Woman Making History #41: Kathy Kelly


Kathy KellyKathy Kelly is a peace activist and three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee. In 1996, she co-founded Voices in the Wilderness, a group working against the U.S./U.N. sanctions of Iraq and the harm they caused the Iraqi people.

Kelly was born in 1953 in Chicago. She attended Loyola University, then graduate school at the Chicago Theological Seminary. While at seminary, Kelly volunteered at the Catholic Workers soup kitchen. When she became a high school English teacher, Kelly continued to work on neighborhood poverty issues, both in her own life and in the connections she urged her students to make.

Kelly's activism moved from neighborhood poverty issues to issues of global peace. She served nine months in jail for planting corn in missile silo soil, and her teaching wages were garnered when she refused to pay federal taxes that fund weapons. She has been arrested for protesting, as well as for trespassing on the soil of the School of the Americas (earning her another three months incarceration).

Kelly and her fellow Voices in the Wilderness activists organized 70 delegations to Iraq, equipped with food, toys, and medicine, between 1996 and 2003. She and her organization were fined heavily for going against the sanctions, and have refused to pay those fines. Kelly herself has visited Iraq twice since the beginning of the most recent war there. She has also written a book, Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Pekin Prison (2005).

Americans Who Tell the Truth
Voices in the Wilderness

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