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Remember Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Create a Nuclear-Free Future a Great Success!

September 1, 2010

Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility expresses our sincere appreciation to all who attended and helped organize Remember Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Create a Nuclear-Free Future, on Friday, August 6th, 2010. The event is held annually in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombings of the two Japanese cities on August 6th and August 9th of 1945. There was an amazing turnout this year, and we take sincere inspiration from seeing so many people gathered together to acknowledge the very real threat of nuclear weapons and to take action for a nuclear-free future.

Our speakers brought diverse perspectives and keen insight to this year’s event. Atomic bomb survivor (or hibakusha) Michiko Kornhauser spoke eloquently of her experiences as a child, of moving through burned, toxic and tortured landscapes following the bombings, and of the lessons she learned from this experience. Oregon House District 42 Representative Jules Kopel-Bailey discussed our shared responsibility to hold our political leadership accountable for abolishing the threat of nuclear weapons. SGI Buddhist’s Danny Hall gave us a spiritual perspective on both the bombings of 1945 and the modern reality of nuclear weapons, and Oregon PSR’s Fran Storrs, MD, shared with the audience ways that each one of us can work to create a nuclear-free world. Our special thanks go to Ronault "Polo" Catalani of the City of Portland Office of Human Relations for so effectively, and poetically, moderating the event.

As Polo so succinctly phrased it, “The other side of tragedy is joy”, and the event was indeed a joyful celebration! With music by the Live Free Odaiko taiko drum group, a dance and sound performance by Chisao Hata, poetry by Polo Catalani, a rousing call-and-response call to peace by Portland emcee Rocket One, and the youthful exuberance of the Universal Zulu Nation free-style rappers and dancers, the sounds and sights of a joyful people reverberated through the setting sunlight of the Portland waterfront, reminding those in attendance of the power of our shared humanity.

We were pleased to see such a diverse and enthusiastic crowd in attendance. People from all walks of life gathered together in both silent contemplation and in celebratory dancing, in acknowledgement of the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and in the envisioning of a more just and peaceful future. Babies and grandmothers, hip-hop dancers and community activists, veterans and artists and concerned citizens of all kinds, gathered together to raise a collective voice that the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will never be forgotten. Instead, these tragedies will continue to serve as a reminder that our species will not be whole until every nuclear weapon, and every system that encourages their existence, are abolished from the earth.

Our sincere appreciation to all of the individuals and organizations that made this year’s event such a success! Co-sponsoring organizations included Alliance for Democracy, American Friends Service Committee, City of Portland Office of Human Relations, Community Alliance of Lane County, Dharma Rain Zen Center, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, First Unitarian Church Peace Action Committee, Japanese American Citizens League,  Metanoia Peace Community United Methodist Church, Multnomah Friends Meeting, Oregon Hiroshima Club, Oregon Nikkei Endowment, Peace and Justice Works, Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, SGI Buddhists, Sisters of the Road, Universal Zulu Nation, Veterans for Peace Chapter 72, and Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom.

For more information on our annual commemoration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or to get involved in planning or volunteering for next year’s event, please contact Sean Tenney, Communications and Development Associate, at sean@oregonpsr.org or 503-274-2720.

 

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