Women. Power. Peace.

Bobbie Paul: Standing with the Survivors

“The source of peace is a heart that understands other people’s pain.”

That will be the last line spoken by Druid Hills high school student Simone Bromfield as she speaks the words of Seiko Ikeda, a Japanese survivor of the August 6, 1945 atomic blast that destroyed the city of Hiroshima, claimed over 140,000 lives, and changed the world forever.

Tomorrow - August 6, 2011 - Georgia WAND and the King Center for Nonviolence and Social Change will present Visions and Voices of Peace. Together, we will hear personal stories of the Hiroshima bombing,  celebrate the resilience of the human spirit in music, poetry, and film, and lift up our vision for peace and a nuclear weapons-free world   Every August, Georgia WAND recommits to our founding mission of nuclear disarmament with members of the Atlanta peace and justice community. To strengthen that commitment, we remember the horrors of war and, specifically, the massive destruction, disfigurement, and despair caused by the explosion and fallout of a nuclear bomb.

Vividly told first-hand accounts of the nuclear bomb falling on children and families, as told by high school students is rough stuff, to be sure.  But a dear friend, colleague, and former Georgia WAND president - Elizabeth Baldwin - has lovingly translated the words of the 1952 publication entitled “Children of the A-Bomb”  from the Japanese into English for this sensitive Atlanta premiere.   Elizabeth gives us the stories of seven high school students each one telling us about his or her life as it was on that August morning at 8:15 when suddenly a blinding white light, scorching heat, and devastating pain engulfed the city, tore skin off their bodies, and separated them from their families.

I invite you to come out to witness these stories, courageously told by eight Metro Atlanta area youth who have volunteered to take part in Visions and Voices of Peace.

We are honored to have poets Alice Lovelace and Theresa Davis perform after the first-hand accounts are presented. Sharing music will be The Band of Desperate Men.   To end the program, Boston filmmaker David Rothauser will introduce a clip of his film Hibakusha, Our Life to Live to be shown in its entirety at 1:30pm on  Sunday, August 7 at the Atlanta Friends Meeting House in Decatur.

This free event begins at 2pm in the Freedom Hall at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center located at the corner of Boulevard and Auburn Ave NE.  Parking is available in the old Ebeneezer Church parking lot behind the reflecting pools The auditorium is nicely air-conditioned, very comfortable and handicapped accessible.

Visions and Voices of Peace  will be filmed and sent to Japan where the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation will show it to survivors of the atomic bomb blast (hibakusha) and the citizens of Hiroshima.

I hope to see you there!


Bobbie Paul serves as Executive Director of Georgia WAND. She has spent almost 25 years supporting the vision of WAND’s founder – Dr. Helen Caldicott – to gradually rid the world of nuclear weapons. She has helped the Georgia chapter define its three areas of concentration across the state and Southeast region:  Peace in Action, Environmental Justice and Empowering People to Act Politically. Paul has watch-dogged Savannah River Site (SRS) for over fifteen years and led campaigns to successfully restore Department of Energy (DOE) environmental monitoring of SRS in Georgia. Paul is a former theatre professional and the co-founder of a regional theatre company in St. Petersburg, Florida (now known as American Stage Company). She has worked for the US Department of State as a theatre specialist in Egypt and Jordan.

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