President Obama’s Hiroshima Visit: Let’s Make it Count!

For weeks before President Obama attended the G-7 meeting in Japan, Mass Peace action joined with other peace groups around the country to demand that the President include Hiroshima in his visit.  When the President’s office announced he would visit the site of the atomic bombing  of Hiroshima by the United States, we demanded that he meet with survivors of the horrific attack.

In response, President Obama did visit Hiroshima and met with the hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) last week. At that historic site he spoke eloquently of the horror of the birth of the atomic age and the scourge of using war as an instrument of policy.  Once again, as he had at the beginning of his presidency in Prague, he proclaimed the need for a world without nuclear weapons. Sadly, however, our President announced no new concrete initiatives that would move the world in the direction he correctly announced was necessary.

On April 13, the New York Times warned its readers that the U.S. plan to spend $1 trillion to “modernize” its nuclear arsenal raises the menacing specter of a new arms race with Russia and China. Without a powerful grassroots movement dedicated to nuclear disarmament, the world’s nuclear crisis will only get worse instead of better.   Massachusetts Peace Action is dedicated to helping to build that movement.   Please give generously so we can expand our work in the second half of 2016!

Here’s what we’ve been doing:

  • We met with Senator Ed Markey last Wednesday and delivered to him petitions signed by thousands of Massachusetts residents like yourself.   He gave a speech on the Senate floor introducing an amendment to eliminate funding for a new nuclear cruise missile – one of the most threatening weapons in the U.S. “modernization” program.  If you haven’t already, please sign the petition today and help us circulate it!
  • Under the leadership of our board member Denise Simmons, Mayor of Cambridge, the city council voted unanimously in March to divest its $1 billion pension fund of companies that make nuclear weapons.  Mayor Simmons will bring this nuclear divestment campaign to the annual meeting of the US Conference of Mayors in June.
  • Our board member Jonathan King organized a conference which drew 300 people to MIT on April 2, one third of them students, not only to discuss the growing nuclear threat but to formulate strategies to expand the movement to eliminate them.
  • Peace Action national organizers meeting 2016
    Attendees at Peace Action national organizers meeting, May 2016
    Our campus organizing work is taking off. Peace Action chapters have been formed this year at Harvard, Tufts, Brandeis, Emmanuel, and Holy Cross, and at Newton North and South High Schools. The students organized movie nights, faculty panels, open mic nights, and talks by experts and members of Congress on their campuses, and six of the student leaders attended Peace Action’s National Organizers Conference and lobby day in Washington last week (left). To sustain the work we need to increase the investment in the work  by extending the hours of coordinating staff and supporting the work on more campuses. 

Massachusetts Peace Action operates on a shoestring. Our budget last year was $92,000, allowing only one full time staff person and several very part time positions — we do much with very little. Even a small increase in your contribution will mean a world of difference to us! We are poised to expand our network of student chapters and eager to expand the efforts of our young staff member(s) who can build a new generation of MAPA members and activists in the cause and strengthen our core work with additional staff support. Please give generously so we can move towards a nuclear-weapons free world!