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Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference

by PEAC INSTITUTE A NJ NONPROFIT CORPORATION
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Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference
Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction Conference

COVID-19 Pandemic Changes Everything -

giving the world a warning of what we face if climate and nuclear weapons issues aren’t seriously addressed

By Chuck Johnson, IPPNW Program Director & Molly McGinty, IPPNW Program Associate

On behalf of the Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction (YEPE) team, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), PEAC Institute, and Physicians for Social Responsibility – New York (PSRNY), thank you for your continued support of this important project! As you know, the goal of YEPE is to mobilize young people in the work of combating the dual threats of the climate crisis and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. 

Since the creation of YEPE, and despite the global curve ball thrown at everyone by the rapid spread of COVID-19 pandemic, we have made strides in making this goal a reality.  In some ways, this pandemic has given the world a taste of the kind of chaos we can expect in the future if we do not attend to global issues great and small and cease wasting lives and effort in counterproductive activities. 

Please see the excellent graphic below from our colleagues at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), illustrating the catastrophically bad choices being made by the United States, which is representative of similar figures for nuclear weapons states throughout the world.

World Conference 2020 canceled – moved to video conferences

YEPE was and is a key partner in planning the World Conference 2020: Youth Assembly previously scheduled for the first day of the World Conference to Abolish Nuclear Weapons; Resist and Reverse the Climate Crisis; For Social and Economic Justice

The conference was scheduled to take place from April 24-26, 2020 at historic Riverside Church in New York, on the eve of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Review Conference (NPT RevCon) at the United Nations headquarters.  Since the NPT RevCon and the in-person pre-conferences are now canceled due to COVID-19, we are making new arrangements for a series of interactive video-conferences.  Dates, times, and agendas for these video-conferences will be announced very soon.  We are also, tentatively planning, COVID-19 willing, to hold the in-person conferences before next year’s rescheduled NPT RevCon.

The many hours we have put in since October, planning and conducting outreach for the Youth Assembly, have been productive in developing strong working relationships with New York Peace Action and its network of 22 campus chapters, Buddhist peace organization Soka Gakkai International, and the New York office of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, whose staff is experienced, as a partner with IPPNW and PEAC Institute, in arranging for international conferences on nuclear weapons and war aimed at young people.  Our most recent collaboration was in arranging for a group of fifteen young people from New York and Boston to attend ICAN’s Paris Youth Forum on February 14-15, 2020.

Participation of Boston-based university students was organized by former IPPNW Quaker Voluntary Service Fellow Eust Eustis, who remains active in helping organize campus follow up activity with the leaders who attended the Paris Forum as the nucleus of campus activity going forward.  We anticipate growing collaboration in both Boston and New York, with our YEPE partners, focusing on the intersection of climate, justice, and nuclear weapons issues and the imperative in addressing them as illustrated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Young people get it:  these global problems are linked

When the immediate chaos subsides, we plan to resume working with ICAN in following up on its  Schools of Mass Destruction report, for which events planned for April of this year in Boston and elsewhere in the US have been temporarily delayed.  We see great promise in the intersection of efforts to get universities to cease assisting and investing in nuclear weapons development and production, as part of an existing effort to end investment in climate-disrupting fossil fuel production.  Our experience is that young people who understand the climate threat, easily grasp and embrace the severity of the threat of nuclear weapons when they have the facts presented to them.  We look forward to seeing what creative ideas and campaigns they will create in the coming years as we continue to pursue this critical project.

Your contribution directly assisted in getting YEPE off the ground this year. We would not have been able to put as much time and resources into this event if it wasn't for your generous support.  Thank you, again! We will follow up in future reports, regarding the success of the on-line Youth Assembly and other YEPE projects going forward.

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This year has flown by! I'm excited to share what we've been up to and our plans for next year. Very honored and proud to share our newest board member is Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins. Ambassador Jenkins comes with 10+ years of experience in the US government, specifically in the area of WMDs. To see her full bio click here!

With the addition of Ambassador Jenkins, we are looking to broaden our reach and capabilities in regard to policymaking. We have been working with our partners and have also been asked to join a number of committees and working groups at the UN. This is a very exciting development for PEAC. Having the ability to push revolutionary love and heart-centered leadership at some of the highest levels of government and foreign policy is at the heart of why PEAC was created. It's a very exciting and proud moment for PEAC. I am beyond grateful for all your support and encouragement along the way. We could not have made it this far without you! 

Through the Survivor's Appeal | Hibakusha Appeal we have also been making inroads with other groups and organizations. PEAC was asked to speak at The Busan Democracy Forum in Busan, Korea this past October. We presented our empathy-building curriculum based on the sorties of survivors from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. It was very well received and as we do everywhere we go, we pushed people to sign the appeal. We have a good partnership with the groups in Korea working on reunification and will be back in February 2020 to continue the work. Through this conference, we connected with the UN75 committee and are now working on the 75th-anniversary events. We have proposed there be a deeper connection to nuclear abolition establish - especially as the preamble to the UN states "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small." We are currently working on this with the committee and this too has been very well received. 

Looking to 2020 and our project, called Youth Empowerment to Prevent Extinction (YEPE), is a collaboration with the Nobel Prize-winning organization International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, IPPNW and their sister organization, New York Physicians for Social Responsibility. Our first major event is coming in 2020 YEPE is playing a key role in planning the youth track for the World Conference to Abolish Nuclear Weapons; Resist and Reverse the Climate Crisis; For Social and Economic Justice. The conference will take place from April 24-26, 2020 at historic Riverside Church in New York, on the eve of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Review Conference. This conference will educate hundreds of youth activists and focus attention on the twin existential threats of nuclear war and climate change. The youth activists will leave the conference with new information, realistic goals, and life-long connections to continue their work to combat these threats. Here's a note from the conference organizers: 

 

"The World Conference will provide a timely opportunity to sound the alarm and to inspire popular movements and sympathetic governments to address the challenges, posed by growing dangers of nuclear war, the climate crisis and the racism, repressions and · inequalities spurred by authoritarian, militarist and oligarchic governments. Racism, other forms of hate and growing economic inequality, driven in part by the rise of authoritarian governments, truncate the lives and hopes of people across the planet. The World Conference will provide a unique opportunity for the world’s nuclear disarmament campaigns, allied movements, and organizations, and diplomats committed to banning and eliminating nuclear weapons to amplify our abolition demands to the Review Conference. Making links to climate and social and economic justice movements offers a new opportunity to develop the alliances and intersectional movements we will need to prevail. Our events will include: • A World Conference against A- & H- Bombs held at a suitable site in Manhattan • A rally and march to the United Nations • Presentation of millions of petition signatures calling for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons to the NPT Review Conference • Self-organized youth event"

We are very excited about this new project and partnership. We hope you will follow us on this journey! 

Have a blessed and wonderful NEW YEAR. Here's to clear vision in 2020!

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Interviews at Hachidorisha - the Social Book Cafe
Interviews at Hachidorisha - the Social Book Cafe

We have been busy, busy, busy, thanks to your help and support of our efforts! We're working on a multi-pronged approach. Since our project has started, we have been working on:

NYC Nuclear Divestment Campaign 

  • advocating at city hall four times so far
  • 4 Video interviews 

Japan Interviews  

  • 28 interviews in 4 days
  • Two video clips in 1.5 months 

Youth Conference for NPT

  • Collation building 
  • Meeting with NJPA 
  • Conference calls to help with setup of conference 

Direct Actions

  • United in Outrage
  • Climate Crisis Rally
  • Marched and demonstrated in both
  • Conducted video interviews for both - 5 at United in Outrage and 7 at Climate Crisis Rally 

For the NYC Nuclear Divestment Campaign, we have been working on Council Member Daniel Dromm's Package of Legislation on Nuclear Disarmament. Attached to this report are additional documents about this campaign. So far the YEPE team has participated in 4 trips to City Hall, spoken to over 25 council members and gotten interviews with 4 of them. 

We were in Hiroshima, Japan, for the 74th memorial of the atomic bombing. During this time in Hiroshima, we discussed the importance of building a coalition by joining forces with those at the forefront of Nuclear Abolition and Climate Change. We interviewed survivors, students, teachers, activists, and everyday people about the use of the bomb and how it relates to climate change.

We kept hearing the same message - If people saw and understood what happened in Hiroshima, they would realize there are no situations in which we can EVER use them. The other sentiment we heard repeatedly was about climate change. I proposed nuclear weapons are the epitome of our greed and need for power, and climate change is the result of that pursuit. The older generation agreed and said they see it as connected to our need for comfort. They told me to help climate change we will have to get used to the idea that we cannot always have everything immediately, we may need to turn the AC down or even off, we may have to eat food that is in season and grown locally. The younger people were thinking of ways to engage their politicians and raise awareness through their social groups. 

All and all, it was a very uplifting trip! We have 35 videos we recorded, and 28 of them are interviews. We plan to use this footage throughout the year to help bolster our campaign. We produced the first video for September 26th, The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. 

To bring climate and nuclear activists together, we are working with Peace Action to plan a World Conference on Nuclear Weapons, Climate Crisis, Social/Economic Justice in NYC, April 24-26, 2020. We have begun planning in earnest, and much progress is being made. Committees are being formed, and action plans made.

We believe it's not enough to sit around and only talk about these issues. We are firm believers in direct, non-violent actions and protests. During the UN general assembly, we participated in several conferences, meetings but, I think most importantly, taking what is being discussed inside the UN out into the streets and working with the community to protest and lift our voices together to demand change. We co-sponsored United in outrage: https://www.facebook.com/events/594402484420168/. The protest spanned 3.5 city blocks, and we even made the primetime evening news: https://abc7ny.com/politics/protesters-march-through-manhattan-to-rally-against-trump/5562677/?fbclid=IwAR3G5fjRqXDvOcSi-cn-An0XBttLXpmHSIegjVWf6ITBKsbof6RyUkii4XI. We also participated in the Climate Crisis Rally where we interviewed seven people from all over the world about why they were there and the importance of focusing on the climate right now.  All the interviews we have been doing will be used throughout the year to help promote our campaign and will be showcased at the conference in April. 

We will continue to send updates on all our activities. In the meantime have a look at some of the pictures from the last few months.

Thank you again for all your help and support - we couldn't continue to do this any of this work without you! 

Warm regards,
Rebecca

Rebecca Irby
Founding Partner, President, and Executive Director
PEAC Institute - Peace | Education | Art | Communication
Partner Organization of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize
Email: rebecca@peacinstitute.org
Phone: (973) 446-5031 Ext 0001
Cell: (551) 556-7649
www.peacinstitute.org

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." MLK

Production team with Artist and survivor Toshiko
Production team with Artist and survivor Toshiko
Interview with former Mayor Hiraoka
Interview with former Mayor Hiraoka
NYC Nuclear Divestment Team at United in Outrage
NYC Nuclear Divestment Team at United in Outrage
Marching down 5th Ave
Marching down 5th Ave
Global Peace Conference on Korean Reunification
Global Peace Conference on Korean Reunification

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Organization Information

PEAC INSTITUTE A NJ NONPROFIT CORPORATION

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @PEACInstitute/
Project Leader:
Rebecca Irby
New York, NY United States
$10,091 raised of $50,000 goal
 
78 donations
$39,909 to go
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