On August 5, 2015 at 4 pm sharp, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles (PSR-LA), Pax Christi, and eleven other social justice organizations will host “Never Again – Hiroshima 70th Anniversary Vigil” at the Chain Reaction peace sculpture in Santa Monica. A moment of silence will be observed at 4:15 pm, the exact time the first bomb was dropped over Hiroshima (8:15 am August 6 in Japan local time).
The vigil will feature a presentation of the Hiroshima Peace Flame by Reverend Ryuzen Hayashi of the Koyasan Buddhist Temple. The flame was brought from Hiroshima to Los Angeles by former Mayor Tom Bradley in 1989.
“It is imperative that we remember the destruction and lives lost 70 years ago due to the atomic bombings,” said Dr. Jimmy Hara, Board Member of PSR-LA. “Most were women, children, and the elderly. Nuclear weapons must never be used again.” Hara is a longtime advocate for nuclear disarmament and the recipient of numerous public health awards including the Medical Board of California’s Physician Humanitarian Award.
The August 5 Hiroshima commemoration will also feature journalist Robert Scheer, Editor-in-Chief of TruthDig, who has covered nuclear issues since the Cold War. Scheer has interviewed every President from Nixon to Clinton. In a 1980 Los Angeles Times interview, then-candidate George H.W. Bush revealed to Scheer that he believed a nuclear war was winnable.
The global nuclear arsenal has since dropped dramatically, from 70,000 weapons to over 15,000 today. But many scientists and scholars contend the nuclear threat remains very real – and growing. This year the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hand on its allegorical “Doomsday Clock” further to 3 minutes before midnight, citing weapons modernization programs, stalled arms reductions, and international tensions.
A renewed global effort for disarmament is emerging. At the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference in May, 159 countries (82% of all nations) delivered a Joint Statement demanding that the nuclear-armed countries agree to totally eliminate their arsenals. Over 110 countries support a legal ban.
Focusing on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent have called for weapons elimination, and just last month, the American Medical Association adopted a resolution urging the U.S. and world governments “to continue to work to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons.”
Pope Francis has also called for nuclear abolition. “Pope Francis reminds us that even the possession of nuclear weapons is morally problematic.” said Alice Soto of Pax Christi, a Catholic peace organization. “As we remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we must recommit to abolishing these indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction.”
The “Never Again” vigil will take place at the Chain Reaction peace sculpture in Santa Monica, which depicts a nuclear mushroom cloud created from chain links. The sculpture was designed by three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Conrad and gifted to the City of Santa Monica in 1991.
For more information, see attached flyer or visit http://www.psr-la.org/never-again-hiroshima-70th-anniversary .
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PSR-LA is the largest chapter of the national organization, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the American recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Physicians for the Prevent of Nuclear War.