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Posts Tagged ‘Doris Krause’

May 4, 2019 by Carlos Jones

“Tell me how on earth could it be justified

for heartless men to have taken those innocent lives

and how many more tears do we have to cry

before our hearts are all wrung dry

leaving only us to ask the question why?

oh why?”  from the song, Truth & Justice (Kent State) by Carlos Jones

Good afternoon everyone,

My name is Carlos Jones. I am a musician. I live in Cleveland, Ohio – Shaker Heights to be exact. I’m here today at the request of the family of Allison Beth Krause, to speak for her as we commemorate the 49th year since that particular tragedy.

At first, when asked to do this, I questioned my qualification to do so, as some might – after all, I did not know her… I was not there. I was 12 years old at the time, doing the things that a 12 year old kid, living a quiet and comfortable life in the suburbs might do. Of course, I had been growing up in a time when the news of many horrors and tragedies brushed up against my budding awareness. I knew that people who tried to do good could be assassinated, taken out: John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy’s deaths were all a part of my recent inventory of knowledge.

I knew about the ongoing legacy of slavery and the struggle for equality and civil rights, through which my parents and their ancestors had lived, and that so many were still living. And it was almost as if we were to accept those things as a matter of course. We were taught in school about the glorified wars of our mighty nation, and all of the heroes who helped to bring us to our status as a noble and benevolent overseer of the world. I knew about the war that was going on in Vietnam – well, what I was being told of it anyway.

There were those that were older than me, like Allison, that had questions…

From what I’ve learned of her; Allison Krause was a bright, warm, loving, caring, energetic, intelligent and free-thinking young woman who had the audacity to question the veracity of the things our government claimed to be the reason for sending thousands of our young men and women to a foreign country to never return, or to return broken in pieces, physically and mentally. She was a young woman, full of hope, full of life and promise, who had set out to further her education, to one day become a productive citizen and perhaps contribute to positive and peaceful change in our society – but she had questions…

She knew there was much unrest in the world and all around her…

She knew that there were things wrong with our country that she and her peers felt compelled to speak out against, and she also knew that there were some who took their protest to the extreme and perhaps in the wrong direction, or maybe even had a totally different agenda…

A young woman, who one day might have children of her own, that she would have to teach and guide and somehow shield from the tragic truth, until they grew old enough to discern that not all is what it seems or what you’ve been led to believe…

But that was not to be, we had men in positions of power determined to hold fast to the old way of doing things, and maintain the status quo, and saw those who wanted and demanded change as annoyances and rabble-rousers. We had a president who claimed that he was not a crook, and as it turned out, he was telling us the truth – he was worse. And because of heartless decisions made by men who saw these young people, your sons and daughters, as nothing more than bums, outlaws, and hooligans… well, no need to state the obvious – you know why we’re here.

It was beautiful day in May – unlike this one…

Allison Krause was exercising what she had always been told was her right, to protest what she felt (what she knew) was wrong, even while knowing that there could be consequences for doing such a thing – she could face arrest, retribution, brutality, perhaps even… death? No, they couldn’t possibly go THAT far, could they? She and her fellow students faced off against uniformed men with rifles, choking against clouds of tear gas.

That day – this day, in May, we were awakened to the cold hard fact that you CAN be murdered, in broad daylight, no matter WHO you are, by your own government for being disobedient, for being vocal, for being active, for being a protester. That day, a 12 year old kid felt the chill of that reality, and his childhood fell away as if shedding a skin, and he became aware that there was indeed, something terribly wrong, and there was no going back to any semblance of childlike innocence. I, like so many of you, was changed forever.

Her Father, Arthur, has long since passed, worn down in the remainder of his life by the obstinate and apathetic demeanor of a government with no pity and no remorse. Yet he fought all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to sue the State of Ohio, and had become a staunch advocate for the right to protest.

Her Mother, Doris, more recently passed on, lived out her final years carrying the weight of the heartbreak, sadness and loss, with no apology, no closure, no resolution whatsoever, except for a “statement of regret” and the mere token of a $15,000 legal settlement, which apparently is what a protester’s life is worth – well, according to those with the power to make those kinds of decisions. They were never able to experience any type of healing or relief from the devastation that haunted them for the rest of their lives.

We hear these words thrown about quite often; Truth, Freedom, Liberty, Justice “for ALL” (?) Pretty words, but what do they MEAN???

What is TRUTH? It would seem that we live in a time when truth is whatever the loudest voice says it is (or the ones with the most money). The concept of truth has lost its weight, its value. This is the age of alternative facts. We have to ask ourselves; has it always been this way?

And JUSTICE – now there’s a slippery one… as elusive as trying to grab smoke.

We’re led to believe that it is an absolute thing, but unfortunately we’ve seen and we have learned that it is NOT equal and it is NOT easily attainable.

Someone asked me recently; “why are we here?” And I answered without even really thinking about it; “I think we were put here to plant flowers”…

By that, I mean that it’s up to each person, who is inclined to do so, to try and add more Beauty to a world that is too often marred by ugliness, to shine more Light in times when the darkness threatens to surround and swallow us up, to Love more fearlessly and ferociously in a time when hatred rears its head and wants to divide us, to help each other Heal from our past hurts and hostilities, and try to become our better selves.

That is why I’m here…

I tried to think of what Allison might say if she were here today, had she been spared – I think she most certainly would be here, talking to you, instead of me.

Who am I to speak for her? The question is more; who am I NOT to? She is MY sister, and she is YOUR sister, maybe not by blood but by the common humanity we all share. It could have been anybody that day – your brother, your sister, the woman or man who would become your mother or father. The government-issued bullets that found their deadly mark that day were lethal, uncaring and indiscriminate, and brought only violence, pain and death.

So, I’d have to agree with Allison – FLOWERS ARE BETTER THAN BULLETS!!!

Carlos Jones – May 4th, 2019

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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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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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May 1, 2012

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
Washington DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

ImageLast week my mother Doris Krause urged me to write a personal letter to help you understand the May 4th Kent State Massacre from a mother’s perspective, one parent to another. Voicing my reluctance to write again, I said, “I’ve written to President Obama more times than I can count.”

But Mom insisted, “Laurie, I want you to write about our family and how we’re similar to President Obama’s family. Let him know what happened when Allison went to college at Kent State, how she was shot dead protesting the Vietnam War by the National Guard on her campus. How afterwards your dad fought for the rest of his days, for Allison’s death to ‘not be in vain’ and how, even today, we have lost every Kent State battle for truth about Allison’s death.”

My 86 year-old mother, Doris Krause, was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, growing up during the depression. When she was 20 years old, she married my dad Arthur just as he returned from service in WWII. Art and Doris Krause had two daughters, Allison and me.

In September of 1969, my big sister Allison went away to college. Allison was a smart, beautiful, loving, funny freshman enrolled in the Kent State University Honors College. She was deeply in love with her boyfriend Barry and was popular on campus. Allison had a special quality nearly impossible to describe, a compassionate, gorgeous, full-of-life young woman that seemed to have it all.

On April 23, 1970, our family celebrated Allison’s 19th birthday together in Kent, Ohio, going out for dinner. It was the last time any of us saw Allison alive.

Ten days later, our family life and world were torn apart forever. We heard about trouble at Kent State, then that Allison had been hurt. Frantically we searched for information on Allison but all the Kent phone lines were cut. Hours later we heard that Allison was dead on arrival at the hospital, killed by National Guard bullets.

Mr. President, there were no officials from Allison’s school, the state of Ohio or the National Guard to help us at the hospital when we identified Allison’s body on May 4th. Instead, at the hospital where her body lay still, we heard men with guns mutter to us, “they should have shot more.”

The 10 years following Allison’s murder were filled with lawsuits from the lowest courts in Ohio to the U.S. Supreme Court. I was going to college yet remember the government’s staunch resistance to our lawsuits and the utter unwillingness to share evidence or any reports on what happened to Allison in the May 4th Kent State Massacre. In 1979, the court cases ended with a settlement based on civil rights. http://bit.ly/1qd9tTO

During my family’s pursuit of justice for Allison we were constantly hounded by the FBI. Our phones were tapped, threats were made to my father, agents took pictures of us where ever we went. This harassment finally culminated in my father being offered a bribe. In the presence of author Peter Davies, my father was told to name his price for dropping his case, “One million, two million?” It was made clear that the bribe was coming through the Ford Foundation, and if he refused it, his job at Westinghouse and our family’s freedom would be in serious jeopardy. My father was furious and obviously turned this down in no uncertain terms, but the threats had a chilling effect on us. Every facet of our lives was ripped apart by Allison’s death and the endless harassment by our government.

Since May 4, 1970, the U.S. government has never allowed the Krause family to know the facts or see the evidence related to Allison’s murder on her Kent State campus. The truth at Kent State remained buried until recently in the examination of the Kent State Tape. http://bit.ly/R4Ktio

The Krause family rejects Attorney General Holder’s refusal to open a proper, impartial, independent investigation into the Murders at Kent State. We agree with Congressman Kucinich on Kent State, demanding the 2012 Department of Justice disclose their full report leading to their decision to close the books on Kent State again. http://1.usa.gov/IDiv2q

Two years ago, I began phoning the Justice Department about the new evidence found at Kent State, as the statute of limitations never lapsed on Allison’s murder. Mr. President, AG Holder’s Department of Justice refused my calls and kept sending me to the civil rights division even though Allison died at Kent State.

Last week’s Department of Justice letters on Kent State do not mention the loss of life on that campus, continuing this government ploy to deflect murder by pointing to loss of civil rights. A violation of Allison’s civil rights turned into homicide when they fired the bullets that took her away from us. http://1.usa.gov/IN6RDu

On May 4, 1970, just after noon as students were changing classes and a protest was called, the National Guard shot live ammunition at Kent State students. Our Allison was more than a football field away at 343 feet from the guardsmen that shot her to death. Since then, we have never learned what Allison did wrong to meet such a tragic, violent end. Our original call for ‘Allison’s death to not be in vain’ has been scrubbed from the history of the May 4th Kent State Massacre.

Coming back to what Mom asked me write to you, President Obama, she shared how, “The First Family is almost identical to the Krause family.” If this happened to your family President Obama, how do you think you’d survive this onslaught?

Last week Allison would have celebrated her 61st birthday. With the 42nd anniversary of Kent State approaching on May 4th, we continue to stand for Truth and Justice for Allison. We hope no more American families will bury their young as we did after Allison’s unnecessary and unwarranted death, with zero accountability by the May 4th Kent State Massacre perpetrators.

Please do not allow another Kent State anniversary to pass without truth and justice for Allison Krause and her fellow murdered classmates Jeffrey Miller, Sandy Scheuer and William Schroeder.

No More Kent States,

Laurel Krause
Kent State Truth Tribunal

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May 6, 2011

Dear Mr. President & General Holder,

My sister Allison Krause was killed at Kent State on May 4, 1970. I co-founded the Kent State Truth Tribunal with Emily Kunstler and we opened our doors for the first of three tribunals last year right around this time.

On May 1-4, 2010 we recorded, preserved and honored the stories of original participants and witnesses of the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970. It was a blessing that my mother Doris Krause, 85, was able to be present for the beginning of the Kent State healing.

As I returned to my home in California, I received word from Mom that the Kent State Tape had been examined for the very first time and a story was breaking in the Plain Dealer tomorrow, article here http://bit.ly/aM7Ocm That she had given a quote applauding the news of this long-denied order to shoot. That it had been analyzed and verified by Mr. Stuart Allen, a top forensic scientist (also Stuyvestant colleague of General Holder).

In October 2010 at the Kent State Truth Tribunal, we invited Mr. Allen to participate as a meaningfully-involved participant, to examine the Kent State Tape before our cameras. At KSTT-NYC, I received word that there was more than the command on the Kent State Tape. That Mr. Allen, in preparing for his KSTT testimonial, discovered a violent altercation recorded just 70 seconds before the national guard command to fire and ensuing barrage, 67 shots for 13 seconds. Read http://bit.ly/als1xB

As we opened our doors in NYC for our KSTT on October 9-10, 2010, and as a result of Mr. Allen’s shocking new evidence, Representative Dennis Kucinich, chair of the Domestic Policy subcommittee responded by immediately opening an investigation into the Kent State shootings. http://bit.ly/cO69Yx

Then the other shoe dropped. The Democrats lost the election and Rep Kucinich lost his seat as chair in the Domestic Policy subcommittee. http://bit.ly/hmM2SH

Looking back on my Kent State path, I was 15 years old when Allison was murdered. For nine years after, my family life and world were also blown apart forever, especially as my folks pursued justice for Allison in the courts. Mr. President, no one from the government ever came to help us, except for Senator Ted Kennedy, and now recently with Rep Dennis Kucinich.

Recollecting those horrible years, I remember my Dad entering the Kent State Tape into evidence in his lawsuits. Lots of folks called Dad Krazy Krause, he would not let this go. 40 years later, it was heartening to realize Dad knew that the tape held the key to the truth at Kent State. It has taken us over 40 years to be able to decipher and once in for all, hear the recorded sounds via Mr. Stuart Allen’s expertise and kgb audio software.

Mr. Allen verified the long-denied ‘order to fire’ at the unarmed students, and surprisingly discovered new evidence in the violent altercation between Mr. Terry Norman and students. Mr. Allen heard Mr. Norman’s later surrendered pistol shoot off four pistol rounds, creating the sniper fire claimed by the national guard. Mr. Norman was a consensual informant for the F.B.I. and working that day. More on Mr. Norman http://bit.ly/gSN9pP and http://bit.ly/994afB

Mr. Norman is one of many present that day, cogs in the wheel delivering four homicides on May 4, 1970 and crossing the line at Kent State, yet Mr. Norman’s actions directly connect the FBI with the command to fire. Mr. Norman’s actions prove the intent to create, as in instigate sniper fire 70 seconds before the guard shot. Now we understand the odd ‘Alright’ in the ‘command to fire’ order.

It is for this reason that I formally request you Mr. President examine the new evidence in this cold case homicide of Kent State. Furthermore I ask you to create an impartial and unaffiliated team to investigate the F.B.I. This is the same instruction I gave Congressman Kucinich.

From Wikipedia: Impartiality is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons.

Mr. President and General Holder, please examine the new evidence in the Kent State Tape.

Sincerely,

Laurel Krause

P.S.   Recent writing on learning the truth at Kent State in 2010, also published at the request of Rep Dennis Kucinich in the 2010 Congressional Record: Truth Emerging in the Kent State Cold Case Homicides http://bit.ly/fgI0h2

*******

Laurel Krause’s 6/9/2011 video on the new Kent State evidence and our call for a Kent State Inquiry in 2011:

Arthur Krause’s response to the slaughter of Allison Krause, his daughter, May, 1970:

She resented being called a bum because she disagreed with someone else’s opinion. She felt that our crossing into Cambodia was wrong. Is this dissent a crime? Is this a reason for killing her? Have we come to such a state in this country that a young girl has to be shot because disagrees with the actions of her government?

In today’s snail mail letter, I also enclosed my father’s words & image:

Yesterday on the Internet I discovered Arthur Krause’s words from 1979 and wish to share them with you. Here’s a picture of united Kent State, May 4th folks at a press conference, taken at the end of their nine year search for justice through the judicial system.

Arthur Krause is the tall man in the back, smoking a cigarette & my mom Doris Krause sits in front of him. My father shared, “The thing that I hope people remember … is that it could happen to their child. I was like everyone else and then it happened to us.”

Arthur and Doris Krause carry on their lives ten years after the incident, but the pain and the lessons of the last ten years are evident. “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 to result.”

Krause, the parent who initially began the quest for justice in the Kent State case continued, “I knew what was going to happen; that justice would not be served, but I wanted to make sure that there was pressure applied. In the beginning the other families were not as believing that nothing would be done; I think they thought I was some sort of radical. But I can tell you that if you don’t stand up for your rights they will be taken away from you just like they were from Allison and the others.”

Arthur and Doris Krause have mixed feelings about the 1979 settlement. “We don’t want the damn money ~ we want the truth. If we had wanted the money I would have accepted the one and a half million dollar bribe I was offered to drop the civil suit, offered to me in the presence of Peter Davies in 1971.

We want the facts out 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 ten years.”

Arthur and Doris Krause hope the movie would generate more of the same hate mail they have received for the past ten years. “They always point out that my daughter had gravel in her pockets . . . that this was the rationale for killing her . . . why didn’t they throw gravel at her?”

“The political climate is very similar to that in 1970,” Krause added, “Kent State, 1970 means we no longer have our daughter, but it also means something to all Americans. Our court battles establish without a doubt one thing. There is no constitution. There is no Bill of Rights.” ~ Arthur S. Krause

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MendoCoastCurrent, May 4, 2011

Jennifer Schwartz on her cousin Allison Krause at the 41st commemoration of the Kent State Shootings, May 4, 1970

My name is Jennifer Schwartz and I am Allison Krause’s cousin and also among the first generation of our family who never met Allison.

What can I tell you about my beloved cousin? I was less than a year old when she was shot dead on May 4, 1970. Had she not been killed, I would most certainly have known her.

I have spent my life trying to right this wrong in my own way, trying to get closer to her, to know her, endeavoring to honor her and make Allison proud. So I thank you for inviting me here today to tell you some of what I have learned about Allison from books and published articles, from her friends, from our family and from my efforts at the Kent State Truth Tribunal.

Allison Beth Krause was the cherished first of two daughters born to Arthur and Doris Krause, living in Cleveland Heights. Although roughly 10 years older than Allison, my father Marvin Schwartz remembers many summers playing with the Krause girls. My Dad talks about Allison as a sweet, fun, clever, pretty and vivacious girl. Many of Allison’s friends in Cleveland still remember her from those days back in grade school.

In the early sixties, Allison’s family went for Sunday drives out to the country 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.

Her father’s job at Westinghouse moved the family to Pittsburgh in the mid-sixties and then on to Wheaton, Maryland where Allison attended John F Kennedy high school. Many of Allison’s classmates were children of government employees, and with them Allison developed an active awareness of global issues and a well-formed understanding of American history, politics and civil rights.

As she found her political voice in high school, Allison joined the young people of those times who were against the ever-expanding war in Vietnam, and the draft lottery. She lent her voice to the calls for peace at demonstrations in Washington DC.

Allison’s father Arthur was a veteran of WW11. Back in the late sixties he was pro-Vietnam, like many of his generation. Allison’s sister, Laurel remembers many heated dinner-table arguments where she and her big sister objected to the war and nuclear weapons. It was a scene like so many other dining room debates back then.  From those debates, Allison knew: As an American she had a right to freedom of speech and a right to engage in peaceful assembly, all guaranteed by the first amendment.

Yet Allison was more than anti-war protester and advocate of civil rights. She was an active, caring person and was considering a career in a helping profession such as art therapy. My aunt Doris Krause recounts this story of Allison’s volunteer work at a hospital for the mentally disabled.  “She would go there at night and play basketball with them… and her biggest day that she had was when she came home and told us that one of the men had talked to her, and he hadn’t talked to anybody in a long period of years.  And she was so gratified by that.  So she had potential.  She was a smart girl and was just cut down.”

In the fall of 1969, Allison started college as a freshman here at Kent State. Her family had recently moved back to Pittsburgh, so Allison was still close to home. Allison lived in Metcalf Hall, and later Engleman, did well academically as an honors student, made friends quickly, and met another student, the love of her life, Barry Levine. Barry describes Allison as “a sweet, intelligent, loving, warm, intelligent, compassionate, creative, funny, intelligent girl.  As bright as they come.”

That fall, Allison traveled to Washington DC, like hundreds of thousands of other young people, taking part in a huge anti-war demonstration and peace rally.

In her last days, Allison reveled in the first Earth Day Celebration held on April 22, 1970. Buckminster Fuller erected a geodesic dome right here on the commons, just a few steps from Allison’s dorm. The following day, April 23rd, was Allison’s 19th birthday. Her family came in from Pittsburgh to celebrate, never imagining this would be the last time they would see her alive.

Allison assembled with others on Friday May 1st as she vehemently disagreed with the U.S. government’s decision to escalate the war and send more troops into Cambodia.  She spent the first weekend of May with friends, doing schoolwork, enjoying the first breath of Spring, but at night, running from the military and helicopters on campus, now occupied by the National Guard, the Highway Patrol, and campus and town police.

On Sunday afternoon May 3rd, Allison spent time outside, socializing with friends and started 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 one Guardsman’s gun, others say the flower was already there. What is certain, is that those moments have been preserved in several photographs. That guardsman’s smiling face is absolutely beaming in the pictures, there 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 attended the peace rally at the Victory Bell at noon with her boyfriend Barry. She was unarmed. She was vocal. I do not believe that Allison thought her life might be in danger on her own college campus. Not in America. Surely there weren’t real bullets in those guns… But there were bullets and there was intention to kill protesting students.

My cousin Allison Krause was shot dead in the Prentice parking lot, roughly a football field away from the shooting guardsmen. A steel jacketed, armor piercing bullet fragmented on impact in her left chest, according to the autopsy. She died on the way to the hospital, in Barry’s arms.

Who was my cousin? I wish I could tell you, but as mentioned, I never met her. And still, I stand here to say we will never forget her!

We honor her memory by emulating her actions. Personally, in my professional life as an art therapist, in my volunteer work as a community organizer, as a mother of a little girl named Allison, as a peacemaker, as an earth-conscious consumer, as a citizen and active participant in government… in all of these actions every day of my life, I honor Allison, and all those murdered at Kent State on May 4th.

This time last year, I memorialized the 40th Anniversary in the way I think Allison would have appreciated. With Laurel Krause, Emily Kunstler and the Kent State Truth Tribunal crew, we recorded and preserved the personal narratives of original participants and witnesses of the Kent State Shootings. The emotional healing that we witnessed during our four days together was immense. I encourage you to take a look at our project online at http://www.TruthTribunal.org.

In closing, I must tell you briefly about one powerful piece of  healing that is not viewable in the Kent State Truth Tribunal video archives. On the second day as I was greeting and checking in KSTT participants, a man, whom I later recognized from the photos to be THAT guardsman, the one with the flower in his rifle, came through the tribunal doors to share his truth & find his own healing. He did not want to film his story with us. And yet, he was there. Though he didn’t identify himself by name, he bravely told me that he had been among the guardsmen that weekend in 1970. I remember looking into his eyes as he spoke his truth to me for several long minutes. He simply came, as so many others did last year, to unburden himself, to try to heal his own wounds from Kent State and to connect with the spirit of truth.

Since last May, at KSTT NYC, I greeted and checked in the forensic scientist Stuart Allen, who is Keynote here today. Before our cameras, he examined the Kent State tape.  He verified an order to shoot and exposed suspicious additional gunshots. Listening to that recording, cleaned up by Mr. Allen’s state-of-the-art technology was gut wrenching.

The Krause family asks the federal government to open up an investigation into this new evidence, the Kent State tape. Because we understand, there can never be true healing without truth and justice.  We further encourage our government to issue a formal acknowledgment of the wrongs of Kent State on May 4, 1970… 41 years later, it’s time!

Finally, what I know in my soul is this… that none of the accounts that I have presented to you today can truly do Allison justice without justice being done. Allison believed in a just world.  She put her life on the line for it. Let us never give up in our pursuit of justice and healing at Kent State.

*****************

Watch Jennifer Schwartz’s 5/4/11 speech at the 41st anniversary of the Kent State Shootings ~

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