Dear NAPF family,
Last month, photographs from around California, including from our home of Santa Barbara, reminded us that in a battle of human vs. nature, we can only hope for the best. The devastating images coming now out of Turkey and Syria are a further reminder that life is precious, that our planet is imperfect, and that we have plenty to worry about and to fix, without creating more messes ourselves.
It is scary to think that a nuclear weapon explosion in a city would be like an earthquake, and a hurricane, and a wildfire, plus a nuclear disaster – all at once. But for us at NAPF, this is motivation to work as hard as we can to try to ensure that such a thing will never happen again. And the only way we can guarantee that it will NOT happen is to get rid of nuclear weapons.
We have been hard at work since the start of the New Year on our mission to educate and advocate for a just and peaceful world, one in which nuclear weapons are abolished and stay abolished. Here are some updates on what we have been doing:
Interns: This year we are fortunate to have two interns from Columbia University, (Annamaria Belevitch and Jefferson Sheng), two interns from Drew University (Sean Becker and Joseph Holzman), four from Williams College (Fenely Caba, Tong Gao, Michelle Phan, and Abigail Wallach) and one from Colgate University (Sophie Karbstein). All have immersed themselves in learning about the issues and helping to advance our mission in a variety of ways, including through our youth initiative, Reverse the Trend: Save Our Planet, Save Our People (RTT).
Math for America: Over the last few weeks, I gave a series of three workshops to ~20 science teachers from public schools in NYC through an organization called Math for America. My workshop focused on the past, present, and future of nuclear weapons. In my last session, I answered one of their questions, which was what can they do to contribute to nuclear disarmament. I encouraged the teachers to teach their students about these issues, to give opportunities to them to learn more through independent projects, and to advocate for nuclear disarmament to their representatives in Congress. I also invited them and their students to visit the UN as guests of NAPF and hope that they will take me up on this offer!
Events: We held a few events last month in the NYC area. Christian Ciobanu (our Policy and Advocacy Coordinator) and I spoke (with Benetick Kabua Maddison of the Marshallese Educational Initiative (MEI) and Seth Shelden of ICAN) at a Model UN Conference for high school students at Columbia on January 14. The event was very well attended and received. Christian and one of our interns (Annamaria Belevitch from Columbia) organized and spoke at an event at Drew University on January 19, which was also a success.