Get Ready to Celebrate: It’s Peace Action’s 60th Anniversary!

Peace Action: Past, Present, and Future

This article appeared in the Summer 2017 Massachusetts Peace Action newsletter

Turning sixty is a milestone worthy of celebration. We members and supporters of MAPA look forward to celebrating sixty years of working for nuclear disarmament and peace this year.

My friend Barbara told me that her sixtieth birthday was actually the thirtieth anniversary of her thirtieth birthday. This formulation is especially apt for MAPA.

Thirty years ago, in 1987, the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign and the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, better known as SANE, merged into one new organization, SANE/Freeze. SANE had been founded thirty years earlier, in 1957, while the Nuclear Weapons Freeze campaign was initiated in Massachusetts in 1979.

Several years after this merger, the name of the merged organization was changed to Peace Action, with MAPA as its statewide affiliate.

So, in 2017 we are celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the original two peace organizations themselves and the thirtieth anniversary of the merger of the two into Peace Action —now the largest grassroots peace advocacy group in the United States.

Historian and activist Lawrence Wittner co-edited Peace Action: Past, Present, and Future in 2007 on the occasion of Peace Action’s fiftieth anniversary. The book describes the many times that the peace movement in the US and around the world pushed back against the use and testing of nuclear weapons. Wittner argues that the worldwide revulsion  against use of nuclear weapons have prevented another nuclear war since 1945.

Wittner tells of the meeting between Dr. Bernard Lown, co-founder of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Lown was looking at his watch as they spoke at length to reporters about nuclear disarmament when Gorbachev asked him, “Do you have something more important to do?”

We know we don’t have anything more important to do than work for peace and support and celebrate MAPA. We look forward to being with you for this celebration.  The event will be held Sunday, October 29 — more information about the time, venue and entertainment for the event is coming soon.    Stay tuned!