by Elaine Scarry
On the evening of September 20, Cambridge City Council unanimously passed a resolution to “Urge the U.S. Congress to fulfill its obligation to prevent nuclear war as outlined in the Back from the Brink Campaign.” The resolution asks the federal government to endorse the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and to support the five Back from the Brink policy solutions: end first use; end presidential sole authority; end hair-trigger alert; cancel enhanced weapons; and pursue global elimination of nuclear weapons.
The bill was co-sponsored by Councilors Nolan and Sobrinho-Wheeler. On the evening of the vote, two additional Councilors — Carlone and Simmons — asked to be added as co-sponsors. City Council received many letters of support for the resolution from Cambridge residents who are members of MassPeaceAction, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Molly McGinty and Elaine Scarry, who had worked closely with Councilors Nolan and Sobrinho-Wheeler, both spoke on the night of the meeting. Molly described the humanitarian and environmental consequences of nuclear proliferation and underscored the importance of the Council’s action to people in her young generation. Elaine pointed out the importance of the provision that forwards the resolution to Congress and to the White House where measures such as “ending first use and sole authority” can, if given strong support from citizens and cities, become an enacted policy.
In passing this resolution, Cambridge joins cities such as Philadelphia, Washington D. C., Baltimore, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The 14 Massachusetts towns that have sponsored Back from the Brink include some close neighbors, such as Somerville, Brookline, and Newton.