Billboards in Kansas City, Mo., and a 2 pm rally at Mill Creek Park will mark the “entry into force” of the international Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty, adopted in 2017 by a United Nations vote of 122-1, will take effect (enter into force) Jan. 22, the 90th day after the first 50 nations ratified the document. Gatherings around the world, including KC, will celebrate the treaty that day.
The treaty, promoted by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), “prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons.”
In Kansas City, PeaceWorks-KC and Physicians for Social Responsibility-KC, with the Green Party as cosponsor, are holding the Jan. 22 rally at 46th Terrace and Mill Creek Parkway. Unity Temple on the Plaza will ring its bells at 2pm. Speaker David Drake, D.O., the new president of the national Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), will describe his work in 2017 lobbying countries’ representatives at the UN to get the treaty passed. He will detail what PSR is doing to abolish nuclear weapons, including the Back from the Brink campaign, calling on the US to renounce the option of making a first strike with a nuclear weapon and to end the sole, unchecked authority of a US president to launch a nuclear attack.
Ann Suellentrop, MS, RN, project director for PSR-KC, will explain the treaty’s impact around the world, including countries with nuclear arsenals that have refused to sign it, such as the US. “Every country will feel the moral force of the treaty,” says Suellentrop. “All nuclear weapons, including the 3,900 in the US stockpile, have been declared unlawful by the international community.” Henry Stoever, a cochair of PeaceWorks-KC, will tie the treaty to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and our inalienable rights. Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, MD, cofounder of PSR-KC and director of Argentine Family Health, will also be a speaker.
Rally participants will wave flags of the 51 ratifying nations; another 35 countries have signed the treaty but have not yet ratified it. Some at the rally will hold large banners, “Nuclear weapons are illegal.” Practicing social distancing and wearing masks, attendees will sing John Lennon’s “Imagine” adapted: Imagine no nuclear weapons! It’s easy if you try!
Billboards with three designs in KC, attached, call for a nuclear-weapon-free world. “Billions for nuclear weapons? Peanuts for people? Repurpose KC’s Honeywell Plant!” is the billboard at 71 Highway, south of 125th Street. It refers to the Honeywell-operated National Security Campus (NSC) at Mo. Highway 150 and Botts Road. With an operating budget of more than $1 billion a year and with about 5,000 employees, the NSC makes or procures 85 percent of the nonnuclear parts for nuclear weapons. PeaceWorks seeks the repurposing of the plant from nuclear weapons to green industry.
A billboard on Main, south of 37th Street, declares, “Nuclear weapons are ILLEGAL.” And two billboards—one downtown on Main facing Truman Road, and one in Westport on Broadway, south of 39th Street, asks, “Imagine … a world free of nuclear weapons.”