The Golden Rule Sails Again for a Nuclear-Free World!

Peace Advocate December 2022

Watch webinar on the Golden Rule here!

By Helen Jaccard

In 1958 four Quaker peace activists sailed the Golden Rule toward the Marshall Islands in an attempt to halt nuclear weapons testing.  The US Coast Guard boarded her in Honolulu and arrested her crew, causing an international outcry.

Arrest of the crew and rising awareness of the dangers of radiation led to worldwide demands to stop nuclear testing.  This spurred the U.S., the U.S.S.R., and the U.K. to sign the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

In 2010 the Golden Rule sank in Northern California. For five years, dozens of Veterans For Peace, Quakers, and other volunteers worked to restore her.

Nuclear Abolition Mission Restored!

From 2015 – 2022, the Golden Rule sailed  the West Coast between British Columbia and San Diego and to Hawai’i and back.  

Golden Rule representatives have given hundreds educational presentations about nuclear issues and led many peace flotillas. Thousands of people visited the Golden Rule during four wooden boat shows.

The Golden Rule now sails for a nuclear-free world and a peaceful, sustainable future.

Great Start on the Great Loop!

Golden Rule Reaching Thousands of People Along Mississippi River!

From September 2022 through December 2023, the Golden Rule is sailing “The Great Loop”.  Starting in the Minneapolis / St Paul area, she sailed down the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, and Tombigbee River system to the Gulf of Mexico. In December, 2022, the crew will sail along the Gulf states and to Cuba. Then the little boat will continue from Miami up the east coast to Maine, through the Hudson River and Erie Canal, around the Great Lakes, and down the center of the country again, back to the Gulf of Mexico.

This 15-month voyage will take the Golden Rule into 100 towns and cities and cover 11,000 miles.  Along the way, Golden Rule representatives will speak to many groups about how their actions can bring about nuclear disarmament and stop the possibility of nuclear war. 

The first leg of the Golden Rule’s “Great Loop” voyage has been amazing, and gave the team great confidence in the viability of this ambitious undertaking. The Golden Rule Project has already had 45 events in 30 cities, with dozens of prominent articles and photos published in local newspapers, radio, and TV interviews.  There’s been lots of education, excitement and participation, many volunteers working on and crewing the Golden Rule, and $13,000 in donations.

The presentations started off-river in Duluth, Minnesota, where Duluth Veterans For Peace organized four days of events – starting with a press conference with the mayor of Duluth, the mayor of nearby Superior, Wisconsin, and a Minnesota state senator, all of whom spoke eloquently about the urgent need for nuclear disarmament. Project Manager Helen Jaccard and Captain Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa spoke to six high school classes and  made presentations in two churches. The team tabled all day at the Riverfront Harvest Festival and talked with scores of curious and supportive folks.  Two local papers covered the events. 

There were events in Hudson, WI, and in Stillwater, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Red Wing, MN.

Minneapolis Veterans For Peace and others have had a widespread petition campaign to urge the US government to ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. At the Riverfront Harvest Festival in Duluth. many new people signed the petition. 

The Golden Rule Project is also asking people to sign petitions in favor of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a No First Use policy, no unilateral Presidential authority to launch a nuclear strike, elimination of the $2 Trillion nuclear “modernization” program and the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act” (HB2860).

Mayoral Proclamations of Welcome: We received Proclamations of Welcome from the mayors of Des Moines, IA; Keokuk, IA; Davenport, IA; La Crosse, WI; Red Wing, MN; Burlington, IA and St. Louis, MO

Continuing to sail down the Mississippi River, the crew participated in events in Minnesota (Wabasha, Winona), Wisconsin (La Crosse and Prairie du Chien) and Iowa (Dubuque, Clinton, Davenport, Muscatine, Burlington and Keokuk).  Side trips were made by road to Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Ames, and Des Moines, with enthusiastic participation and good media coverage – radio and TV interviews, and mainstream newspaper articles in several more cities. In Des Moines, they met with religious leaders for lunch, and the evening event, organized by Catholic Peace Ministries, was very well attended.

Marshallese gathering in Dubuque, Iowa

One of the most significant stops on the first leg took place on October 9-10 in Dubuque, Iowa, where there is a community of 800 Marshall Islanders.  Sailboats escorted the Golden Rule into the harbor for a grand entrance. Marshallese women, in traditional dress, sang sweet harmonies of welcome. The Golden Rule crew and many observers were in tears. 

Many of the Marshallese didn’t know that the 1958 crew of the Golden Rule was trying to stop nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands. (The US exploded 67 nuclear bombs there, leading to many cancers, and rendering many of the islands uninhabitable, which is why there are Marshallese communities in the U.S.) They learned about that long- ago action, and that the Golden Rule was coming to their community!  What a great celebration!

Diversion to the “TenTom” waterway

The Midwest is experiencing a drought this year, so it was not safe to continue down the lower Mississippi River.  Instead, the crew decided to divert at Cairo, IL, into the Ohio, Tennessee, and Tombigbee River system to the Gulf of Mexico, arriving on December 1 into Mobile, Alabama.

The Golden Rule is Coming to Massachusetts!

The Golden Rule will be in Massachusetts in 2023 – 

New Bedford June 13-15
Plymouth June 15-18
Boston June 18-24

For a full schedule, please go to; on the home page is a link to the up-to-the-minute schedule.

Hope through Action!

Actions you can take to support the nuclear disarmament campaign:

  • Write letters to the editor calling for abolition of nuclear weapons.
  • Encourage your city council to pass a resolution in support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and other measures to stop the possibility of nuclear war.
  • Ask your Representative and Senators to co-sponsor the “Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act” (HR 2850).

Several national groups are now Co-Sponsors of the Golden Rule “Great Loop” Voyage.  They will help arrange events, provide literature, and do outreach for the events.  If your organization would like to co-sponsor this voyage, please send an email to

CodePink Women for Peace
Back from the Brink
World BEYOND War
Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom – US
United for Peace & Justice

Funding needed

With your help, the Great Loop voyage will allow the Golden Rule to visit 28 large cities and 68 small towns, bringing awareness of nuclear issues to thousands of people at a moment when more people than ever are concerned about the possibility of nuclear war.

You may make an online tax-deductible donation at

Or send a check to: 

VFP Golden Rule Project
PO Box 87
Samoa, CA 95564

Thank you for your support for the Golden Rule!  You are helping the Golden Rule sail for a nuclear-free world and a peaceful, sustainable future!