After failing to get an appointment for weeks, OREPA members went to Senator Lamar Alexander’s office to present the letters signed during the April 21 action for peace at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge.
At first, security at the Federal Courthouse asked us to leave the premises while we waited for people to arrive and prepared for our press conference; we gently asserted our rights to assemble and petition our government, and while the guard called it in, we went on with our program.
When we attempted to take the giant letters up to Alexander’s office, security stopped us again. Finally word came down that we could go up”two at a time. No cameras. We asked if Jane Chedester, director of the Knoxville field office, would come down to meet with us”there was plenty of space in the great outdoors. A few minutes later, the marshals came back to report she would meet with us in a minute. Would we like to wait out in the courtyard? Well, sure we would, but we’d already been told not to assemble there!
After a little chuckle, we returned to the courtyard and minutes later, Ms. Chedester arrived and received the letters. The Knoxville News-Sentinel documented it all and provided good coverage. In our photo, Jack Hoefer presents one of the letters to Ms. Chedester.
We have not given up hope that Senator Alexander will show leadership on this issue.
Thanks to everyone who has been working in so many ways to shine light for Lamar.