updates about the conference in the future. For now, feel free to take a look at the different events in the slideshow below.

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