To help further its goal for the abolition of nuclear weapons in the world, the Earth Caravan joined disarmament NGOs from around the world at the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s Review Conference, from May 1-3 at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The conference was organized by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.

Earth Caravan was invited to New York by the PEAC Institute which organized a series of impact events to raise the awareness for the Hibakusha Rebellion, a global initiative launched by nuclear bomb survivors of Japan, most of whom are now in their eighties, to garner one billion signatures supporting the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Bellewether Gallery torch
From left to right: Yasmine Abouzaglo, Renee Awad, Rebecca Irby, Steve Leeper, Mr. Jiro Hamasumi, and Mr. Sueichi Kido.

Art Meets Activism

On May 1, during the PrepCom conference, the Earth Caravan was featured at “Passing the Torch,” at The Bellewether gallery, an 8,000 sq. ft. modern partner to pioneering artists dedicated to immersive creative encounters in support of radical humanity.

The event featured Hibakusha (Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors) sharing their compelling stories and in a symbolic ceremony passing the torch to the next generation represented by Earth Caravan delegates Yasmine Abouzaglo and Renee Awad.

“The immoral events of the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are an act of discrimination,” said Yasmine, a 13-year-old from Dallas Texas who accompanied Earth Caravan to the Vatican to present the Hiroshima Flame to Pope Francis. “In this crazy world of ours, it is necessary for us to acknowledge our differences so we can find similarities within them to celebrate what makes us all unique. Acts of hate like those from nuclear wars need to end, to make way for a world where we can all learn to love and appreciate each other.”

Yasmine torch

Passing the Torch at the UN

On Friday, May 3, at UN headquarters, the PEAC Institute hosted The Hibakusha Appeal, a roundtable forum featuring Mr. Sueichi Kido, Secretary General of Nihon Hidankyo, Mr. Jiro Hamasumi, Assistant Secretary-General of Nihon Hidankyo, and Rev. Masamichi Kamiya of Religions for Peace.

The Hibakusha shared their stories of having survived the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and then led conversations about peace, human rights, and how the world can move forward to complete nuclear disarmament.signatures Hibakusha

The Hibakusha then handed the torch – literally – to Yasmine and Renee who symbolized attendees from all generations.

As she received the torch from elder peacemakers, Renee, a 14-year old Palestinian-American shared her views. “I grew up learning that peace was always the answer, and today only strengthened this belief,” she said. “Peace doesn’t only better one person, but everyone and everything around them. As a Palestinian, I realize that my family has been through a lot, and peace was always the answer. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings were so so terrible, and we need to prevent this from happening again. Together, we can prohibit nuclear weapons and strive for a better world.”

Renee Awad UN Torch

Please take a moment to support the Hibakusha Appeal and sign the petition for the end of nuclear weapons. And to learn more about how you can support the Earth Caravan’s nuclear abolition program, please click here.