Delivered at the Celebration of David Krieger’s Legacy on March 14, 2024 at the Music Academy, Santa Barbara, California

Thank you for being with us today to celebrate the life and the legacy of a giant – Dr. David Malcolm Krieger. David was a man of peace and a nuclear abolitionist, but he was also a man of Santa Barbara. I am pleased that we are able to gather as a community in the beautiful Music Academy and to take this opportunity to center the role that David played in bringing the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation to life and sustaining it for over 40 years. In turn, the Foundation played a huge role in his life and in establishing him as a voice of conscious in the nuclear age and a beloved figure both locally and around the world.

I didn’t know David for as long or as well as so many people in this audience. However, through the Nuclear Zero lawsuits, working with Laurie Ashton and Lynn Sarko and their team at Keller Rohrback, back in 2014, David inspired scientific investigations that my husband Emlyn and I conducted in the Marshall Islands with Columbia University students – work that relates to NAPF’s ongoing efforts to achieve nuclear justice for people and communities affected by nuclear weapons use and testing. Quite simply, I could not have a greater sense of privilege and responsibility in succeeding David in leading the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, both given the foundation’s rich history and the work that we are doing now towards the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons, a vision that David held ever since he visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a graduate student in the 1960s.

By the time I got to know David better through in-person and virtual meetings at NAPF, his health was already declining. He would quietly sit through a meeting and then, after hearing a lively and sometimes heated discussion about one topic or another, David would make a statement, so deep and thoughtful that we would all, at least for a moment, be speechless. He had a brilliant mind, an enormous heart, and a moral compass second to none.

When I first met with David, Prof. Richard Falk, our Board Chair Frank Bognar, and others from the NAPF Board about taking a position with the Foundation, David smiled warmly as I spoke about my passion for nuclear abolition, my commitment to strengthening the international treaties that establish and guide nuclear weapon policies, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and my devotion to working with young people. I received lots of questions, about my experience working with colleagues and students and leading efforts at Columbia, what I would envision for the Foundation and its work, how I would handle splitting my time between New York City and Santa Barbara. As I gave various answers, David kept giving me an approving smile that made me feel so comfortable and confident. And then, he asked one question, his only question – how would you feel about asking people for money to support the Foundation’s work? I answered that I would be honored to be in the position to do so. So today, in honor of David and what he would have wanted, let me invite you to support our work, to join our events, and to spread the word about the insanity of nuclear weapons and the imperative of their elimination. We need your help. Let us not sit quietly and let us walk on this important path together. The stakes are simply too high.

With David’s passing, our commitment to work tirelessly to educate and advocate for a peaceful world, one that is free of nuclear weapons has only grown. We work at the United Nations to strengthen and implement the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – I serve as a member of the Scientific Advisory Group to the Treaty and Christian Ciobanu, our Policy and Advocacy Director serves as a treaty advisor to the Republic of Kiribati. We also work on other relevant treaties and resolutions in General Assembly that advance the cause of nuclear disarmament and nuclear justice. We hold events, meet with diplomats, and write op-eds. We educate and engage young people through internships, lectures, our poetry contest and our youth initiative Reverse the Trend, which gives an opportunity to youth from around the world to contribute to the cause of disarmament and to attend and present at international conferences at the United Nations and beyond.

I am pleased to share that in honor of David, 1622 Anacapa Street, the home of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, will from now on be named David Krieger House. I am also pleased to share that the Foundation has established a David Krieger Summer Internship, which will be a paid internship for outstanding college students to work with the foundation for a summer, contribute to the cause of nuclear disarmament, and learn about the work of non-profit organizations. We are indebted to the Krieger and Sweeney families for their generous support of the David Krieger Summer Internship. We are also grateful to: Soka Gakkai International, SAGA Foundation, Martin and Dorothee Hellman, Cheryl Tomchin, Jimmy and Diane Hara, Mary Becker, Jill and Ron Dexter, Guy Dyruff, Mr. and Mrs. Daryl Ponicson, Beverly Keever, Lanny and Holly Sherwin, and Patagonia.

I am indebted to all of you for being with us for this celebration and am especially pleased that David’s beloved wife, Carolee Krieger and their beautiful children and grandchildren could be with us today. I have the warmest admiration and appreciation for all of our participants, our poets, Perie Longo, Edin Osborn, and Paul Willis, our musicians, Noel Paul Stookey, and the duo Sandy Jones and Hal Maynard, as well as Prof. Richard Falk, who will deliver today’s keynote, David’s children, Mara Sweeney and Jonathon Krieger, David’s brother Gary Krieger and friend Cliff Gherson, who will also deliver remarks. We are grateful to all of the participants for making this a very special program, the kind of program that I like to think David would have wanted.

Last year I wrote my first poem since my schoolgirl days and promptly sent it to David and Perie Longo. David delighted in seeing me catch the poetry bug, even if just a little. Today I want to read to you a poem that I wrote after David passed on December 7. It is entitled David Krieger.

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He left us too soon

But he laid a path.

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He may be gone

But he is still with us.

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We will not rest

Till his dream is reality.

We owe it to him

And to humanity.

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Thank you.