On April 26th we talked with Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. She talked to a sold out room at Maman in Tribeca about women’s unique role in nuclear disarmament, and how motherhood has strengthened her along her journey to the Nobel prize. To be a fly on the wall, check out the New Yorker's coverage of the event, and this short video recap. At Mindr, we not only want to start the conversation, we want to keep it going and help you stay involved in the issues that are important to you and your families. So here are 5 ways that you can follow in Beatrice’s footsteps and help support nuclear disarmament.
- Know your facts. At the event, Beatrice pointed out that because the general public is generally unaware of what's going on globally when it comes to nuclear disarmament, this creates an accountability gap for governments. So here's what you need to know. There are nine nuclear-armed countries in the world - the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Together, they possess nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons, which would cause catastrophic death and injury tolls, food source contamination and long-term radiation poisoning if detonated. It’s been almost a year since the United Nations adopted a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. All of the nuclear powers boycotted the 2017 treaty negotiations. But in order for the treaty to take effect, only 50 countries must ratify it. To date, 7 have (the US is not one of them). To learn more about governmental support of this treaty, click here.
- Contact your US Senators and Representatives: Show your support for US participation in the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty. Contact your Senators and Representatives to let them know this is an issue you care about. Remind them that your vote is your power. It may not always feel like calling or emailing your reps makes a difference, but as Assemblywoman Nily Rozic emphasized at her recent Mindr event, this is a crucial and often defining element of setting the legislative agenda. And as Beatrice says, the more we make clear to our reps that we're concerned about nuclear weapons and their potential impact on ourselves, our kids, and our kids' kids, the more likely it is that our governments will take steps to keep us safe.
- Donate to organizations that work on nuclear disarmament: Organizations like ICAN are working to stigmatize these weapons and are focused on diplomacy. The UN treaty was a result of nearly a decade of work by ICAN and its partners to advance this cause. No wonder they won the Nobel Prize! To support their efforts, you can donate here.
- Don’t give up on diplomacy: Every day we wake up and there is a new headline about whether or not the summit between the US and North Korea will actually take place. In times like this, it seems like diplomacy and soft power tools are being thrown out the window by those in power. While this may be true, we must continue to support efforts at international diplomacy. As women and mothers we are domestic diplomats in our everyday life. By teaching our 2 and 4 year olds how to share and become clear and open communicators, we are raising future diplomats. We must also call upon our leaders to model good behavior on the international political stage and support those who value diplomacy.
- Stay engaged and informed on issues that are important to you: It may seem like some issues dominating the current domestic and foreign policy spheres are too big to tackle, especially when we are are pulled in so many directions in our everyday lives. Between keeping track of play dates and our work schedules, who has time to track international treaties?! Beatrice reminded us that we can - and should - stay engaged in this debate. The time is now to keep this issue in the forefront of policy leaders minds. By staying informed and up to date on current events at home and abroad we can move the policy debate forward and show are little ones that their opinion counts today and in the future.
Sarah Gibbs is a #MINDRMAMA of two and a public policy expert living with her family in Raleigh, North Carolina. Although she misses her former New York life, she’s loving exploring her new home in NC with her two littles.