70th Anniversary of U.S. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki to be observed in Los Alamos and Santa Fe
July 20, 2015
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.”