So the day has come, June 12, 2022. The greatest hope I harbor on my 93rd birthday is that it will be marked as the day a vast and vital second phase of the movement to abolish nuclear weapons was launched.
For the past 40 years, this day has brought to mind three birthday associations: the strawberry shortcakes my mother made to celebrate her first born having come into the world; my having done so on the very same date as Anne Frank; and joyous participation in what I and a million more had believed could be the day I pray that this one will be, the day the peoples of the world chose life. Joyous and hopeful we were, even as we were sharply and fearfully aware of the possibility that life on this planet could be destroyed by the weapons that common sense demanded be eliminated. With this post we share that day with you.
GCPE thanks Robert Richter for permitting us to use his film “In Our Hands” with which we end “The New Nuclear Era” series of posts commemorating the 40th anniversary of The Great Peace March of June 12, 1982 and the founding of the International Institute on Peace Education. The 90-minute film, “In Our Hands,” documents both the joy and the awareness that characterized the March; joy engendered by the massive positive energy the marchers exuded, and awareness of the stark realities as articulated by so many who were interviewed by the filmmaker.
There are commemorative events in New York today. I hope there will be such in other cities of the world in many of the places from which thousands came to the March in 1982, a manifestation of worldwide concern and solidarity among members of global civil society. May all who identify as world citizens manifest that same concern and solidarity today and in the months to come when we take every step possible to awaken the leaders of the nuclear powers to the realities that motivate us, realities from which neither they, nor those they care, can avoid. May we awaken in them care for the lives of those who directly depend on them – all of them part of the vast network of life that inhabits this planet. May they join us in the commitment to life and human responsibility that is the energizing core of the peace movement, a commitment peace education strives to inspire in preparing learners for global citizenship.
IIPE has for forty years made it possible for peace educators from all parts of the world to be in solidarity in striving to inspire commitment and to working together to prepare citizens to articulate and manifest it. On this day, I ask GCPE readers to recognize the essential role IIPE has played and will continue to play in peace education, and in educating for constructive participation in the movement to abolish nuclear weapons. Please consider the $40 dollar contribution suggested in the introduction to “The New Nuclear Era” series. Such a contribution would be an expression of your commitment to choose life.
Enjoy the film as those of us who participated in The Great Peace March enjoyed that festival of life.
Betty A. Reardon
Founding Director Emeritus, International Institute on Peace Education
Co-founder, Global Campaign for Peace Education