With more than 40 people in attendance, the "Give Peace a Chance" Justice Event went exceedingly well, with a much-appreciated visit by the Rev. George Regas, founder of ICUJP.
The speakers, Sue Park and Hyun Hur, shared about their work building bridges of understanding between North and South Koreans, and how visiting North Korea was profoundly life-changing. They came to see North Koreans as people, not simply as the enemy. They told us that polls show that the vast majority of South and North Koreans want reconciliation. They also talked about how important it was for them to receive Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) advocacy training so that they could lobby elected officials effectively.
The third speaker, Shan Cretin, discussed her visits to North Korea and and China and American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) humanitarian and trust-building work in North Korea, beginning in 1980. She also provided practical steps we can take to create better relations and ultimate peace between this divided nation.
During our monthly Advocacy Team session, we listened to the FCNL conference call with Mort Halpern, an expert on foreign policy and arms control, and an adviser to Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Clinton and Obama..
His basic message was that we need to encourage negotiation and diplomacy, since "war is not an option." We should be nonpartisan and advise our leaders not to play politics. We should encourage our elected officials and Trump to have realistic expectations and work for step-by-step, incremental changes with the gradual removal of sanctions as North Korea complies with the goal of denuclearization. We also need to continue to lobby for bills preventing the President from launching a preemptive attack, whether nuclear or conventional, if talks don't produce quick results.
We also felt led to join with Physicians for Social Responsibility and advocate for a reduction of our nuclear arsenal. We are starting to make plans to visit with our elected officials in June to talk about these five policy solutions:
Renouncing first strike option
Ending the sole, unchecked authority of any president to launch a nuclear attack
Taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert
Cancelling the plan to replace its entire arsenal with enhanced weapons
Actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals
Specific bills include:
HR 669 (restricting first use of nuclear weapons act),
HR 4415 (No first use of nuclear weapons),
HR 2668 (smarter approach to nuclear expenditures act) and
HR 3853 ( Nuclear weapons abolition and economic and energy conversion act).
What You Can Do:
1) Educate yourself about Korea. See https://www.fcnl.org/updates/advocacy-teams-toolkit-39
2) Learn more about nuclear threat and the cost of nuclear modernization. See https://www.preventnuclearwar.org/
3) Write and/or call your elected officials. Go to fcnl.org.
4) Write letters to the editor.
5) Join us in lobby visits. Contact Anthony at email@example.com.
6) Donate at http://www.icujp.org/