On August 6, in collaboration with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Peace Boat US, and Reverse The Trend: Save Our People, Save Our Planet hosted the New York City Peace Festival at the Selina Chelsea NYC Hotel. The event commemorated the 76th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and featured youth activists, musicians, and diplomats who discussed advocacy opportunities for disarmament and climate activists. Additional co-sponsors included the Marshallese Educational Initiative, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Climate Cardinals, Zero Hour NYC, The Prospect Hill Foundation, Peace Action New York State, Nuclear Ban US, and the Manhattan Project for a Nuclear-Free World.
The event was moderated by youth activist Brandon Wingfield of Reverse the Trend and Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and Emilie McGlone, Director of Peace Boat US. Emilie and Christian N. Ciobanu, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and Coordinator of Reverse The Trend, delivered introductory remarks to highlight the importance of disarmament education and remembering the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons as we work towards a more sustainable and nuclear-free future.
Keynote presentations included a message from H.E. Ambassador Amatlain Elizabeth Kabua of the Marshall Islands, H.E. Ambassador Teburoro Tito of Kiribati, Diane Barnes of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), and a Hibakusha survivor testimony from Miyake Nobuo from Hiroshima. Mr. Miyake spoke on his experience and the aftermath of the nuclear bombing, as well as the importance of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and his disappointment that Japan “has not made an effort to join it.”
Ambassador Tito inspired guests and participants by calling for action, saying “A revolution is needed; not one that rallies or creates crowds, but one that starts from within, in our homes, communities and societies, and then real change will start to happen.”
Guests also saw a preview and presentation on the making of “A Vow From Hiroshima” by Mitchie Takeuchi and Susan Strickler, as well as a presentation on the 1Future Project and its interactive qualities by Taku Nishimae and Cannon Hersey. Paul Miller, aka DJ Spooky and Molly Hurley, Nuclear Fellow for the Prospect Hill Foundation, likewise spoke of the role of art, with presentations of an original Peace Symphony inspired by eight Hibakusha testimonies on the Peace Boat and art activism. Travis Richardson of Climate Cardinals followed up with a similar message on activism and the various forms it takes, linking it to his own work on climate.
The event also featured presentations by youth activists, including: Christelle Barakat (Peace Boat intern and UN Youth Champion for Disarmament from Lebanon), Juan Sebastian Huertas Olea (Peace Boat US Youth for the SDGs from Colombia), as well as Sajani Patel, Andrew Kim, and Jack Moses (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and Reverse The Trend interns).