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Peace March Speech



Hello everyone! My name is Mary Popeo and I am an anti-nuclear weapons activist from Boston, MA in America. I am deeply honored to march for nuclear abolition here in Japan. I would like to thank Gensuikyo, Shinfujin, and the Women’s Peace Fund, without whom I would not be here.


This is not my first visit to Japan. While I was a student at Boston College, I spent two summers in Hiroshima and Nagasaki studying Japanese peace culture and bomb history. While in Hiroshima, I had the privilege of interning at the World Friendship Center, where I met many hibakusha and heard their stories. I spent time with youth against the bomb at Hiroshima University of Economics and Hiroshima Junshin Daigaku. I attended the festivities on the anniversary of the bomb, including the World Conference Against A & H Bombs. It was this experience of being immersed in the Japanese peace movement that sparked my passion for nuclear abolition and activism.


Today I am an Action Corps leader for Global Zero and a Committee Member of AFSC’s Peace and Economics Security Program. We plan conferences, conduct youth organizing, put pressure on political leaders, and educate our neighbors about the dangers of nuclear weapons.


Recently, AFSC and my mentor Joseph Gerson helped to organize Peace & Planet, a mobilization leading up to the NPT for a peace, just, nuclear-free, and sustainable future. At the conference, we connected the struggles we all face. The dehumanization of America’s nuclear weapons foreign policy is the same dehumanization that occurs domestically when our militarized police target communities of color. It is the same dehumanization that is behind the bases in Okinawa and revision of Article 9. I learned how interconnected we all are. This was demonstrated when about 2,000 Japanese activists flew to the US to attend the Peace & Planet rally and march. I was overwhelmed with such gratitude and emotion, knowing that we were all supporting each other.


My hope, as an American and as a young person, is that my eager participation in the march will represent to Japanese communities the Americans and peoples all over the world who stand in solidarity with them in the fight to be rid of nuclear weapons. I hope to share my experiences during the march through a blog, social media, and through speaking engagements upon my return home. I hope to join the many young people in Japan who are working to preserve and disseminate the messages of the hibakusha. And I wish to meet and learn from as many people as possible while I am in Japan.


Let us work together to get rid of all nuclear weapons!


It is up to us. The time is now!


Peace Must Win. We shall overcome. We will never give up!

平和は勝たねばなりません! 私たちは必ず勝利します! 決して諦めません!

No More Hiroshimas! No More Nagasakis! No More Fukushimas!

ノーモア 広島!ノーモア長崎!ノーモア福島!

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