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Archive for the ‘Laurel Krause’ Category

May 4, 2018, Kent, Ohio
A speech for Allison Krause, one of the four students slaughtered at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, written and spoken by Idris Kabir Syed at the 48th commemoration

This year marks my 28th commemoration. I have spoken only once for a student, Jeffrey Miller. In my younger years as a student, I thought that Jeff was the one who I had the most in common with—like him, I considered myself a young revolutionary who deeply believed in activism and civil rights. I didn’t realize how much I have in common with Allison until this year.

When Allison’s sister Laurel asked me to speak for her sister this year, I was honored and moved to tears. I realized immediately that she was entrusting me with something deeply important for her family. If there is one thing I have learned in my time working with the families of the victims of May 4th, it is that the trauma of that day lives on and has profoundly affected the families in myriads of ways, both negative and positive. My own family relationship with Kent State and May 4th (as both of my parents were on campus that fateful day) mirror this reality as well.

My relationship with the Krause family began when I was in high school. I worked for Allison’s cousin Marvin at Arabica coffee shop on Coventry in Cleveland Heights. I knew Marvin’s daughter, Allison’s cousin Jennifer and would run into her at Grateful Dead or Carlos Jones concerts and we had many mutual friends. When I went to Kent and got involved with the Task Force I met Doris, Allison’s mother, and was amazed at her grace. The first year that I met Laurel was for the 40th commemoration was not what I had hoped. It was my first year as faculty advisor when Laurel came to the last meeting of the Task Force before the 40th commemoration. In the parlance of today’s students, she was “aggro” and she let us know it. She demanded that the Task Force honor her family’s wishes and challenged us to not succumb to silencing their voices as she felt the University as a whole has done since 1970. I was stunned shocked into silence thinking we were trying to honor her and her family. I realized very quickly however, her concerns were completely valid, based in a historical relationship of trauma at Kent State University that is institutionalized here. It took me some time, but I discovered there was another, more appropriate term (which young people also use today) for Laurel, which is “woke.” Laurel is woke—woke in ways many of us don’t understand but need to recognize. I watched her tireless work with the Kent State Truth Tribunal, started by her and Emily Kunstler (daughter of the esteemed civil-rights attorney, William Kunstler) that year. That summer, I also watched countless video testimonies of people who had never quite felt comfortable sharing their story with the university, but opened themselves up to Laurel and Emily in ways that even surprised them. These stories are vital, and I hope that the University supports the efforts of the Truth Tribunal to continue to promote those stories being told. After the Obama/Holder/Perez refusal to re-open the Kent State case, Laurel then took the stories of her family and Truth Tribunal participants to the United Nations forcing the world stage to acknowledge America’s shame and murder. The Krause family is woke—whether Father Arthur, Mother Doris, Sister Laurel, or Cousin Jennifer—they were and are all woke in their own important ways. Today, I want to talk about how I think Allison was woke, and what we can still learn from her 48 years after her untimely murder.

Allison was not at Kent in 1968; she was finishing her senior year of high school in Maryland. She was against the war in Vietnam but by no means a “radical or revolutionary.” I don’t know if she knew of the killings at Orangeburg, or much of what was happening with BUS/SDS at Kent State University. The seminal part of that year seemed to be when she started to volunteer at St. Elizabeth’s Psychiatric Hospital. In the book 13 Seconds: Confrontation at Kent State, her mother remembers:

“’She used to help on a volunteer basis at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital there in Washington,’ said Doris Krause. ‘So few people could do it. She did it so well. As a mother, it was something I liked to see her do.” Allison would go off to St. Elizabeth’s, a mental hospital, and visit with the patients. Often she would play basketball with the men. They were patients that society had long for­gotten. They sat there in forlorn gloom, waiting for nothing, their eyes glazed, their lives a sea of silence. Some had not had visitors for as long as thirty years.’ Richard Jaworski would ask Allison to speak of her experiences at the hospital. She told the class that the inmates would let her shoot during the basketball games, leaving her undefended with the delight of her presence and interest. When a boy in class asked if it was not dangerous to work with the patients, she replied, ‘Love, they sense it. It calms them.’ The inmates were so grateful for her attention they never considered harm, she said.

‘One day Allison returned home unusually happy; her eyes were aglow and she could not wait to tell her mother the wonderful thing that had happened at St. Elizabeth’s that day. A man had spoken to her! A man who had never spoken to anyone else for the longest time had spoken to her. It was one of the most exhilarating moments of her life. She felt that she had personally accomplished this.’”(Esterhas and Roberts, 1970)

Allison started school at Kent State in the fall of 1969; her best friend was Bonnie Henry. She also met and fell in love with her boyfriend Barry Levine and they were together until her death the following spring. They attended the National Moratorium against the War in DC that November. While Allison attended one SDS meeting, with Bonnie and Barry, she was hardly impressed or convinced by their values and priorities. She was trying to understand the larger political atmosphere; again from 13 Seconds: Confrontation at Kent State,

“At Kent the academic atmosphere and Allison’s searching curiosity pushed her deeper into the world of books. She read Kafka, the present Tom Wolfe, and Catch-22. Slowly her reading began to widen into the current political trends. She and Barry shared a political­ science class that friends say absorbed her. When the Black Panthers emerged in controversy, Allison applied her energies to satisfying her need to know. She began to believe that political repression was real and it frightened her. ‘She wanted to go to Canada and open an art gallery after school,’ Barry said. ‘We wanted to go there because of the growing political repression that we felt was increasing in this country. Things like the Chicago Seven, the Panthers, and the ineffectiveness of the Moratorium all led to her feeling of the coming and existing repression.’…When Spring came, Allison expressed her desire for the woods…’I wish there was some place where we could go and walk, some place with trees and flowers,’ she told Bonnie. ‘Some place away’…Things seemed to be going marvelously for Allison on her nineteenth birthday, on April 23. She was set for the summer and for Buffalo in the fall and most important, she had Barry. Her fifteen-year-old sister, Laurel, came up to visit her on her birthday and the following Sunday Arthur and Doris Krause drove up. Together with Barry, they ate at the Robin Hood restaurant just off campus. ‘She was so happy to get out for a meal,’ Doris Krause said. It was the last time they were to see their daughter alive.” (Esterhas and Roberts, 1970)

There are many stories and photos of Allison on May 4, 1970. Many of them are horrific and terrifying. I do not want to focus on those today. The one I think about most often is how, as she climbed the hill by the pagoda, she tore her small piece of wet cloth to help another student suffering from tear gas, shortly before she broke down in tears asking why the guard was treating them this way. Even to the end, Allison wanted to help others, to let people express themselves, whether through art or voicing dissent, she wanted to stand up for what she believed was right, fair and just. That was the way she was, woke.

In preparing for the speech, I asked Laurel if there was anything I could say for her family. She told me instead to listen to what Allison tells me and speak that truth. I went and sat at the bell late at night on April 23rd, and asked Allison how she felt on what would be her 67th birthday. She said she was sad, confused, angry, but still woke, still standing for truth and justice. She asked me a number of questions: “How could there be so many school shootings in 2018 alone? How could our society be as polarized, perhaps even worse than 48 years ago? How can so many Black people be openly killed and so few people care? How can we still be at war in the Middle East, and why don’t we care about the casualties, refugees and destruction these wars have produced? What are we doing to our mother Earth? When we will we ever learn that “flowers are better than bullets”? “Ah well.” she told me, “It is up you, Laurel, Jennifer, Samaria, and Emma Gonzalez to tell them now. I hope they finally listen.” I asked her “What can I do?” She gently reminded me with a loving smile, “Go and walk in the woods, make art, spend time with your family and mine, try to heal the wounds, love, and we will talk again.”

Idris Kabir Syed, MFA, M.Ed.
Associate Professor and Faculty Advisor to the May 4th Task Force
Kent State University, Dept. Pan-African Studies

 

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Please have a listen to a discussion between Burt Cohen and Laurel Krause about the May 4, 1970 Kent State massacre and the February 14, 2018 Parkland Massacre in this February 27, 2018 segment from Keeping Democracy Alivehttp://bit.ly/2oCRCsv

February 20, 2018 by Laurel Krause

My sister Allison was shot and killed in a domestic US military massacre during a lunch time antiwar protest at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. Allison was 19 years old when she was targeted for assassination. Her spirit reminds us the most heinous of all massacres is when those killed are defenseless young people at their schools.

On the phone last week with my colleague, Emily Aigner Kunstler, Emily told me the news of the 17 massacred, 15 injured, at a high school in Parkland, Florida. I heard her words but wasn’t able to really take them in. I found it hard to react. After all, it was the 18th gun-related incident at an American school since the beginning of 2018, and is now just about an every other day occurrence in the United States of Gun Violence.

Later, as I watched the TV reporting of the mayhem and the lives lost, it struck home with me that I know the horror of how this feels, especially to the families personally hurt.

I know what those grieving 17 families have been going through since their Valentine’s Day. Loss beyond words. Hurt beyond description. A feeling that nothing will change and no one will come to their aid to make change. The needlessness of the deaths staring you in the face. The flower of youth snuffed out by America’s inability to CURB THE URGE to kill and massacre with automatic weapons.

I know that after the dust settles, to those killed and their families, it won’t matter who did the killing … whether it was a disturbed individual, a white supremacist, the military or law enforcement. Their children are no longer alive. The hopes and wishes for what those young people might have become are too painful to acknowledge. The family lives of those harmed will never be the same.

After the dust settles, will there be healing? Will our culture demand amends be made? With the NRA running every show in our government, the answers are … there will be no healing, there will be no amends made, there will only be more trauma.

Our society easily forgets that the children are the future jewels and dreams of what our culture may become. A society that kills its children, and refuses restorative justice for all involved in massacres, is no longer a caring, protective culture. Instead, it is a culture that honors the almighty dollar, enabling massacres with automatic guns over the lives of its young.

When American TV audiences are exposed to continuous footage of massacres (and being told to watch it by TV pundits), we all become a little less feeling.

As Baby Boomers, the affects of the Kent State and Jackson State massacres happened to all of us … not just my family or those who were killed or wounded. All the young people alive back then remember in detail their story as to how those massacres affected them for the rest of their lives. How they were severely changed by the murders … how ever since they haven’t been able to trust their government.

But our government and leaders refuse healing. There is no recognition of these traumas as nationwide traumas. The wounds stack up over a lifetime in peace-loving folks, one massacre at a time.

Will Parkland massacre survivors be sought to share their accounts of the trauma? Will they be formally acknowledged, honored, given a voice or a way to make amends, find their healing? That’s what I want for them. These children deserve their healing. Hell, we all do!

Massacres DEMAND healing and for amends to made. The damaging effects and traumas do not go away. The blood of these young martyrs seeps into the land where it stays forever, a kind of curse on us all for not protecting our children.

WILL AMERICA EVER LEARN TO HEAL & MAKE AMENDS?

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Kent State University, May 4, 2017 by Pat LaMarche

Good Afternoon. I’d like to thank May 4th Task Force for having me here with you today.

It is my great and solemn honor to speak to you today.

I was an unusually politically aware nine-year-old kid, trying to make sense of a country spinning out of control, when the federalized troops of the Ohio National Guard opened fire here, at Kent State.

See, when I was growing up, my dad had strict rules about television watching. On school nights the only tv we could watch, was the news. Hind sight being what it is, I probably should have been allowed to watch I Dream of Jeannie or The Munsters and thereby skipped the nightly diet of poverty, race riots and war.

I look back and remember sitting in front of a black and white tv, at truths too upsetting for living color. As the decades have gone by, the contrast has been turned up on the black and white reality that poured out at me each night. I look back now at moments that get more vivid as details emerge. As a journalist, I’m grateful that these stories continue to evolve.

Because of my parents’ news rules, I grew up watching the Vietnam War unfold. I grew up watching civil rights showdowns. I grew up knowing that all too often brute force was the solution to – well – to everything.

One of those school nights when I sat down to watch tv was May 4th 1970. I remember being horrified, confused, disbelieving. I remember being frightened. I better remember my mom, once again hunched over at our kitchen table, grieving – as she had when Martin Luther King Jr. and then Bobby Kennedy were shot.

There was no shortage of black and white tragedy shaping my world. The citizenry used brute force on each other. My government used brute force in foreign countries. Police forces and sheriff’s departments used billy clubs, fire hoses and dogs on protesters. And then, at Kent State, the federal government used brute force on privileged white college kids.

Kent State shocked violence weary white America like nothing before had.

Everyone paying attention to the news in 1970 knew two things. Before Kent State, you had to fit into a couple of categories in order to get killed. You had to be famous. You had to have put yourself out there. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., John and Bobby Kennedy, Malcolm X.

Or you had to be some nosey do-gooder looking for trouble in the deep south, like, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

But, if by some chance you were some innocent by stander, well then you had to be black.

Kent State changed all that. Kent State threatened privileged Americans. White draft deferred college kids could be killed just walking to class.

But there was another frightening distinction at Kent State.

Before Kent State, trigger happy police departments killed protestors – as was the case when the South Carolina highway patrol perpetrated the Orangeburg massacre. But at Kent State, in full violation of the United States Constitution, the U.S. military opened fire on the American people. Tanks rolled into town. Check points were set up. And U.S. Army forces terrorized the populace.

Yesterday, on our way into Kent, we detoured and stopped at the Robinson Memorial hospital now University Hospital. That’s where Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, William Schroeder, and Sandra Scheuer along with other victims went after being shot. That’s where their parents went to identify their children’s bodies. I’ll be writing a piece for my page at the Huffington Post later this week, and you’ll be able to see the short video we made in the hallway where 15-year-old Laurel Krause stood waiting for her parents to identify her dead sister.

As we left, I thanked the woman volunteering at the front desk. Ruby’s her name and she’s 73. I asked her if she remembered the Kent State shootings. She did. Her oldest child went to a local grade school, until the national guard took it over as a military occupation outpost. She had twin two year olds. Late in the day on May 4th she realized she had no milk in the house. She got in her car and headed for the market only to be stopped at a military checkpoint. She told me that the guardsman trained his rifle at her and demanded to know where she was going. She had the kids in the car. She pointed to them and said, “I’m going to get my babies some milk.”

May 4, 1970 was a bad day. That’s how Ruby remembers it. That’s how we all should remember it.

I’d like to take a moment and congratulate Kent State University on their long – now completed march – toward their National Landmark designation. Last October, I had the distinct honor of escorting Mary Vecchio to the public hearing hosted by the National Park Landmark Commission. The photograph of Mary – a teenage runaway – her arms outstretched, kneeling over Jeffrey Miller’s body became the image of Kent State for a long time.

It was an image the school desperately wanted to shake.

Many of you know that. If you attended yesterday’s panel discussion about the National Landmark designation, you know that the university wanted to forget the shootings ever happened. By 1977 enrollment was down, and the school – perhaps rightfully – thought that people didn’t want to send their kids to a place where kids got killed.

Kent wanted a new image. What better way to say, Kent State focuses on a healthy living student body, then with a new gym?

But instead of dulling the memory of Kent State, the effort to build a gym invigorated it. Survivors returned to campus. Aggrieved parents returned to the scene where their precious children died. And while strong arm tactics such as tear gas were used again on the students, deadly force was not.

Nixon was gone. J Edgar Hoover was gone. Months earlier Jimmy Carter had pardoned the young men who protested the war by fleeing the country and the draft. The country wanted to heal.

This is the 40th anniversary of that gym protest and as such the discussion this year has taken a slight turn from the killing and injuring of 13 students to the wanton disregard for history and the conscious desire to obliterate if not blur the scene of the crime.

When I brought Mary Vecchio to those hearings it was because she too felt that the story wasn’t complete. Mary’s story, Ruby’s story, that are all a part of the Kent State story. Nixon’s scorched earth policy of killing students, terrifying young moms on an errand to get milk, illegally bombing foreign nations gave way to trees planted on a hillside, a new gymnasium, ugly attacks Allison Krause’s reputation, imprisoning Mary Vecchio in reform school.

This past October, the historians at the National Park Service public forum, agreed with Mary Vecchio. They discussed at great length and with great respect the value of eyewitness accounts. They urged Kent State to include as many of them as possible.

Sometimes human nature gets the better of us. We shy away from people who make a fuss. Who show their anger. Consequently, some historians and institutions want sanitized history. Just the bare bones that can be independently confirmed, not all that fleshy humanity that gives an historic event it’s depth, it’s color, it’s warmth. Historians can shy away from eyewitness accounts because humans sometimes have funny ways of remembering things. Memories are colored by emotions, past experiences, subsequent tragic consequences.

The landmark commission reminded Kent State that they can have both. They can have the historic skeleton of verifiable facts and they can have the raw emotion that rips through the heart of a murder victims’ father. With so many living eye witnesses, Kent State can compile a vibrant historiography to accompany their memorials in the parking lot.

What Mary remembered so vividly, the shattered glass from car windows, Allison Krause’s foaming last attempts to speak, Jeffrey Millers blood running like a stream away from his body, they are vivid and they are real and they are every bit as sacred to the story of Kent State as the pagoda where the soldiers turned and fired.

You want to know the history of human rights in the United States? Then you need to know about the FBI manhunt for Mary Vecchio. You need to know that the governor of Florida blamed her for the deaths of her friends. You need to know everything you can possibly know about everyone shot at that day and the community in which they lived. And when their stories are included, then Kent State, your historic landmark will have preserved history and not just in black and white, but in real living color.

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May 17, 2016 A college essay written by Kimberly March

DSC00159When I first chose to write this paper on Laurel Krause, I was expecting it to be just like any other short research paper on a human being. Read up on their accomplishments, read some interviews, look up different articles, et cetera, et cetera. Little did I know that I would have the wonderful opportunity to sit down and have a phone conversation with Laurel herself. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon on May 1st when I decided to make the call – I had been mulling over the decision as to when to call since hearing back from Laurel. I was extremely nervous to call and make a fool of myself.

Laurel Krause is the younger sister of Allison Krause, one of the young college students killed in the 1970 shooting at Kent State University. The massacre, performed by National Guardsmen, occurred at an anti-war protest held on campus soon after President Nixon announced the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. It is still, to this day, unconfirmed who gave the orders for the Guardsmen to shoot at the unarmed students, or if there was an order at all. No charges were brought upon anybody, nobody took responsibility, and nobody ever apologized for the tragedy. Arthur Krause, Laurel and Allison’s father, continued fighting for more information for the rest of his life, filing lawsuit after lawsuits all the way to the Supreme Court. The immeasurable trauma thrust upon the Krause family and the friends and family of all involved in the shooting was never resolved or given any type of closure.

However, I do not want to spend this entire paper focusing on the horrific things that happened because of the Kent State shootings. I want to focus on Laurel Krause, a peace-seeker/creator, activist, and friend. My first impression of Laurel was how humble she is – she was shocked that I chose her to write my paper about. I had no idea what to expect, and I could not have been more relieved to find that I was talking to a real person on the other end of the phone. One thing that she said to me during our two-hour conversation that eased my nerves was, “My name Laurel and I’m not a ma’am. I’m an anarchist trained by Howard Zinn and sister of Allison, but I am very much a, y’know, a human being and I’m right at the same place-level that you’re at. And I absolutely want to be that way.”

Laurel and I talked about a slew of different topics. The main topics I want to focus on are the overall idea of creating our own peace and the Allison Center for Peace, located on the Mendocino Coast in California. We talked about the government and how they have formed our society into a society that has lost hope. “Our world is a traumatized world…How is it serving them that we don’t heal this wound?” There have been so many government-led tragedies – the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State are only two. Laurel says, “I think the strongest card we’ve got is to actually live happily in peace. And let’s just get on with it.” The government will not give us the power to be able to foresee ourselves living happily. They will not allow us to heal the wounds of trauma that they have inflicted, because as soon as they do, they have lost some of the control they worked so hard to build. We then began talking about the Allison Center for Peace. This will be a peace destination – the Mendocino Coast location hopefully being one of the many across the nation in the future. A “peace capital”, of sorts, where the business of peace is examined and safe renewable resources and low radiation organic farming are present. Laurel graciously invited me to come out and visit the Center someday if I have the means, and I certainly intend on taking her up on that.

Laurel, along with the help of her co-founder Emily Aigner Kunstler and the rest of the dedicated team, started up the Kent State Truth Tribunal in 2010. “The Krause family founded the Kent State Truth Tribunal in order to reveal the truth and establish a clear and correct historical record from the collective voices of Kent State (TruthTribunal.org). The Tribunal is comprised of almost one hundred interviews with family, friends, survivors, and witnesses of the Kent State shootings, which will all be archived and available to be streamed on the Truth Tribunal website. Laurel told me that she has come to terms with the fact that she will not see justice for Allison in her lifetime – “I’m not a fool.” However, because she has documented everything, it will all be available for them when it is deemed relevant again.

There were indeed some deep conversation topics, but there were a lot of laughs and coinciding opinions and feelings of peace and happiness. Laurel and I had a great time speaking of the Goddess emerging and peace being possible if we find our own peace. We spoke of buffoons in politics and Howard Zinn coming through her in our conversation with positivity and light. I look forward to my next correspondence or phone conversation with Laurel, for I feel I have gained a wonderful new friend. It was refreshing to have a long-winded conversation with somebody as an equal on a level playing field. Although my instincts and respectful reflex will urge me to call Laurel ma’am the next time we speak, I will definitely make sure that I do not.

I close this piece with an uplifting point. “Change must come from the young people.” If young people in my generation do not speak up against the man and demand a better, more peaceful tomorrow, we will not get it. On the flip side, that means that as young people in this country and world, we have the power to make a difference. We have the power to mold our future. The government is not going to simply give us the peace and happiness that we want – so let’s create it. Let’s heal the trauma that has been inflicted on us and move on together. We have the means and we have each other. It is time that we take what is rightfully ours. It is time for peace.

References

“Laurel Krause.” Telephone interview. 1 May 2016.

“About Section.” Kent State Truth Tribunal. Web. 3 May 2016.

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On May 4, 2016 at the 46th commemoration of the Kent State Massacre, Jennifer Schwartz stood for her cousin Allison Krause and offered this speech:

AllisonFlowersAreBetterMemeAnother May 4th parent has died since last we gathered to commemorate this event. Another mother has left us before the truth is clear and justice is served. My aunt, Doris Krause, Allison’s mother, passed away peacefully under hospice care and in the arms of her sole surviving daughter Laurie on January 17th, just a few months ago. As she crossed over, she left behind decades of profound grief and struggle. Perhaps it is our world she now grieves. A world she taught her children to believe was just, civil, compassionate, and fair.

As I was growing up in Cleveland, my father, Doris’ nephew, used to council me, when I felt wronged by a friend or noted an injustice in the world, he used to say to me “Life isn’t fair.” And he knew. We all sat by feeling helpless as the Krause’s endured a very public grief, and extensive legal battles. Instead of receiving any formal acknowledgement of one of the gravest of misdeeds a government can inflict upon its citizens, they were subject to factually unfounded and prejudicial accusations thrust upon their daughter. In her eulogy for Aunt Doris, my cousin Laurie noted, “my mother lost a child. And that is perhaps the greatest burden of all. When we add to this how unnecessary Allison’s death was, the betrayal of it being carried out by a government meant to protect us, and the crushing pressure of the denial of accountability for now decades, I am truly astounded by the grace and fortitude with which Doris faced this legacy.”

Please join me in a moment of silence for Doris Levine Krause. May her memory be a blessing to us, may her struggle be released, may her quest for truth be carried forth.

I never met my cousin Allison. I was a little nine month old learning to walk and run when she was stopped in her tracks by an M1 bullet right over there in the parking lot. So I have always been looking for the truth myself, searching for accounts that would provide clarity and do Allison and May 4th justice. It concerns me that this history be told and recorded accurately. Among the articles I have found was a 1971 piece, published in the National Review, by William F. Buckley.

Mr. Buckley noted that they found pebbles in her pocket. They called it evidence of her aggression, evidence of her crime. They called it evidence she wielded “missiles” of rock she had concealed in her pocket. Deadly? Really? That’s a sham. The classic, tawdry response: to blame the victim. What really had them shaking in their boots was not some rocks in the pocket of a college freshman with flowers in her hair, but that she wielded words of truth. She confronted their ethics, their judgement, and refused to accept President Nixon’s escalation of the war in Southeast Asia. She was one of many hundreds of thousands across the nation who took to the streets that weekend in May to protest. I could not be more proud of her. My cousin, Allison Krause, was a 19 year old honor’s student. Bright, compassionate, hard-working. She was killed that day as she raised her voice in opposition to a government that had gone morally astray. “They always point out that my daughter had gravel in her pockets,” said my aunt Doris, “that this was the rationale for killing her… why” she asked, “didn’t they throw gravel at her?”

For 46 years we’ve been parted from my cousin Allison. A lifetime! My lifetime. For 46 years we’ve sought answers. For 46 years the government’s been adept at denying culpability, avoiding responsibility and suppressing truth. For 46 years we’ve been lied to and brushed aside. We now know there was an order to shoot; we’ve heard it. Don’t tell us you were afraid for your lives with your loaded M1 rifles and your helmets and your high ground advantage. Don’t tell us you felt endangered when Governor Rhodes himself, your commander in chief, came to town to cheer you on and gave you carte blanche to “eradicate the problem.” For 46 years we’ve called for truth. My uncle Arthur led the legal battle for 10 years following May 4th. While we agreed to a settlement, we were not satisfied that truth was honored nor that justice was done. In a 1981 interview with J. Gregory Payne, my infuriated Uncle Arthur declared “We don’t want the damn money… we want the truth! We want the facts about how the four died. We aren’t afraid of the truth. We aren’t the ones who have been saying “no comment” for the past 10 years.” He went on: “I think we are all responsible for the killings at Kent. You can’t get away from the hatred being spread by national leaders during that time. That political period was one which bred hate and with Nixon and Rhodes fanning the fires you can expect killings as a result.” With all the hate speech going on these days by political leaders, I shudder to think what’s ahead, and like my cousin, I will not allow the hate to go unchallenged.

Allison Beth Krause was the cherished first of two daughters born of Arthur and Doris Krause of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. She smiles at me whenever I see her, there in a handful of black and white photos. The impish seven year old girl sits there in a white dress and patent leather shoes next to her little sister Laurie, in the front row of a family portrait taken at my aunt and uncle’s 1958 wedding. I long to reach into the photographs and take her hands and play with her, hug her, know her.

Back in those days in the early sixties, the Krause’s used to go on Sunday drives out in the country around Cleveland, often ending up at Kent, dining at the Robin Hood and enjoying the pastoral campus. Remarkably, at a very early age, Allison made her decision to attend college at Kent State University. She loved it here; she felt at home. She felt safe.

In a eulogy for my cousin, Richard Jaworski, one of her high school teachers at John F. Kennedy High School in Wheaton, Maryland, described her like this:

Constantly she was surrounded by boys and girls who came not only to tell her their problems, but to laugh with her and bask in her quick wit and charm. Allison possessed a rare trait. She could move among many groups of students and always exhibit tolerance for the views of each group in which she participated. When baited by adults, some young people responded with anger and bitterness, if not violence. Allison expressed a passive, stoic quality, as if recognizing the injustice of name-calling, as if realizing the illness of the person filled with hate.”

As she found her political voice in high school, Allison joined other students who were opposed to the war in Vietnam, especially as friends got drafted. As a teenager, Allison participated in anti-war demonstrations. She knew that as an American she had a right to freedom of speech and a right to engage in peaceful assembly.

She entered Kent State University in the fall of 1969 where she quickly made friends, earned high marks in her studies, and met the love of her life, Barry Levine, another young student from New York who shared her values. Together they assembled with others on Friday May 1st on the commons to raise their voices against Nixon’s decision to escalate the war and send more troops into Cambodia. She spent that first weekend of May with friends, doing schoolwork, enjoying the first breath of spring and becoming increasingly concerned about the military presence on campus, now occupied by the National Guard.

On that beautiful, warm spring weekend Allison spent time outside, socializing with friends and talking with some guardsmen among the blooming lilacs. I have heard different accounts of this story, some say Allison placed a flower in the barrel of Guardsman Meyers’ rifle, others say the flower was already there. What is certain, is that guardsman’s smiling face is absolutely beaming in the photographs that have preserved that moment in time, with Allison, the flower, his rifle, and the irony and release of tension they all felt in that moment, as human beings who were on opposite sides of a conflict. And when Allison witnessed that guardsman’s superior come along and reprimand him there for having a silly flower in his gun barrel, Allison responded,

“WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH PEACE? FLOWERS ARE BETTER THAN BULLETS!”

The next day Allison and Barry joined the increasingly tense voices on the commons as the students squared off with the heavily armed National Guard. In Payne’s May Day: Kent State, I found Barry’s accounting of these final moments of Allison’s life, which provides such insight into her character:

As we stood on the hill watching and waiting for the soldiers to make their move, Allison ripped in half the moistened cloth she had brought for protection against tear gas. Another dispersal order was given, yet no advance was made, so Allison felt safe in running a few yards to give a friend part of her already compromised cloth. She tore hers again and gave him half. It was a small gesture, but one that so clearly demonstrated her consideration and willingness to share. Tear gas was already being fired as she scrambled back to where I was waiting. We stood for a few seconds, watching the soldiers move out behind a screen of gas, before deciding to retreat with a crowd of students. As we began to retreat over the hill, I could see Allison almost beginning to cry. A few steps further she turned to me with tears rolling down her cheeks and asked, ‘Why are they doing this to us? Why don’t they let us be?’ A peaceful assembly was being violently disrupted, breeding anger in most of those being dispersed. However Allison did not feel anger, but rather disappointment and sorrow. Disappointment because the students were not given a chance to gather peacefully, and sorrow because of the violence she felt would ensue. Unfortunately these passive emotions were soon transformed into aggression, for as we retreated, a gas canister landed at our feet, exploding in our faces. It was at this point that Allison’s sorrow changed to anger and her strained tolerance turned to resistance. After a few seconds of recovery, Allison turned in her tracks and froze. She stood in the path of the pursuing troops screaming at the top of her lungs. Having been pushed too far, she now lashed back and I was forced to pull her along, fearing that the distance between us and the oncoming troops was becoming critical. Twice, before we reached the crest of the hill, she turned to speak her mind to these men. Each time I had to pull her onward. Upon reaching the top of the hill, she again turned, and with tears streaming down her cheeks, she screamed and yelled and stomped her feet as if all her yelling might stop these men. The hand drawn to her face holds a wet rag used to protect herself from the gas, and the other holds mine, with which I pulled her over the hill and into the parking lot, a safe distance from the troops. For several minutes we stood in the parking lot watching these men threaten us with their rifles. In response, we cursed them and threw rocks. When they left we followed, all the time screaming and yelling, and then they turned.”

None of the four dead or nine wounded were armed that day with anything truly threatening but their voices that challenged the state’s right to kill. State-sponsored violence against peaceful but vocal citizens was permissible in 1970. This precedent paved the way for continued ongoing police aggression across the country that is with us to this day.

While we commemorate this sad anniversary, let us understand that in the days that followed the Kent State killings, precious lives were lost at Jackson State as well. Yet Jackson State has not remained in the national memory in the same way that Kent State has. As Samaria Rice joins us here today, a courageous and outspoken mother standing up to the police who took the life of her son Tamir, we are reminded that while our Kent State students were murdered for their political beliefs, to this day American citizens continue to be targeted simply on the basis of their race. It was a feature of the killing at Jackson State that tragically and egregiously continues to this day. I would like to take this occasion to remember Jackson State, as well as to honor the life of young Tamir Rice. My cousin Allison would want us to do this.

My name is Jennifer Schwartz. I find pebbles in my pocket every time I visit Allison’s grave, carrying rocks with me to lay upon her headstone as a symbol of my remembering.

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January 25, 2016 from the Mendocino coast

Doris L. Krause, mother of Allison Krause killed in the Kent State massacre of May 4, 1970, peacefully crossed over on January 17, 2016 in the loving arms of her family

Eulogy for Doris L. Krause from her daughter, Laurel Krause

optionfour (1)Last week while I was walking along the California coast near my home, I was called to my mother Doris Krause’s bedside by hospice caregivers informing me that her time was near. Mom had stayed in Pittsburgh, our family home, perhaps for the same reason I went very far away. We shared a tragedy in our family that broke our hearts and wounded our spirits but ultimately deepened the love between us in ways we might not have otherwise known. We have carried this wound for so many years but I arrived back home in Pittsburgh to experience a profound healing with Mom. I am moved to share our experience as we lay her body to rest.

It is well known among you all that our family has been troubled by my sister’s Allison’s killing by the US military as she protested the Vietnam War on her campus, Kent State University. What you may not know is the ensuing US government pressure and harassment of our family that affected every aspect of our life since May 4, 1970. The pain of losing my beautiful sister was unspeakable to me. I carry her loss with me to this day, as I do her immense, magnanimous spirit. But my mother lost a child. And that is perhaps the greatest burden of all. When we add to this how unnecessary Allison’s death was, the betrayal of it being carried out by a government meant to protect us, and the crushing pressure of the denial of accountability for now decades, I am truly astounded by the grace and fortitude with which Doris faced this legacy.

When my father Arthur passed away in 1988, my mother was left to maintain our now small family on her own, along with me, to honor Allison’s legacy.

We have walked a difficult path together but this week, all our troubles fell away. My mother and I loved each other without limit, and got beyond our lifelong hurt in losing Allison in such a painful, public way. All that mattered in our time together this past week was the love we shared, the joyful memories of growing up together, the laughter and the eternal bond we carry with us.

Mom and I found a way to let our mutual pain go. We expressed our deep gratitude to each other for sharing so much love, and most importantly, we found peace.

Mom shared with me that she was afraid to go to the other side but I was blessed to be able to walk her over and let her know about the welcome banquet being prepared in her name. That our beloved dog LB was ready to greet her and that my father Arthur and sister Allison had been waiting too long for her arrival.

At 90 Mom has been severely health challenged these last few years. As we walked together, I saw her leave her troubles and suffering behind. She went home to my father now gone 28 years. She has been able to embrace her daughter Allison, now gone almost 46 years and I watched and encouraged her. My sister had stood for peace and had died in its service. We have since been honoring her memory with our own commitment to peace. And as my mother left this world at my side, I saw for the first time … my mother at peace. And I know that she is now free.

Voiced at the graveside service of Doris L. Krause by Laurel Krause on January 19, 2016

Artwork by Roger Ballas

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Originally published in The Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio: Sat, October 9, 2010 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Kristine Gill kgill@vindy.com

Kent, Ohio

KentStateTapeLaurel Krause might learn more today about the May 4, 1970, Kent State University shootings that killed her sister Allison Krause and three other students — including Sandra Scheuer of Boardman.

A newly enhanced recording made 40 years ago features a call to fire and the sounds of a skirmish — and previously unheard gunfire from a .38-caliber pistol 70 seconds before the National Guard shot into the crowd of students. Filmmaker Michael Moore and the Kent State Truth Tribunal are in New York City today to webcast the testimony of dozens of witnesses and play the cleaned-up audio. The event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday will be shown at http://www.michaelmoore.com. “This is compelling new evidence,” Krause said of the recording.

The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer asked Stuart Allen, president of the Legal Services Group in Plainfield, N.J., and Tom Owen, president of Owl Investigations in Colonia, N.J., to evaluate the recordings in May.

Allen said he spent more than 50 hours using high-tech software to enhance the smallest of sounds on a copy of a recording made by a student that day.

Allen said he was originally charged with finding evidence of rumored sniper fire before the shootings. He found none, but instead found the clear order to fire — and something else.

“I heard this event going on which caught my attention, and dealing with criminal matters, I’ve heard gunshots, bodies dropping — you don’t want to know what we’ve heard,” Allen said. “I flagged a spot on the tape.”

That spot has the sound of what Allen confirmed to be pistol fire and frantic witnesses.

“I had heard what appeared to be a chase. Someone called out, ‘He’s running! Get him!’ Then you hear the crowd swell up; then you hear the crowd come down. There are little conversations going on, then you’ll hear, ‘It looks like they got someone,’ from student observers.

“More crowd swelling, expletives, ‘Kill ’em, kill em, kill em,’ then the first gunshot — then ‘Whack ’em, hit the [expletive]. Three more gunshots, then it goes silent.”

The tussle and pistol shots, if authenticated, match some key details of a confrontation several witnesses reported seeing or hearing involving a pistol-waving Kent State student named Terry Norman, The Plain Dealer story said. Norman was photographing protesters that day for the FBI and carried a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson Model 36 five-shot revolver in a holster under his coat for protection. Though he denied discharging his pistol, he previously has been accused of triggering the Guard shootings by firing to warn away angry demonstrators, which the soldiers mistook for sniper fire.

Seventy seconds later, Allen said you hear the call to fire, which lasted 13 seconds, killing four students and injuring nine.

The meaning of the skirmish before the guard firing is still under investigation, but some student witnesses have said they saw a man waving a pistol before the shootings that day. Some speculate it was his gunfire that prompted the guard to open fire on students, fearing guardsmen had been shot at by a sniper.

“In every legal proceeding … every testimony included the line that there was not an order to shoot,” Krause said. “So this compelling new evidence is extremely intriguing and important to truth about Kent State.”

Krause, born in Cleveland and now of California, is co-founder of the Truth Tribunal, a group that has recorded the testimonials of more than 100 witnesses to the shootings. She hopes the group can preserve the memory of her sister Allison and the three other students. Krause doesn’t claim to be an expert on how the new evidence will be used, but hopes for some sort of response or apology from the government. “I’m not a lawyer and I’m not a politician, but I am Allison Krause’s sister, and it seems pretty clear to me that there’s some lying going on,” she said. “The ultimate goal for us is to have the government admit this was a significant event in our history handled in the worst way possible.”

Links to video testimonies can be found at http://www.truthtribunal.org.

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