August 6 and 9, 2018, marked the 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Among the 76+ commemoration events around the country were two in city council chambers. The city councils of Baltimore and Los Angeles voted , August 6 and August 8, to adopt resolutions urging the United States to embrace the nuclear weapons ban treaty (Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons) and implement an increasingly popular set of policies known as “Back from the Brink.” Both city council votes were unanimous.
Congratulations to Chesapeake PSR and PSR-Los Angeles for “thinking globally, acting locally” and working hard—with local allied organizations–to promote these city resolutions.
Jimmy Hara, MD, PSR-Los Angeles Board Secretary, and Junji Sarashina, President of the American Society of Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-Bomb Survivors (pictured at top) testified in favor of the Los Angeles resolution, which was championed by Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin. Edgar Lopez, an LA high school student representing Nuclear Free Schools, also testified in favor.
On August 6, Baltimore City Councilman Bill Henry championed the Baltimore resolution. “Today, I ask—on this anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima—that we change our course as a nation to one in which we are striving for a future in which our efforts towards building a stronger society are no longer diminished by our efforts to mutually assure our own destruction.”
“We’ve reached a time where the nuclear threat is the greatest since the Cold War,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz. “We need to have the United States join the 122 nations that voted to adopt the U.N. Treaty on Treaty on Nuclear Weapons, and we support a grassroots movement called ‘Back from the Brink’ which has been endorsed by cities across the country.”
Supporters celebrate passage of two LA City Council resolutions on August 8: the “Back from the Brink” resolution and a commendation from the LA City Council to the American Society of Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-Bomb Survivors (ASA). (Click image to enlarge.) LA City Council member Paul Koretz is in the center of the picture, displaying the commendation plaque alongside ASA President Junji Sarashina. Pictured to the right of Paul Koretz are three LA-PSR personnel: Board Secretary Dr. Jimmy Hara, Associate Director Denise Duffield (in blue), and Executive Director Martha Dina Arguello (in red) Besides PSR-LA, the LA City Council resolution was supported by Beyond the Bomb, Fukushima Support Committee, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, IPPNW, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Nuclear Free Schools-Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High School, SoCal 350 Climate Action, Veterans for Peace, and Women’s Action for New Directions.
“Nuclear weapons threaten all of humanity, which is something that the youth worldwide have recognized….They’ve acted to get influential cities like Los Angeles to act and get political leaders to listen. And this can be that time.” – Edgar Lopez, testifying on behalf of the LA City Council Resolution
This “Back from the Brink” language was incorporated into both the Baltimore and Los Angeles resolutions (as well as 12 other city and town resolutions in Massachusetts and California).
“We call on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by:
- Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first
- Ending the sole, unchecked authority of any president to launch a nuclear attack
- Taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert
- Canceling the plan to replace its entire arsenal with enhanced weapons
- Actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals”