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Think Global, Act Local: Women March to Ban the Bomb in Your Community

Posted by Martin Fleck on May 19, 2017
Ray Acheson, Director of Reaching Critical Will, spoke at the April 27 conference at Capitol Visitor Center, Toward a Fundamental Change in Nuclear Weapons Policy, cosponsored by PSR
Photo by: Chuck Gomez

The campaign for a nuclear weapons ban treaty has brought democracy to disarmament. In the words of ICAN campaigner Ray Acheson, "we need to amplify what's going on inside the U.N. to outside." Ray is walking her talk, spearheading the public Women's March to Ban the Bomb in New York City on Saturday, June 17 to coincide with the kickoff of the second round of ban treaty negotiations at the United Nations. PSR is a proud sponsor. There will be solidarity marches elsewhere, and PSR encourages you to participate in a march near you!

PSR and allies are participating in the Women's March to Ban the Bomb to help garner popular support for banning and eliminating nuclear weapons worldwide. PSR will have a delegation of members taking part in the march in New York City, so if you plan to participate in the march, please join us! Please contact PSR's Communications Manager, Elana Simon, so we can arrange to rendezvous with you at the start of the march.

Although the march and negotiations are taking place in New York, nuclear weapons impact each and every one of us in our local communities. For that reason, the organizers of the New York march are encouraging campaigners around the world to host solidarity marches on June 17. In the United States, the first announced "solidarity march" will be in Chicago, Illinois. In New Jersey, the Coalition for Peace Action is organizing a Peace Train from Trenton (on NJ Transit) on the morning of June 17. Details here.

Would your PSR chapter like to celebrate a concrete step toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons? Then visit Women's March to Ban the Bomb to find out how your chapter can plan a solidarity march in your community. Reaching Critical Will offers comprehensive resources to plan a solidarity march, including a webinar with background information about the ban treaty, talking points, and step-by-step instructions on how to organize with community activists to plan a march. If you know of a sister march in another community, please let Elana Simon know and we can alert PSR members in that area.

At a PSR-cosponsored event at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center on April 27, Ms. Acheson, who is Director of Reaching Critical Will, pronounced at the podium: "We're banning nuclear weapons. It's no longer hypothetical possibility." (transcripts from the all-day conference, Toward a Fundamental Change in Nuclear Weapons Policy, are available here.) The nuclear ban movement illustrates how ordinary citizens and civil society have helped make the ban treaty a reality. Disarmament is a people-powered movement. When the ban treaty negotiations kicked off in New York in March, 2017, more than 200 civil society groups gathered for the negotiations alongside national delegations.

Reaching Critical Will is a division of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. This march was inspired both by the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons campaign that led to the ban treaty negotiations, and the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017.

The Women's March to Ban the Bomb recognizes critical connections between the disarmament movement and advocacy for gender equality. The June 17 march is led by women (and welcomes marchers of any gender) in recognition of women's contributions to disarmament activism and in critical defiance of the marginalization of women in national security policymaking. In fact, Reaching Critical Will reported that during the first round of ban treaty negotiations, delegations from Bangladesh, Ireland, Jamaica, and Sweden requested a reference to gender and the disproportionate impact of nuclear weapons on women in the text of the treaty. The Women's March to Ban the Bomb celebrates women's contributions to the realization of the nuclear ban.

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