The International Conference for a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just, and Sustainable World has begun at the Riverside Church, New York City. Suddenly I was re-energized as I stood in line with Mark, Elaine, and Sarah Klein who got us to sing Down by the Riverside -- with an extra chorus sang for the benefit of a Japanese video. Doretta and Lucille marked the beginning of the Green Line and we got in and I found myself seated by Sr. Eileen Storey's friend Anne Montgomery and Catholic Worker Kathy Boylan as the First Plenary began.
Vinie Burrows gave a dramatic rendition of Martin Luther King Jr.'s words, Terumi Tanaka gave a Hibakusha Testimony, and my old FOR friend Ibrahim Ramey, now of Washington DC, spoke On Martin Luther King's Dream and Ours. I tweeted comments (as PeaceHugs) through the evening, but Ibrahim's closing remarks were apt but a little long for a tweet, almost a poem:
We have dreams to dream
We have work to do
We have a world to transform
Let's get busy....
Zia Mian impressed me in his talk. He said it isn't just nukes, it is the war mentality -- the use of force, violence, weapons -- and who decides. How we relate to nature and the planet. Profitability: who makes it and who takes it. Another quotation, I tweeted: Keeping some nuclear weapons in case someone cheats is not our vision of abolishing nukes.
I also tweeted on John Burroughs remarks: Hearing John Burroughs I see Obama's nuclear policy is abominable - obamanable? Peace means NO nukes.
Catherine Lecoq sang and Natalia Mironova spoke. We ended with Tomas Magnusson, Vision of a Nuclear Free World which made me tweet: Language is devalued. Despite the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty the US proliferates.
Despite the serious topics, it was good to be with people of peace -- old friends and new. And yes, as Ibrahim said, Let's get busy. (For those who care to stream or download them, the plenary sessions are available both live and later via the Riverside Church website.