Peace Action New York State challenges U.S. militarism in domestic and foreign policies through grassroots organizing by community and student leaders throughout the State. Together, we can work with elected leaders to create a U.S. foreign policy that promotes human needs, not endless war.
On August 6th, 1945, the U.S. dropped the first nuclear bomb used in war – and on August 9th, we dropped the second. The two bombings killed at least 120,000 people instantly, and hundreds of thousands more died in the months and years following, from toxic radiation poisoning.
Every year, peace communities across the United States come together to remember this lesson of history, and to advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons, so this dark chapter in American and World history, will never be repeated.
Below is a collection of resources as you mobilize communities across New York State to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki – and to ask why on earth we still have nuclear weapons on this earth.
Interested in attending an event near you? Find our chapter events across the State on our calendar,
CLICK HERE to find an event near you.
Posters + Palmcards: 8.5x11 + 5x7
You can view our poster and palmcard on the right. You can download them by clicking the links below:
Click HERE to download posters sharing stories of the U.S. narrowly avoiding nuclear disasters.
Click HERE to download palmcards sharing stories of the U.S. narrowly avoiding nuclear disasters (print double-sided).
Download a physical copy of our petition to President Obama, calling on him to keep his promises & work towards a world without nuclear weapons. Click HERE to download this petition, which you can circulate in your Peace Action chapter, community or school.
You can view our postcards on the right. You can download them by clicking the links below:
Click HERE to download postcards to the Japanese Consul General, apologizing for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Click HERE to download postcards to President Obama, calling on him to work towards a world without nuclear weapons.
Make Your Own Resources: Quotes
“Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century. And as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it. So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. “
~ President Barack Obama, April 5, 2009, Prague
“We simply cannot allow the 21st century to be darkened by the worst weapons of the 20th century.”
~ President Barack Obama, Nov 29, 2012, National Defense University, Washington, DC
“A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. And no matter how great the obstacles may seem, we must never stop our efforts to reduce the weapons of war. We must never stop at all until we see the day when nuclear arms have been banished from the face of the Earth.”
~ President Ronald Reagan, 1984 State of the Union Address
“Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.”
~ President John F. Kennedy, Address Before the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York City, September 25, 1961
“I think the fate not only of our own civilization, but I think the fate of world and the future of the human race, is involved in preventing a nuclear war.”
~ (Senator ) John F. Kennedy, Third Nixon-Kennedy Presidential Debate, October 13, 1960
“Nine nations still cling firmly to these ghastly instruments of terror, believing, paradoxically, that by threatening to obliterate others they are maintaining the peace. Quite unaccountably, all are squandering precious resources, human and material, on programs to modernize and upgrade their arsenals — an egregious theft from the world’s poor.”
~ Desmond Tutu, CNN editorial, Feb 13, 2014
“The sheer folly of trying to defend a nation by destroying all life on the planet must be apparent to anyone capable of rational thought.”
~ Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan
“Our collective efforts to move away from the nuclear abyss have remained too modest in ambition and brought only limited success. Nuclear weapons should be stigmatized, banned and eliminated before they abolish us.”
~ President Heinz Fischer of Austria, Sept. 26, 2013 at the UN
“Obama should visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, see the reality of the atomic bombings for himself, and take a determined step toward nuclear weapons abolition from the atomic bombed sites to the world.”
~ Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, April 29, 2014 at the UN..
“We are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe. We must run faster.”
— Former Senator and Nuclear Threat Initiative co-founder Sam Nunn ~ Nov 11, 2013, address to the American Nuclear Society
From our partners at United for Peace and Justice:
On July 6, President Obama announced his intention to maintain 8,400 troops on the ground and in harms way in Afghanistan.
UFPJ’s Coordinating Committee
PEACE ACTION STATEMENT, JULY 7, 2016
By Kevin Martin, President
Jon Rainwater, Executive Director
Once again, we are horrified by sight of tragic police killings, this time in Louisiana and Minnesota. Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and we stand in solidarity with their communities in mourning and outrage.
Mr. Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, has called this “a silent war against African American people.” That is a sadly accurate indictment of U.S. society, from police murders of African Americans to the obscene level of incarceration of people of color to the astonishing wealth gap between whites and people of color to institutionalized racism in its many insidious forms.
As a peace and social justice organization, we recall the Triple Evils of American society enunciated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – racism, militarism and extreme materialism. As a people, we must urgently address these sicknesses, and develop concrete policies and actions to transform and overcome them in order to build the Beloved Community.
This work includes not only creating racial harmony and justice but at the same time working in a targeted way to dismantle all forms of institutional racism in our criminal justice system. It also means ending the militarization of policing with weapons of war provided by the Pentagon to local police agencies.
Today, we join with Americans from all communities in sorrow, anger and determination for racial justice, for Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and all victims of violence and racism.
One action we can take immediately is to make our solidarity visible in communities across the country. This evening and in the coming days there will be many protest actions in cities from coast to coast and our physical presence together can speak volumes as we say NO to a continuation of this type of violence. The more of us who mobilize, and the more sustained our activism is, the larger that statement will be.
As we protest for justice and peace we also have the opportunity to push for specific changes that can bring about real justice. This fight for justice will take a nationwide movement of political organizers pushing for specific policy changes that can take down the walls of institutional racism brick by brick. Many of our local Peace Action chapters are active in the criminal justice reform movement. You can be too.
Our current criminal justice system is built up through local, state and federal level policies and practices. All of us can take action at whatever levels we see fit to push for positive changes that can transform policies in ways that can save lives. We can all pick up the phone and call our City Council members. We can ask them: “Are you active in pushing for criminal justice reform?” We can do the same thing with our state legislators and Members of Congress. We can get to know what policies are in place in our communities to hold police departments accountable and prevent police violence – and push for what is missing. We can demand that those who want our votes address these issues – or we can even run for office ourselves.
Here is a list of potential changes communities can make. It isn’t meant to be exhaustive, and you may not agree with everything on the list, but it gives some examples of concrete changes we can personally push for:
Ensure Community Oversight
The justice system must serve the community and not the other way around. To make that a reality, civilian oversight measures can both prevent problems and aid in accountability if there are violations of people’s civil rights. Oversight mechanisms can include technological measures such as body cameras and structural governance measures such as all-civilian oversight boards that are formed for by and of the community independent from the police department.
Make Lethal Force the Enemy, and De-Escalation the Focus of Policing in Tense Situations
Strong standards and policies need to be in place to prevent the egregious use of lethal force. Policies should ensure the use of minimal force so situations do not escalate and should hold police accountable for decisions that involve the use of force, especially lethal force. Significant increases in training in de-escalation are needed. Currently police receive much more training time in the use of firearms than they do in de-escalating tense situations.
Put in Place Rigorous Policies to Fight Racism & Protect Against “Implicit Bias”
Blatant racism in police departments exists far too often and needs to be rooted out by firing or disciplining offending officers. But racial prejudice isn’t always conscious. Studies show that unconscious racism impacts police behavior including whether a specific type of target is likely to be shot in a tense situation. Many criminal justice reform advocates believe training about implicit bias is needed for police leaders as well as for the rank and file. But training is only the start. Solid policies like those suggested by the National Center for State Courts need to be in place to protect against deep seated biases even after training.
End the “Broken Windows” Approach to Policing
Policing based on profiling and a focus on minor infractions can lead to escalations with deadly consequences. How many times has a broken taillight, or a person selling CDs or cigarettes senselessly escalated into a tragedy where a family loses their beloved brother, sister, father or mother? There is no evidence this popular style of policing with an aggressive focus on “quality-of-life” crimes has reduced more serious crimes. We need police departments to train police with a new less aggressive approach.
End For-Profit Policing, Prosecution and Incarceration
A profit oriented culture runs through the U.S. criminal justice system. It’s there in quotas for tickets, in municipal budgets funded by fines, in so-called civil forfeiture laws, and in mega-corporations profiting on mass incarceration. Instead of creating the proper culture of serving and protecting the community, these policies force certain communities to serve the system in a position of submission. The profit motive must be driven out of our criminal justice system.
Demilitarize Police Departments
Peace Action has seen the horrible pain created by an overly aggressive approach to “stability” in war zones the U.S. is engaged in. We don’t need that approach in communities here at home any more than we need them abroad. Peace Action is calling for an end to the Pentagon’s 1033 program (where surplus military gear is given to local police departments). Military or swat-style techniques like no-knock raids and forcibly entering private homes should also be avoided. Our police departments should not look like, or act like, occupying armies.
Create New Independent Investigation and Prosecution Mechanisms in Cases of Police Killings
It is unreasonable to expect local prosecutors to maintain their independence given how close they are to the local police force. There is an inherent conflict of interest. That’s doubly true when police are put in the position of investigating themselves. New mechanisms that allow for independent prosecution need to be built through changes in local practice and in state and federal law.
Finally, here’s one immediate action you can take right now: Please sign the petition by our colleagues at Color of Change calling for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to bring charges in the Alton Sterling case. When we all work together we can make the change needed. Let’s let the sadness in our hearts for the loss suffered by the communities of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile motivate us to make that change.
Black Lives Matter!
Our 20 New York student activists were among the most prepared lobbyists in D.C. After two days of meeting with peace action activists from across the country, they met with their Representatives’ offices to lobby for peace & share their wisdom with our politicians.
Then, they shared their feedback with us…
“First, thank you for making these past few days possible. Jordan and I had an amazing experience learning about the Peace Action national network, meeting other student leaders, learning about the issues, and lobbying on Capitol Hill. We came back from the conference with a lot of fresh ideas and enthusiasm for next year.” – Caleb, Binghamton
“I am really grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in Peace Action National’s annual meeting and discussion, as well as join everyone in lobbying. It was a truly invaluable experience, and I really appreciate the effort you put in to have us there! Everyone from PANYS has been so supportive, and I am grateful to be a part of the PANYS family!” – Michaela, Albany
“It was awesome !! I am so grateful I had this experience and met so many wonderful people.”
– Emilie, Long Island
“I was a little concerned to get involved with Peace work and a humanitarian work because I guess I am a little pessimistic. I’ve taken so many courses on human rights and they don’t discourage people to be a part of humanitarian work, but they do talk about how organizations have not always been successful or conducted themselves well. In this society, everything is about getting an end product, but what I’ve realize now is that human rights work does not always produce an immediate product. One doesn’t get a nuclear-free world from one night to the other. Also, if no one does it now, then when? If not me, then who else will?
After meeting so many students that initiated chapters years ago. I am shocked that Syracuse U didn’t start sooner! A school that prides itself on human rights activists. I just sent Diane an email telling her that I feel more confidant and excited to go back on campus to spread what I have learned in the conference. Its not enough to just learn about humanitarian work, because its not the same when you’re actually in the organization. The movement is also full of so many wonderful and optimistic people that work towards peace despite all the opposition, and that is so inspiring.
Finally, I want to thank you for being there. I think it was Michelle who said that your work is really important and she is right. You are impacting the lives of people and the world! I hope you know how much your students love and care for you. We all appreciate you in so many ways.”
– Whitney, Syracuse
“This was a great experience and I learned a lot and I’m so grateful to have gotten this opportunity!” – Jordan, Binghamton
Peace Action New York State in Washington, D.C.
Peace Action New York State was a force to be reckoned with at the Peace Action national meeting in Washington, D.C. – and in the halls of the House and Senate buildings. We brought 20 student activists and almost a dozen staff and community organizers to DC. Together, we met with the nine Congressional offices and the offices of both Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand.
Our key federal issues were:
SANE ACT (S.831/H.R. 1534) and OPPOSE NUCLEAR WEAPONS MODERNIZATION
The SANE Act would provide flexibility in planning for the future and ensure a bloated nuclear arsenal doesn’t shortchange more pressing priorities. For instance, the SANE Act would:
• cancel the development of the new Air-launched Cruise Missile (ALCM), a highly redundant and unnecessary weapon;
• defer production of new strategic bombers to 2025; and
• defer refurbishment of the ICBM force to 2025.
We also asked Members of Congress and the Senator to OPPOSE the Long Range Stand Off weapons and President Obama’s proposal to modernize our nuclear weapons arsenal with $1T USD over the next 30 years.
RESTRICT ARMS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA (S.J.Res.32/H.J.Res. 90)
The U.S. must restrict arms sales to Saudi Arabia because the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen is consistently failing to differentiate between civilian and military targets. The coalition was put on a list of child rights abusers by the UN because their reckless destruction in Yemen has left children as regular victims of their war. They then blackmailed the UN to be taken off of the list.
The day after our lobby day, the US halted the sale of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia – a significant victory for peace. This may also pave the way for the U.S. to join the 119-country strong ban on cluster munitions.
You can still take action to support this bill! Click Here to tell your Representative to restrict U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
REDUCE DEFENSE SPENDING AND MOVE THE MONEY
We asked our Representatives in the Senate and House to hold the Defense Industry accountable for its reckless spending and to support legislation to audit the pentagon, to end the overseas contingency operations account, and we suggested a number of cuts to make to the defense budget, as agreed upon by a broad coalition of organizations.
And – we won a key victory in this long fight! The Senate blocked a proposal to give 18 million more to the Pentagon. Find out how your Senator voted: Click Here.
State Lobbying: Protecting Student Peace Activism and First Amendment Rights
The New York State Legislature has recently considered sweeping legislation that would infringe upon our protected rights to boycott and protest – and one bill targeted student activism.
S. 8017: New York Senate Passes Legislation to Punish Student Groups that Organize Activities that “Cast Disrepute Upon” Any Allied Nation
The New York Senate, near the end of the legislative session, passed S.8017 that would make student groups ineligible for funding if they organized any activity that would “cast disrepute upon” any allied nation or corporation operating within an allied nation. Under this legislation, 56 countries and the corporations operating within them would be shielded from criticism. This legislation was drafted to punish the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement to economically pressure Israel to end the occupation and human rights abuses of Palestinian people. That alone is an infringement of our rights – but this bill would go much further, punishing student groups for criticizing the treatment of refugees by European allies, or discussing human rights violations at the US – Mexico Border. Thankfully, this legislation did not make it through the Assembly and was defeated this session.
Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order: “If You Boycott Israel, New York Will Boycott You”
On June 5, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to create a blacklist of entities that support the BDS movement for Palestinian rights and remove New York State funds from any “institution or company” determined to advocate for or participate in the BDS movement.
Boycotts are a constitutionally protected form of speech, association and assembly, as determined by the Supreme Court in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886 (1982) and affirmed in Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138 (1983).
And, boycotts have a long history of being used to successfully apply economic pressure to address great injustices. As activists, we divested from South Africa during apartheid. We boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. We threw British tea into the Boston Harbor!
We are continuing to work in coalition groups to oppose Cuomo’s Executive Order and all restrictions to our rights to protest, boycott – and to raise hell defending peace and human rights.
U.S. Conference of Mayors Unanimously Adopts Resolution “Calling on the Next U.S. President to Pursue Diplomacy with Other Nuclear-Armed States; Participate in Negotiations for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons; Cut Nuclear Weapons Spending and Redirect Funds to Meet the Needs of Cities
Sponsors include NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola
Indianapolis – At the close of its 84rd Annual Meeting yesterday, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), for the 11th consecutive year, adopted a strong resolution in support of Mayors for Peace, warning that “the nuclear-armed countries are edging ever closer to direct military confrontation in conflict zones around the world,” and calling on the next President of the United States “to pursue new diplomatic initiatives to lower tensions with Russia and China and to dramatically reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles.”
Cautioning that “more than 15,000 nuclear weapons, most orders of magnitude more powerful than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, 94% held by the United States and Russia, continue to pose an intolerable threat to cities and humanity,” and that “the largest NATO war games in decades, involving 14,000 U.S. troops, and activation of U.S. missile defenses in Eastern Europe are fueling growing tensions between nuclear-armed giants,” the USCM “calls on the next President of the United States, in good faith, to participate in or initiate… multilateral negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons as required by the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.”
The resolution commends President Obama for visiting Hiroshima and concluding negotiations with Iran, but notes that “the Obama Administration has laid the groundwork for the United States to spend one trillion dollars over the next three decades to maintain and modernize its nuclear bombs and warheads, production facilities, delivery systems, and command and control,” and that “federal funds are desperately needed in our communities to build affordable housing, create jobs with livable wages, improve public transit, and develop sustainable energy sources.” The USCM “calls on the next President and Congress of the United States to reduce nuclear weapons spending to the minimum necessary to assure the safety and security of the existing weapons as they await disablement and dismantlement, and to redirect those funds to address the urgent needs of cities and rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.”
The USCM also “commends Mayor Denise Simmons and the Cambridge City Council for demonstrating bold leadership at the municipal level by unanimously deciding on April 2, 2016, to divest their one-billion-dollar city pension fund from all companies involved in production of nuclear weapons systems and in entities investing in such companies,” and “congratulates Des Moines and its Mayor T.M. Franklin Cownie on Des Moines’ appointment as Lead City for the U.S. section of Mayors for Peace.”
Mayors for Peace, an international organization, founded in 1982 and led by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, aims through its 2020 Vision Campaign to achieve the global elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020. Mayors for Peace membership has grown by more than ten fold since 2003, as of June 1, 2016 counting 7,063 cities in 161 countries and regions including 207 U.S. members, representing some one billion people, one-seventh of the world’s population. On June 22 in Des Moines, Mayor Frank Cownie formally agreed to serve as Lead City for the U.S. section of Mayors for Peace.
Addressing the USCM International Affairs Committee on June 25, Mr. Yasuyoshi Komizo, Secretary-General of Mayors for Peace, explained:
“One common challenge we face is that many countries continue to maintain that their national security depends on nuclear deterrence. Yet nuclear deterrence is based on mutual distrust and attempts to maintain peace through the threat of indiscriminate mass killings. Such a system cannot be sustainable. We must also note that nuclear weapons cannot offer any effective solutions to the global security challenges of the 21st century. They also consume budgetary and technological resources needed for economic development, including the welfare of the world’s cities.”
The USCM is the nonpartisan association of American cities with populations over 30,000. Resolutions adopted at annual meetings become its official policy. This year, for the first time, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser added their names as co-sponsors of the Mayors for Peace resolution.
The full text of the resolution and list of 23 sponsors is posted at http://wslfweb.org/docs/MfP-USCM-res2016.pdf
Official version: http://usmayors.org/resolutions/84th_Conference/proposedcommittee-review.asp?committee=InternationalAffairs
The 2016 Mayors for Peace USCM resolution was sponsored by:
T. M. Franklin Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, Iowa
Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, Ohio
Joy Cooper, Mayor of Hallandale Beach, Florida
John Dickert, Mayor of Racine, Wisconsin
Roy Buol, Mayor of Dubuque, Iowa
Mark Stodola, Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas
Marcus Muhammad, Mayor of Benton Harbor, Michigan
Alex Morse, Mayor of Holyoke, Massachusettes
Kitty Piercy, Mayor of Eugene, Oregon
Chris Koos, Mayor of Normal, Illinois
Laurel Lunt Prussing, Mayor of Urbana, Illinois
Salvatore J. Panto, Jr., Mayor of Easton, Pennsylvania
Geraldine Muoio, Mayor of West Palm Beach, Florida
Frank Ortis, Mayor of Pembroke Pines, Florida
Ardell F. Brede, Mayor of Rochester, Minnesota
Muriel Bowser, Mayor of the District of Columbia
Christopher L. Cabaldon, Mayor of West Sacramento, California
Miguel A. Pulido, Mayor of Santa Ana, California
Charlie Hales, Mayor of Portland, Oregon
Patrick L. Wojahn, Mayor of College Park, Maryland
Paul Soglin, Mayor of Madison, Wisconsin
Denny Doyle, Mayor of Beaverton, Oregon
Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, New York