2016 WILPF nuclear free future tours

By Ellen Thomas and Carol Urner, co-chairs of the Disarm/End Wars Issue Committee

We launch the first of three tours January 20 with a focus on abolishing nuclear weapons and learning about WILPF branch projects and concerns. We start on the West Coast and are gathering invitations from Southeast and Midwest branches for spring tours.

We will be promoting the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act (H.R. 1976). We are hoping and offering to visit the local Congressional office of progressive representatives with WILPFers and friends.

See the alert which Roots Action and World Beyond War helped WILPF send to thousands of activists.  Send a letter to your own Representative NOW, regardless of his/her political persuasion. We need to initiate constructive and civil dialogue with everyone.

In California, branches and members are now working on solidifying dates and venues for our itinerary. We will be in Southern California from January 20 to 24 with a Los Angeles public community meeting on January 23 and additional meetings with the new branch in San Diego and with members in Whittier and Los Angeles Metro.

We are scheduled for a community meeting organized by Santa Cruz Branch on January 31. Before and after that date we are invited to visit Fresno Branch in central California and then Monterey, San Jose, Palo Alto, San Francisco and East Bay Branches. They are cooperating in working out the best schedule for all of us.

We will pass through Sacramento around February 4 and will hope to stay a couple of days if convenient for them. Nothing has been solidified yet with our our new WILPF contact there but that is one of our strongest branches.

We look forward to meeting Humboldt County WILPFers in Eureka, and will spend time with Helen Jaccard, our committee member. She is now there with the Golden Rule that sought to stop nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands.

We also are expected at Corvallis OR Branch (around February 10-11) and Portland, Oregon (12-13). Our Ashland contact has moved but we still hope to meet with some members there. They do wonderful work with Mayors for Peace and put great creative effort into Hiroshima – Nagasaki week.

By that point we may be in a state of collapse, but hope to summon energies to spend a few days in Washington state. We have contacts in Seattle and would like to explore possibilities of rebuilding a branch there. We would also like to visit Bangor and the naval base there with reportedly the largest collection of deployed nuclear weapons in the world. Those weapons are on Trident submarines, some of which are constantly patrolling the Pacific, including very close to the long Chinese and Russian coasts. Those weapons are always ready for doomsday, whether it comes by accident or design.

We are peace builders determined to abolish these weapons from our planet.

We will also share resources from WILPF Reaching Critical Will on exciting new forces at work among the vast majority of nations seeking an end to nuclear weapons and wars. Present and former WILPF staffers --Ray Acheson, Beatrice Fihn, Mia Gandenberger and Susi Snyder – are at the heart of this amazing effort by NGOs and the UN General Assembly to ban nuclear weapons. They believe this process can press the nine nuclear powers to abandon their expanding nuclear programs and finally join in negotiating the comprehensive abolition treaty we all demand. This is a creative process in which we can actively participate.

Of course we want to do more than share from our perspective. We want to listen to WILPFers everywhere share their own concerns, projects and visions. All of us are engaged in facets of projects together. We will report our impressions back to the Program Committee to augment the very useful branch survey prepared by Marybeth Gardam for all of us to use. We will be bringing resources from the other Issue Committees as well.  All of them want to support and stimulate branch work.

We plan to blog along the way. 

You can contact us on the road by email or phone.  See you soon, we hope!

Carol Urner carol.disarm@gmail.com   cell: 503-320-9108

Ellen Thomas et@prop1.org   cell:  202-210-3886


Photo: Ellen Thomas and Carol Urner (seated) send greetings from Des Moines Peace Garden. credit Jan Hill


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