This is a picture of me handing out flyers in front of the White House during Unite to Ban the Bomb.
Rehumanize International organized the Unite to Ban the Bomb event that took place on June 17. This was the first anti-war/anti-nuclear weapons event I had ever been to, so I was excited for the experience and to publicly show my beliefs.
Friday night – the day before the event – the Rehumanize International team worked together to make signs for the march. One side of all the signs were printed with the words “Nukes are not Pro-Life!” calling out people who oppose abortion but support nuclear arms, asking them to consider a consistent life ethic—an opposition to all aggressive violence based in the belief that every human being has inherent dignity. We drew anti-war slogans on the other side to help catch the eyes of passersby.
We woke up early Saturday morning to head to the White House for the Unite to Ban the Bomb event, our signs and informational flyers (pictured to the right) in hand. When we arrived, we set up and spread out in the group of people gathered for the event. John Whitehead, deputy editor for Life Maters Journal, gave an opening speech explaining what we believed: nuclear weapons can never be tools of a just war because they target civilian city centers and create large-scale damage. We also wanted to bring attention to the United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This document — which has now been formally adopted — was in talks while we were there. While over 130 countries signed the treaty, none of the nine nuclear-armed countries — including the United States — have.  As US citizens, we wanted to call out our nation and urge them to sign.
After the opening speech, other people that had gathered for the event were invited to speak. Two members of the Rehumanize International team — Executive Director Aimee Murphy and New Media Coordinator Rosemary Geraghty — as well as individuals and members from Pax Christi and other anti-war groups spoke on the importance of nuclear disarmament on the path to peace.
As the event progressed, more people stopped to listen in or read our signs. I was able to talk to several people about why we were there and give them information on how nuclear weapons destroy civilian lives. Many people stopped and took pictures of us or asked to borrow our signs for a quick picture. One teenager walking past us made sure to point out his favorite sign—the one I was holding, which read “drop beats, not bombs”—to his friends before they headed off.
After the speeches were done, we stayed around for a while to talk. We visited with people around us, some of whom agreed with us and some who didn’t. Overall, the event was a success. We handed out all our information cards and had several productive conversations. As part of the 77 percent of US citizens who support nuclear disarmament, we also wanted to draw the government’s attention to public opinion: stop using nuclear weapons.  Moving forward, we will continue doing actions like this to urge the United States to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on September 20 during the annual General Assembly of the United Nations.
1. Rick Gladstone, “A Treaty Is Reached to Ban Nuclear Arms. Now Comes the Hard Part,” New York Times, July 7, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/07/world/americas/united-nations-nuclear-weapons-prohibition-destruction-global-treaty.html
2. “Publics around the World Favor International Agreement To Eliminate All Nuclear Weapons,” WorldPublicOpinion.org, last modified December 9, 2008. http://worldpublicopinion.net/publics-around-the-world-favor-international-agreement-to-eliminate-all-nuclear-weapons/