The summer blockbuster movie Oppenheimer seems to have brought new attention to the gravity of nuclear weapons.
However, if nukes seemed to have drifted out of the spotlight for many years for one local group they have remained its focus since its founding in the 1970s. The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo has always focused on “a world without nuclear weapons,” and chose Aug. 5-7 to reaffirm their commitment to that.
It was Aug. 6, 1945, that the U.S. dropped the first nuclear weapon used in wartime on Hiroshima, Japan, which was followed up by a second weapon dropped on Nagasaki Aug. 9. So, it seemed only fitting to Ground Zero to choose this time of year as a way of not only memorializing the victims of both bombings but also as a way of leveraging attention on history to further their messaging.
Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Tom Rogers, a 32-year veteran, commanding officer of an attack submarine, and longtime member of Ground Zero, said that all indications are that there are more deployed nukes in Kitsap County than anywhere else on earth.
On Aug. 5, Ground Zero held a daylong schedule of events, including speakers, such as retired U.S. Army Col. Ann Wright and discussion panels such as “The Intersection of Climate and Nuclear Weapons.” The group also planned another protest at the Bangor Trident Submarine Base Gate, which it does a few times every year.
Preparation for the protest included a group training session on nonviolence, which began with a recital of the principles of non-violence, as espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Central to the discussion was a deep commitment not only to non-violence, but to a desire to spread fellowship and eliminate fear in the world, especially as a motivator for war.
That was followed by several role-playing events, in which trainees acted either as protestors or as those that they might encounter while protesting (i.e. law enforcement, counter-protestors, disinterested parties).
Subsequent days of the event included more nonviolence training, letter-writing events, action-planning sessions, and more demonstrations at Bangor.
For details, go to www.gzcenter.org.