70th Anniversary of U.S. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki to be observed in Los Alamos and Santa Fe

Activists and concerned citizens from across the nation are preparing to come to Los Alamos, New Mexico, the birthplace of the atomic bomb and main national nuclear weapons laboratory, to mark the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On Thursday, Aug. 6, and Sunday, Aug. 9, after processions through town and sitting in symbolic sackcloth and ashes, leading voices for peace will address rallies in the park at Ashley Pond, on the spot where the Hiroshima bomb was built. On Aug. 7 and 8, a national conference on nonviolence will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Santa Fe, NM, featuring the leading voices for peace in the United States. All events will be broadcast live on line to an expected audience of some 25,000 people, including viewers in Japan.

The events are sponsored by the national peace group, Campaign Nonviolence and all information details are available at www.paceebene.org/programs/campaign-nonviolence-national-conference/

Seventy years ago, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, vaporizing over 200,000 people, and injuring many more. Since then, the world has spent over $7 trillion building tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. Recently, the U.S. Congress approved $1 trillion more to upgrade the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal over the next three decades.

Events begin on Thursday, Aug. 6, at 2 p.m. in Los Alamos, NM, at Ashley Pond. Hundreds walk process up Trinity Drive toward the entrance of the Labs carrying peace signs, then sit in symbolic sackcloth and ashes, the oldest form of political protest, then return to Ashley Pond for a rally calling for nuclear disarmament. Speakers will include Nobel Peace Prize nominee, author, and Santa Fe resident Rev. John Dear, Roshi Joan Halifax of Upaya Zen Monastery and Rev. Jim Lawson, Civil Rights leader and friend of Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Friday, Aug. 7, from 9-4 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel, over 150 people will participate in a nonviolence training workshop with Campaign Nonviolence leaders Ken Butigan and Veronica Pelicaric.

The national conference on nonviolence will begin Friday night, Aug. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel, 100 Sandoval Street in Santa Fe, N.M., with a keynote address by civil rights legend Rev. James Lawson. Martin Luther King, Jr. called him “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”

The sold-out conference continues all day Saturday, Aug. 8, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. beginning with a keynote address by Prof. Erica Chenoweth, author of “Why Civil Resistance Works: The strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict,” which explains how nonviolent resistance has worked historically to bring about nonviolent democracies when tried. Other speakers during the day include national known peace activists Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence; Medea Benjamin, founder of CODEPINK; Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the HipHop Caucus; Roshi Joan Halifax of Upaya Zen Monastery; Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico; Marian Naranjo of Honor Our Pueblo Existence from the Santa Clara Pueblo, NM; Beata Tsosie-Pena from Tewa Women United in New Mexico; James Boyle, formerly of the Los Alamos National Labs; Sister Joan Brown, an environmental activist and teacher; and Ken Butigan, director of Pace e Bene and Campaign Nonviolence. Rev. John Dear and Kit Evans Ford will emcee the events.

On Sunday morning, August 9th, three full buses will leave at 9:30 a.m. from the Hilton Hotel in Santa Fe for Los Alamos, where the Nagasaki Day peace vigil will begin at 11 a.m. at Ashley Pond. After the procession through town and symbolic sackcloth and ashes action, over three hundred people will gather at the stage at Ashley Pond for a rally featuring Rev. Jim Lawson, Rev. John Dear, Medea Benjamin, Kathy Kelly, Jay Coghlan, Ken Butigan and others. The annual award from the U.S. Peace Memorial will also be presented. Girls from the Santa Clara Pueblo will do a hoop dance for peace, and teen age boys from Española will perform a break dance for peace. Over 50,000 peace cranes, made from all over the U.S. will be presented to Los Alamos.

All events will be broadcast free and live on line at www.campaignnonviolence.org and elsewhere. While the national conference on nonviolence is sold out, press passes are available. Contact the organizers above.

The four days of events are sponsored by Campaign Nonviolence, which last September organized over 250 demonstrations across the U.S. in all 50 states against war, poverty, nuclear weapons and environmental destruction, and for a new culture of peace and nonviolence. Campaign Nonviolence expects to mobilize another 250 demonstrations across the U.S. this upcoming September, starting the week of the 21st, which is International Peace Day.

“Millions of people across the United States are sick of violence, from the police killings to the Charleston massacre, from our drone attacks on children in Afghanistan and Pakistan, from our corporate greed and global poverty to our nuclear weapons industry and environmental destruction,” said organizer Rev. John Dear, who is on the staff of Campaign Nonviolence. “We are bringing people from across the nation to New Mexico to remember the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to call for nuclear disarmament, and to explore the potential of nonviolence as Dr. King taught it, that we might build a new movement for a new culture of peace and nonviolence. These may be the largest crowds ever at Los Alamos, and the first ever national conference on nonviolence.”

“I’m going to Los Alamos because nuclear weapons keep our planet on the brink of catastrophe,” Medea Benjamin, of CODEPINK, said. “The U.S., the only nation that has used a nuclear bomb, continues to violate its commitment to dismantle its arsenal, instead allocating $350 billion to maintain and modernize its nuclear forces in the next decade. As our government tells countries from Iran to North Korea to disarm, we must do the same. Abolishing nuclear weapons would make our world infinitely safer, and allow us to invest our funds in diplomacy, a just economy, and a green future.”

“Activists trying to nonviolently end wars, environmental degradation, and deplorable income inequities need one another,” Kathy Kelly, of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, said. “I’m coming to the Campaign Nonviolence national gathering to learn about these pressing issues and movement plans, to recognize shared purposes and to affirm our ongoing commitment.”

“We should be rebuilding our country with new schools, hospitals and bridges instead of spending a planned trillion dollars on ‘modernizing’ nuclear weapons and buying new missiles, subs and bombers to deliver them,” Jay Coghlan, of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, said. “The giant for-profit defense contractors are already trumpeting ‘The Second Nuclear Age,’ and we need to stop them.”

For further information, contact John Dear or www.campaignnonviolence.org www.paceebene.org


Open Letter to the Guy Carrying the Confederate Flag

By David Soleil

On a road trip to North Carolina, I saw many Confederate flags. Hundreds maybe. They were attached to pick-up trucks and motorcycles, on beach towels and bed comforters, on t-shirts and do-rags, and next to graves in cemeteries. What I saw were blatant symbols of racism on parade. I dismissed them all, except the one that you held.

You were marching by yourself on the corner near a gas station in Waynesville, North Carolina as you carried a large Confederate flag with the words “Heritage, Not Hate” written on it. You immediately struck me as different. You had the courage to stand on the corner, alone, waving a flag with the words “Not Hate” emblazoned on the front.

I’ve had a few conversations with passionate Confederate flag supporters. You think the massacre in Charleston was tragic. You think Dylann Roof was insane and he doesn’t deserve to wave the Confederate flag, the flag of your heritage. You think that most Americans don’t understand that brothers fought brothers in the Civil War and you know that some towns sent every man and boy off to war and no one came back home. You know the tragedy of the Civil War that runs deep in the South.

But now you see the Confederate flags coming down. You feel like your heritage is getting buried underneath a whole bunch of political correctness. You also want the government out of your business, especially when it tries to tell you what to do with your flag or any other part of your life. You think enough is enough.

Have I missed anything? These things came up regularly in my conversations with others. If I may ask, would you be willing to put down the flag for a minute so we can talk? The Confederate flag screams loudly in our culture and I want us to have a real conversation instead of a shouting match.

I teach leadership and nonviolence for a living. It is rare for me to find someone willing to stand alone on a street corner in their hometown for a cause. America needs your courage right now.

Your heritage will be well secured in American history books. It is already there. But right now, America isn’t fighting for its history. America is fighting for its future. We are struggling for a future without hate and division. Right now, we need you to stand up to hate in your community. It is that same hate that murdered nine innocent African Americans in Charleston. It is that same hate that comes out when, in Douglasville, Georgia, trucks with Confederate flags show up at the birthday party of an African American child and intimidate his family with guns and death threats.

I know you dislike these unspeakable acts of violence. Are you willing to say enough is enough? Are you willing to march with a flag for peace? Do you have the courage to stand, not on a street corner, but square in the way of those who commit these acts of violence in your town? You know who they are. They are the ones who said they wouldn’t march with you and your “Not Hate” flag. They are the ones who laughed at you. They are the ones who said you were crazy, even though they have three Confederate flags flying off the back of their truck.

One of the things nonviolence teaches us is that no one is beyond the reach of the human heart. We are all in this together. Christ spoke about this in his teachings, “love thy neighbor as thyself.” This is the same love Martin Luther King talked about called agape (ah-GAH-peh) love; “the insistence on community, even when one seeks to break it.”

I offer to you that nothing would be more courageous, nothing would be more honorable, and nothing would be more effective in ending the hate than you taking a stand in your community against it. Bring people together to make a plan of action. Imagine the heritage you will create today for future generations. In the peaceful world of your grandchildren, they will look back and proudly say it all started when you took a stand for peace and said “enough is enough.”

David Soleil, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the former chair of the Leadership Education group for the International Leadership Association, a founder and staff member at the K-12 Sudbury School of Atlanta.


NMSU to host grape field day at Fabian Garcia Science Center Saturday

New Mexico State University’s Viticulture Program and the New Mexico Vine & Wine Society will host a field day, Grape Day, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at the NMSU Fabian Garcia Science Center, 113 W. University Ave.

Grapes on a vine.
On Saturday, Aug. 1, New Mexico State University’s Viticulture Program and the New Mexico Vine & Wine Society will host the second annual Grape Day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the NMSU Fabian Garcia Science Center. (NMSU photo by Emily C. Kelley)

Tours of the vineyard are scheduled for 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Topics to be discussed at grape day include weed identification and management. The event is free and open to the public.

“We will talk about the different grape varietals’ country of origin and how they have adapted to the growing conditions of Southern New Mexico, what the purpose of our demonstration vineyards are, and the ongoing implementation of different agricultural practices in the vineyard,” said Daniel Goodrich, project coordinator for NMSU Extension Plant Sciences.

Grape vine plants will be available for purchase for $5 and a variety of red and white wine grapes and table grapes will be offered.

For more information contact Daniel Goodrich at 505-929-3942 or Goodrich@nmsu.edu.



SWEC: Mexican Wolves Need You!

Come to a rally in Las Cruces this Wednesday at noon

Congressman Steve Pearce (R-NM) has introduced a bill that would strip Mexican gray wolves of protection under the federal Endangered Species Act and turn management of wolves over to the states. This bill, disingenuously named the “Wolf Transparency and Accountability Act,” would essentially be a death sentence for wolves, since there are only about 109 left in the wild and the last time the states were in charge Mexican wolves went extinct in the U.S.

Please join us for a rally outside Rep. Pearce’s office to show him that we love wolves and want them to roam the Southwest’s wildlands.

Where: U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce’s office,  570 N. Telshor, Las Cruces, NM

When: 12-1 p.m., Wednesday, July 15

Bring: Your enthusiasm for Lobos, a sign, and if you wish an umbrella for shade. Water will be provided. (A sign-making party will be held at the Southwest Environmental Center on Monday, July 13 from 6-8 PM).

Click her for more information. For questions or more details, contact Tricia at 575-522-5552 or tricia@wildmesquite.org.


Talk at SWEC: Hidden Treasures of White Sand Missile Range

Join us on Tuesday, July 14th at 7:00 pm as staff biologists and archaeologists with the WSMR Environmental Stewardship Branch discuss their efforts to inventory and protect some of the hidden treasures on the U.S.’ largest military installation. Click here for more info.



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