Santa Fe Living Treasures â€“ Elder Stories
Honored April, 2014
Since he resigned his commission as a U.S. Marine Corp Captain in 1966 Ken Mayers has unabashedly worked as a peace activist. 18 members of Mayers German Jewish family died during the WWII Holocaust. â€śThe lesson I took from that,â€ť he said â€śis no one should ever be oppressed.â€ť He believes that working together we can build a world beyond war. Ken Mayers says that apart from family, his social activism is the most inherently satisfying part of his life....â€ťgoing to the streets to support causes I believe in is where itâ€™s at.â€ť He can be seen on the corner of Cerrillos and St Francis with other peace activists waving banners calling for the end of war. He has repeatedly demonstrated at the School of the Americas to keep that in public view. In 2002 Ken was the founding president of the Santa Fe Chapter for Veterans for Peace. He feels their mission to abolish war as an instrument of national policy is crucial if we are to survive as a species. In 2012, Ken along with 18 of his Veterans for Peace colleagues were arrested at the NYC Vietnam Memorial while reading names of the fallen. The Vets used the case to push back what they saw as increasing police and judicial encroachment on First Amendment rights to assembly and free speech in public spaces. Ken has been arrested nearly 20 times while working for peace.
Ken has promoted a variety of causes, including a freeze and cutback in worldwide nuclear weapons, an end to sexual assault on female soldiers, and providing jobs for former soldiers. As a global peace promoter, Ken has been active in overseas missions to break Israelâ€™s 2011 blockade of Gaza and to protest itâ€™s tear-gas bombing of the Palestinian village of Biâ€™lin.
His professional life focuses on administration, consulting, communications systems and helping large organizations function better. These skills have served him well as his role as a peace activist. He has that kind of leadership style that isnâ€™t flashy--itâ€™s just steady and organized and persistent. He is a networker and with his diplomatic manner, hears others positions and respects their approach even if it is in disagreement with his.
Ken is well informed in economics, politics, justice, international relations, veterans and military history and practices. He brings experts to our community; Israeli and Palestinian speakers, foreign policy experts, and many others. Believing that any action legal or not, needs an educational component he speaks at churches, schools, in the courtroom, and is equally effective through his press work.
It is his deep knowledge of the threats to peace, linked with a sense that continuing to fight for peace in whatever way we can is worth it. Ken is a wonderful antidote to despair. He is a superior world citizen.
Story by Nancy Dahl
Photo Â© 2014 by Genevieve Russell