Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
East Bay and San Francisco Branches
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Work to Advance Peace, Justice and Human Rights
JULY ONE WILPF CALL
Speakers on the call were Cindy Domingo and Leni Villagomez Reeves, who co-chair the Cuba and Bolivarian Alliance Committee. Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade, which has saved over 80,000 lives since 2005 and has been fighting COVID-19 in 27 countries, has been nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Join us in asking the Nobel Committee to award Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade a Nobel Peace Prize.
On June 20th, 3.5 million people from around the world watched the Poor People’s Campaign webinar, which is available to view on their website. The organization’s message of a National Call for Moral Revival is resonating with the calls for justice by the Black Lives Matter movement. The afternoon was focused on the words of people around our country who are struggling to survive, punctuated with speeches by leaders in this national movement.
NO ONE WINS A NUCLEAR WAR
This year is the 75th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan on August 6 and 9, 1945. To honor the memory of the victims of that horrific event and to raise consciousness about the continuing threat of nuclear war, ur branches are planning to create displays with make posters and hang the cranes at local book stores. The East Bay branch will have displays through the month of August at East Bay Booksellers on College Avenue in Oakland and at Pegasus Books on Solanto Avenue in Berkeley. Hibakushas – survivors of the bombing – and friends have folded tens of thousands of cranes and sent them to all of the WILPF US branches and other peace groups in America to remind us of the fragility of life and beauty and to share in a commitment to abolish nuclear weapons.
Vermont WILPF has created a card you can print and cut into four. Robin Lloyd attached the cards to a clothes line on a tree in her yard, with tiny cranes hanging down on a thread. The card reads, “Please take this peace crane & card and pass it on.” Try folding your own paper cranes. There is also a printable one-page graphic showing how to fold a crane, which was sent to the Branches along with the box of cranes, and is available for everybody on the last page of Resources for 75th Anniversary commemorations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, listed at the bottom of the Disarm/End Wars web page.
This is our cry.
This is our prayer.
Peace in the world.
THE STORY OF SADAKO SASAKI AND THE THOUSAND CRANES
Sadako Sasaki was 2 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on her city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Sadako survived the bombing, but In 1955, at age 11, Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia, a type of cancer caused by the atomic bomb.
While in the hospital, Sadako started to fold paper cranes. In Japan, there is a belief that folding 1000 paper cranes could bring you long life. She was a gifted runner and wanted to get well so she could run again. Sadako folded over 1300 cranes before she died on October 25, 1955.
Sadako’s friends and classmates raised money to build a memorial in honor of Sadako and other atomic bomb victims. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial was completed in 1958 with a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane. The tradition of folding 1000 cranes for peace continues around the world.
ASK CONGRESS TO BLOCK NUCLEAR TESTING RESUMPTION
Marylia Kelley, President of the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, Executive Director of Tri-Valley CAREs and WILPF member told Congress: “We speak with one voice in urging you in the strongest possible terms to block funding or other initiatives that lead toward a possible return to nuclear weapons testing by the United States. In particular, the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization and Appropriations Acts should neither authorize nor appropriate funds that speed preparations to potentially resume such testing.”
TAKE ACTION: The United States has not conducted a nuclear test explosion since 1992 when a bipartisan congressional majority mandated a test moratorium. Four years later, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, signed by the U.S. in 1996, established a global prohibition against all nuclear tests. North Korea is the lone country to have conducted nuclear tests in this century.
Your immediate phone calls to your U.S. Senators and Representative are the most effective resistance to this bald-faced move to resume nuclear testing.
The Capitol Switchboard is 202.224.3121.
Go to the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability letter to Congress. Use it for “talking points.” Be sure to tell the staff person that you are a constituent. Also, ask for a reply from them that lets you know exactly how your member of Congress votes on this issue.
After 2 months of negotiations held up by the United States. the good news is that the UN Security Council voted unanimously on July 2 to call for a Cease-Fire world-wide. Now we have to work on establishing and maintaining it.
“The Moment In Time” is a YouTube which documents the days of the beginning of World War II when it was feared the Nazis were developing the atomic bomb. The history of the bomb’s development is traced through recollections of those who worked on what was known as “the gadget.”
BAY AREA IS SITTING ON A NUCLEAR TIME BOMB
Between Site 300 in Tracy and Sunol, close to San Francisco, sits a commercial facility with enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon — on the scale of the bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War II. General Electric Hitachi owns the Nuclear Test Reactor in Sunol, between Fremont and Pleasanton.
Like facilities at some universities, the reactor’s main activity is neutron radiography, which enables clients to look inside objects without destroying them. But this reactor contains at least 7 pounds of highly enriched uranium, the same material used in the Hiroshima bomb.
As far back as 1986, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission ordered all such reactors it oversees, including this one, to convert to low-enriched uranium fuel, which is unsuitable for nuclear weapons. Since then, all of the 23 civilian reactors able to convert to the safer fuel either have done so or have shut down — except the GE Hitachi reactor.
There is no technical obstacle to converting the reactor to the safer fuel and removing the bomb-grade stuff to a high-security government facility. Eight years ago, the National Academy of Science reported that “suitable fuel has been identified.” The U.S. government is so worried about highly enriched uranium that it has converted reactors possessing as little as two pounds.
So, why does the GE Hitachi reactor still use weapons-grade uranium? Neither the company nor the government will say.
Read the full article in the July 2, 2020 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.
POLICE, PRISONS AND THE PENTAGON
In most states and localities, spending on police and prisons outweighs what the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., once described as “programs of social uplift.” The numbers are staggering. In some jurisdictions, police alone can account for up to 40% of local budgets, leaving little room for other priorities. In New York City, for instance, funding the police department’s operations and compensation costs more than $10 billion yearly– more, that is, than the federal government spends on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationwide, more than $100 billion annually goes into policing.
Now, add to that another figure: what it costs to hold roughly two million (yes 2,000,000!) Americans in prisons and jails — about $120 billion a year. Like policing, in other words, incarceration is big business in this country. Prison populations have grown by nearly 700% since 1972, driven in significant part by the “war on drugs,” a so-called war that has disproportionately targeted people of color.
The Elephant in the Room: Pentagon Spending
In addition to the police and prisons, the other major source of American militarized spending is, of course, the Pentagon. That department, along with related activities like nuclear weapons funding at the Department of Energy, now gobbles up at least $750 billion per year. That’s more than the military budgets of the next 10 countries combined.
Just as prisons and policing consume a startling proportion of state and local budgets, the Pentagon accounts for more than half of the federal government’s discretionary budget. That includes most government functions other than Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. As Ashik Siddique of the National Priorities Project has noted, the Trump administration’s latest budget proposal “prioritizes brute force and militarization over diplomatic and humanitarian solutions to pressing societal crises” in a particularly striking way. “Just about every non-militarized department funded by the discretionary budget,” he adds, “is on the chopping block, including all those that focus on reducing poverty and meeting human needs like education, housing, labor, health, energy, and transportation.”
Spending on the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border and the deportation of immigrants through agencies like ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and Customs and Border Protection totals another $24 billion annually. That puts U.S. spending on police, prisons, and the Pentagon at nearly $1 trillion per year and that doesn’t even include the soaring budgets of other parts of the American national security state like the Department of Homeland Security ($92 billion) and the Veterans Administration ($243 billion — a cost of past wars).
Another way of looking at the problem is to focus on just how much of the federal budget goes to the Pentagon and other militarized activities, including federal prisons, immigration enforcement, and veterans benefits. An analysis by the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies puts this figure at $887 billion, or more than 64% of the federal discretionary budget, including public health, education, environmental protection, job training, energy development, housing, transportation, scientific research, and more.
For the complete article, go to TomDispatch.com.
2020 ELECTIONS – JOIN THE EFFORT
The East Bay and San Francisco branches of WILPF have endorsed Proposition 16 that will be on the November ballot in California. This is a constitutional amendment that would repeal Proposition 209 (1996) and would allow affirmative action in public employment, public education and public contracting. For information on Proposition 16 and all of the California Propositions, go to Ballotpedia.
Two national organizations, Swing Left and Vote Forward, have a goal of sending 10 million letters with handwritten notes to residents of swing states, encouraging them to vote. There are also organizations working on voting rights and election protection. Check out this article entitled 8 Voting Rights Organizations To Know Before The 2020 Elections Roll Around.
NEXT WILPF EAST BAY/SF PLANNING MEETING
Saturday, Aug 8, 10am by Zoom
If you would like to join us virtually, you are very welcome. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you the information you need to join the call.
EXPLORE WILPF TODAY
Local branch web pages
WILPF East Bay
P. O. Box 13083, Oakland, CA 94661
P. O. Box 590253, San Francisco, CA 94159
National WILPF www.wilpfus.org
International WILPF: www.wilpf.org