Action Alert:

Needham Takes a Stand for Nuclear Disarmament

This article originally appeared in the 2019 MAPA Summer newsletter

Back from the brink

Peace activists Peter Metz, Linda Davis, Joe McCabe and others in Needham are celebrating an important victory! Their Town Meeting voted on Monday May 13 to endorse the “Back from the Brink” Resolution.

Needham now joins a growing list of towns, cities and organizations that have signed on to “Back from the Brink” and other anti-nuclear- weapons resolutions. “Back from the Brink” calls on the US to renounce the first use of nuclear weapons; take nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert; end the unchecked authority of the President to initiate nuclear war; cancel the nuclear modernization plan; and pursue an agreement with nuclear states for elimination of their arsenals.

Linda Davis, a longtime peace activist, got the idea from Kea van der Ziel of Brookline and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Linda made a call to the chair of the Needham Select Board, who naturally said the town would only consider town issues. However, there was precedent from 1981, when the town had approved a Nuclear Freeze initiative, so the article moved forward. 

Kea helped the Needham group connect with a local doctor from Physicians for Social Responsibility, Dr. Joseph McCabe. In turn, the TAG (The Action Group) peace group of the North Hill retirement community joined forces and the campaign began. Telephone calls and mailings were sent to all Town Meeting members, letters to the editors were sent to both local papers, and members of the clergy were alerted. All TM members were informed prior to the vote. On May 13, 2019 the “ayes” won.  

Congratulations, Needham! Who’s next?

—Carol Coakley is a Mass. Peace Action Board member, co-chair of the Legislative-Political Committee, and the office manager.