On the eve of the Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons entering into force, Peace Boat US co-sponsored a celebratory event and the launch of “Reverse the Trend: Save Our People, Save Our Planet”, using art and activism as a tool for positive change! Reverse the Trend is a global youth network that seeks to amplify the voices of youth from the frontline communities who have experienced the threats of nuclear weapons and climate change.
The effects of nuclear weapons development have been far reaching, from indigenous peoples in the United States, the environment and health of Marshallese people, victims of atomic bombs, and many others. At this event, the historical significance of the TPNW was celebrated along with the launch of “Reverse the Trend”. The event was sectioned into the past, present, and future of nuclear weapons. Peace Boat provided special guest speaker Ms. Toshiko Tanaka, a Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor and artist. Ms. Tanaka has worked with Peace Boat before to share her testimony around the world as a part of their Hibakusha Project and through her work as an enamel mural artist she has “appealed to the world to realize a ‘peaceful world without nuclear weapons’”. At the launch event she shared her personal testimony from Hiroshima. She urged everyone to make friends with many people all over the world as a way to encourage positive relationships and discourage war. Ms. Tanaka also offered a message of hope by stating, “I know one day we will live in a nuclear free world, and a beautiful blue sky will continue to shine above the heads of our future generations”.
Other speakers included the Ambassador of Kiribati to the United Nations, a representative of the Marshallese Education Initiative, international activists, and many youths involved in climate action and nuclear disarmament activities. The focus on youth activists was present throughout as their powerful thoughts and actions will be crucial to the future fight against climate change and nuclear weapons. They recognized that the TPNW entering into force is the beginning, not the end, of the work towards a nuclear free world.
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