By Guest Contributor Madelyn Hoffman.
Saving Lives and Money!
NJ Peace Action and Madelyn Hoffman, Friday, January 22, 2021 in New York City. (Photo/Courtesy of NJ Peace Action)
January 22nd was a very important day in the history of the world. It was the day that nuclear weapons became illegal and the International Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (ITPNW) went into effect. Worked on by 122 countries in 2017, then signed and now ratified by 52 countries, with the 51st country ratifying it in October 2020, the Treaty has the force of law.
One might think that this is an international issue that has nothing to do with us here in New Jersey. But it has much to do with our lives in New Jersey. New Jersey Peace Action (NJPA), an organization based in Bloomfield, New Jersey founded in 1957 for the express purpose of abolishing nuclear weapons, held a well-attended vigil in Montclair from 4:30pm to 5:45pm on January 22nd to celebrate this major achievement.
“This is a significant and historic event in the anti-nuclear movement, 75 years in the making, and one that needs to be celebrated. Thousands have spent decades working on this and the world owes them a debt of gratitude.” said Jeff Hoey, Executive Director of NJPA. “I also attended a celebration in front of the U.N. on Friday morning attended by peace groups across the region, because the importance of it cannot be overstated. This treaty, while the U.S is not yet a party to it, is not just a symbolic document. In 52 nations, having anything to do with nuclear weapons manufacture, design, planning or support, is now illegal. There are dozens of multinational corporations involved in the nuclear weapons industry and many have offices in countries that are party to the treaty. Those companies and their officers are in violation of the law in those countries and there will be legal consequences. There will also be repercussions financially, with many institutions and pension funds seeking to divest from any investments in these corporations due to the illegal nature of this area of their businesses. We believe this will also be a trend among major investors in the U.S.”
NJPA will be doing ongoing work urging organizations, including faith groups and other social justice groups, to endorse the national Back from the Brink campaign. Back from the Brink: The call to prevent Nuclear war is a national grassroots campaign seeking to fundamentally change U.S. nuclear weapons policy and lead us away from the dangerous path we are on. The initiative lays out five common-sense steps that the United States should take to reform its nuclear policy.
Madelyn Hoffman, guest contributor to WeekenderNJ and participant in the vigil (pictured above), asks individuals and organizations to join the effort and help build a healthier, safer, and more just world. She was the Executive Director of NJPA from April 2000 through May 2018. and spent many hours with Hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6, 1945 and August 9, 1945 respectively) in the United States. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the bombings, Madelyn Hoffman visited Japan to participate in days of commemoration of those tragic events for the people of Japan. Last August was the 75th anniversary of the event and so it was only fitting that this Treaty got the requisite 51 signatures to make it law. Unfortunately, none of the nuclear powers has signed the Treaty and most, if not all, want no part of it. So it is up to all of us to speak out in favor of it and let our U.S. Senators know that they should sign and ratify it, in order to save the world trillions of dollars and prevent the terrible destruction that would be caused by the dropping of just one more atomic bomb.
To learn more about this Treaty and what you can do to try to persuade the U.S. to sign and ratify it, you can contact NJ Peace Action via telephone at 973-259-1126, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Madelyn Hoffman, a seasoned activist, was director of the Grass-Roots Environmental Organization and director of New Jersey Peace Action. She was Ralph Nader’s vice-presidential running mate in New Jersey in 1996. The following year she ran for New Jersey governor as a Green. She also ran as a Green for U.S. Senate in 2018, receiving 25,150 votes, and ran for the same seat again in 2020, receiving 38,288 votes. You can read more about Madelyn's achievements here.