Queer Activists Rally Against Nukes on Earth Day

Activists take a stand against nukes on Earth Day in Queens.
Donna Aceto

LGBTQ members of the New York Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (NYCAN) rallied in front of Flushing’s Unisphere on Earth Day, April 22, to encourage city lawmakers to move on disarmament legislation.

The activists, who have held multiple demonstrations this year, again prodded the City Council to proceed with a resolution asking the city’s comptroller to divest pension funds of public employees from nuke-related sources and a bill triggering the creation of an advisory committee that would evaluate nuclear disarmament.

“On Earth Day 2021, as one of similar events taking place around the world, we raise the alarm and call New Yorkers to action,” activist Brendan Fay said in a written statement. “It is time for Speaker [Corey] Johnson and the Council to enact Res 976 and Intro 1621, nuclear disarmament legislation introduced by Councilmember Danny Dromm and supported by a Council majority. Those seeking the votes and trust of New Yorkers to be Mayor and Comptroller also need to speak up. We cannot claim to love the earth and be silent as nuclear weapons threaten life on the planet and the future of humanity. Let a vote in City Hall for nuclear disarmament send a message of hope, peace and health across our world.”

Activists stand in front of Unisphere in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.Donna Aceto

Out gay City Councilmember Daniel Dromm of Queens, who is the lead sponsor behind the pair of legislative efforts, underscored the importance of the legislation at a time when “the specter of nuclear warfare is more terrifying than ever.”

“It is up to New York City to take action like other cities around the world,” Dromm said. “New York City plans to respond to the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons with action. Resolution 976 calls for divestment of the city’s $475 million investment in nuclear weapons. Though this represents just 0.25 percent of the System’s total assets, such action would go a long way towards the stigmatization of nuclear weapons and the ultimate goal of nuclear abolition. I thank the Nobel Peace Prize-winning advocates from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for their steadfast dedication to this timely effort. It is past time to eliminate nuclear weapons.”

Activists emphasized that nuclear weapons threaten the climate.Donna Aceto

Others who joined the rally included Kathleen Sullivan, who serves as the director of Hibakusha Stories, an initiative aimed at educating children in the city by introducing them to first-hand accounts of atomic bomb survivors.

“On this Earth Day, the New York City Council has the opportunity to issue a clarion call to the Biden administration that New Yorkers prize human needs over radioactive violence — healthcare not warfare!” Sullivan said. “Nuclear modernization diverts money desperately needed to address the coronavirus pandemic, climate chaos and the destabilizing conditions of social and economic injustices made plain by COVID 19.”

Members of the New York Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons were visible on Earth Day.Donna Aceto

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