Lori and Tayyaba’s presentation begins at about 3:16. Mayor Benjamin’s comments start about 3:23.
Good afternoon, my name is Lori Donath and I represent the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Remembrance Committee of Columbia Friends Meeting. Thank you for your work–it is heartening to hear about the work that the City and community organizations are taking up,
especially the Richland County Black Collective. I’m here today because July 16th marked the first anniversary of Mayor Benjamin’s and Columbia City Council’s Mayor’s for Peace proclamation. For those who may not be familiar, Mayors for Peace, a non-partisan international network of municipalities, registered at the UN, created a Peace Action Plan which is instrumental to this proclamation. It has two objectives to lead to the goal of world peace. The first objective is the “Realization of a world without nuclear weapons” and the second is the “Realization of safe and resilient cities.”As the President of Mayors for Peace, Kazumi Matsui, stated, “We are working first and foremost to abolish nuclear weapons— to protect people from mass destruction, and also
working hard to equip cities with higher resilience to make them capable to address various issues of their own, such as sustainable development, the refugee crisis, or countering terrorism.”
By signing the Peace Proclamation in 2019 the City of Columbia recognized that building nuclear weapons is in opposition to creating a more peaceful world and that, foremost, the well-
being of people is the concern of government. We thank you, Mayor Benjamin, and Council Members, for leading the way toward nuclear non-proliferation, safety, and resilience for residents by joining Mayors for Peace and proclaiming Columbia a City for Peace last year. The Proclamation is all the more significant in light of the challenges we face in 2020. Never before have we seen so clearly the need for resilience within government and community; never
before have we seen so clearly the need for safety along multiple dimensions at the same time. Alongside the Covid-19 epidemic, the economic downturn, fragile healthcare infrastructure,
erosion of civil liberties, and persistent and systematic racial inequality, the breadth of which many in America have begun to understand for the first time, the use of public funds to create
new nuclear weapons is also underway. The federal government continues to race to establish the creation of additional triggers–in the form of plutonium pits–for nuclear weapons at nearby Savannah River Site and at Los Alamos. Apart from the unprecedented global risk posed by the active pursuit of new nuclear weapons,
Tom Clements, Director of Savannah River Site Watch, a non-profit watchdog group, describes plutonium pit production at the Savannah River Site as “unjustified” and “provocative,” citing
prospective costs as well as environmental hazards. The plan to have a production site in our state for the triggers for nuclear weapons should set off alarms that we must work for peace.
For over 30 years, Columbia area citizens have recognized that nuclear war would bring about the destruction of our world. Many have worked to educate one another and to remember
Hiroshima and Nagasaki—as well as the need to say “never again.”
We hope you will join us, socially distanced, Saturday, August 8th at Main and Blanding Streets to remember the 75th anniversaries of the bombings of those cities, to honor the survivors, and to stand against proposed production of new triggers, in the form of plutonium pits, for nuclear weapons at the Savanah River Site. We hope you will also join us Aug. 6 and 9 in observations online—look to Facebook event Hiroshima Remembrance: Envisioning Peace Now. Thank you.
My name is Tayyaba Sadiq. I am here representing the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Remembrance
Committee. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak today. (I would like to affirm the
request of Lori Donath to ask for your opposition to the production of plutonium pits at SRS as
part of the efforts for Mayors for Peace).
We would like to close with part of the statement with which Dr. King accepted the Nobel Prize
in 1964, and I quote, “Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to
live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of
brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which
rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love…I refuse
to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war
that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.
I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic
stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and
unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”
We affirm Dr. King’s words and wish for the city of Columbia to work for a world without nuclear
weapons. As the seat of state government, Columbia, South Carolina can lead the way out of
Thank you again for considering our request and for leading the way to peace. Now is the time
to be vigilant and oppose the production of new nuclear weapons components at SRS.