Marilyn Kimmerling selected as 2020 GTPP Laureate

Greater Tacoma Peace Prize - Marilyn Kimmerling

Photo courtesy of Greater Tacoma Peace Prize
Marilyn Kimmerling, the 2020 recipient of the Greater Tacoma Peace Prize, is one of the founding members of Tacoma chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, a member of 305 Tacoma, and an active associate member of Veterans for Peace.

Greater Taccoma Peace Prize

“GTPP places a spotlight on the amazing peacemakers in our own backyard who donate their time and resources to the cause of peace.”

— Janet Lee Ruud, GTPP President

Recognizing the importance of both global human rights and climate justice, the Board of Directors of the Greater Tacoma Peace Prize (GTPP) proudly announces the selection of Marilyn Kimmerling as the 2020 GTPP Laureate.

Kimmerling believes in and works for worker rights, minority rights, human rights, and finding peaceful solutions to conflict. Since climate change is already resulting in mass migrations and conflicts over land and resources, her work has grown to include climate justice.

Marilyn has been a community activist since the mid-1990s. Two organizations where she had great impact were Jobs with Justice, where she served a term as chair, and United for Peace of Pierce County, where she was one of the major organizers.

Kimmerling is one of the founding members of the Tacoma chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, a member of 350 Tacoma, and an active associate-member of Veterans for Peace. In 2017, she co-founded the current Tacoma branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, and she is currently active with the Save the Wetlands Behind TCC campaign. She is the chief organizer and writer of material for “Raging Grannies” and their myriad performances. She is president of Radio Tacoma, having worked tirelessly on the successful Federal Communications Commission application for an FM radio license, and she has continued volunteering with them for six years. (Radio Tacoma is a low-power FM public access radio station, developed to serve Tacoma with opportunities for progressive groups, union members, minority groups, and local talent that might otherwise not be heard.)

Believing that the proposed Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) storage/refinery presented a regional environmental and health threat, and having exhausted other means of opposition (for example, attending, and speaking at numerous public meetings), and motivated by compassion and conviction, Marilyn and five others engaged in acts of civil disobedience, knowing they risked arrest. The risk was outweighed, they believed, by the plant’s potential danger and the treaty violation involved in its construction. They were indeed arrested, tried by jury, and exonerated on all counts.

In today’s world, the need for community activists is never-ending, and Marilyn continues to show up to build local and global community that is humane, compassionate, and just. On her own initiative for more than 10 years, she held Soup Sundays in her home, an open house for all of Tacoma, to build community. 

“Marilyn Kimmerling is the epitome of a human being working on behalf of others, and she possesses the ‘know-how and do-now’ energy. Furthermore, she exudes a spirit of warmth and inclusiveness, which is an inspiration to others. She is most worthy of the 2020 Greater Tacoma Peace Prize,” said Nancy Farrell, who nominated Kimmerling.

The Greater Tacoma Peace Prize, inspired by the Nobel Peace Prize, was founded in 2005 to honor local peacemakers, and it has been formally endorsed by the Pierce County Council and the Tacoma City Council. In Norway, partners of the GTPP include the Norwegian Nobel Institute, Norwegians Worldwide (Nordmanns Forbundet), the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue, Bjørknes College, the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, the Nobel Peace Center, and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo. Recipients of the Tacoma award are honored at a laureate recognition banquet in the fall and are presented with a trip to Norway in December for the Nobel Peace Prize events.

This article originally appeared in the May 22, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.