Sunday, April 26, 2015

Peace and Planet - Demonstration in NYC

On April 26th, 2015 thousands of people rallied and marched in New York City to demand an end to nuclear weapons. This marked the beginning of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations. Activists from all over the world, particularly the US and Japan took part in the march to demand that their leaders take a firm stance against nuclear weapons. The following were photographs that I took over the course of the day.

The above photo was actually one I took with my cell phone camera. This helped me get the wider angle since I don't yet have a wide angle lens. On stage Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower and man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, spoke about how nuclear weapons are still a threat to humanity.

Many mothers were in attendance speaking out in the name of their children. The Japanese attendees wore wonderful colorful robes like these women were wearing. 

There is a Japanese tradition that if you have a wish, you make one thousand paper cranes and that wish will come true. Thousands upon thousands of paper cranes were handed out at the rally before the march began. I had never seen so many paper cranes in all my life. The cranes were in all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes. 

The crowd waved symbolically to "Wave Goodbye to Nuclear Weapons". This sparked a wave across the world. Over the next 24 hours, groups of people waved goodbye to nuclear weapons in the different time zones when it reached 1pm. 

 I met this student from Hiroshima University. The students there were getting petition signatures to eliminate nuclear weaons. Hiroshima was the first city where the atomic bomb was dropped on a civilian population 70 years ago. The dangers of nuclear weapons continue to be painfully obvious there as bomb dropped there is still have effects on the population.

The march began and marchers handed out paper cranes to children they passed on the route. 

This child enjoyed his paper crane chain while his dad talked to a man from Japan about nuclear weapons.

A woman watches the march go by from inside a coffee shop.

I spent much of the weekend in New York with Sylvia. She is an artist and has been a peace activist for many decades. She was excited to see such energy to eliminate nuclear weapons. The last time she took part in a large march against nuclear weapons was in 1982 when one million people marched in NYC while the Cold War was still escalating.

 Here you can see the length of the march. Approximately 7,000 people marched against nukes.

Following the march there was a Peace Festival. These dancers from Japan called for "No more Hiroshimas, No More Nagasakis, No More Fukushimas".

Singers and others also performed at the Peace Festival. It was a fun and relaxing way to end the day on a hopeful note.