PRESS RELEASE: On eve of U.S/Korea talks, Atlanta welcomes Christine Ahn, Women Cross DMZ founder, to panel with local Peace Champions

PRESS RELEASE
June 8, 2018
Press Contact:
Becky Rafter
Executive Director
678-637-3744-mobile
404-524-5999 x1014 Direct
Georgia WAND Presents: Mother’s Day for Peace 2018
Meet the Real Champions Creating Global Peace
For Immediate Release, June 8, 2018, Atlanta, GA: On the eve of historic denuclearization talks with North Korea, Georgia WAND Education Fund brings together women on the front lines of peace-building, from Korea to rural Georgia, to discuss the local effects of a militarized federal budget and nuclear weapons.
 
This public event is being held Sunday, June 10 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at Agnes Scott College, in Presser Hall, located at 141 E. College Ave, Decatur GA, 30030 on the McDonough side of campus. As the Korean peninsula moves toward peace and denuclearization, and families look forward to being reunited, it is important to hear from the extraordinary women who have had a significant influence on international and domestic peace work at the intersection of nuclear weapons, militarization, the environment, and community health.
 
The panel, Women on the Front Lines of Peace, features Christine Ahn, Founder and International Coordinator of Women Cross DMZ and The Korea Policy Institute. For years, Ahn has been part of a global movement of women mobilizing to end the Korean War, reunite families, and ensure women’s leadership in peace building. Ahn will anchor the panel on the heels of her most recent trip to the Korean peninsula.
 
“The Summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim will be an important step towards ending the longest standing US conflict, and denuclearization of Korea and our world. But to ensure there is a peace deal, and a lasting one, will take women mobilizing. Ahn says; “The Mother’s Day for Peace event in Atlanta is just where I need to be on the eve of the Summit.” 
 
Ahn will be joined by women from the south and southwest who are fighting against violence and working for peace in their communities. Panelist Natalie Herrington, is a community organizer and minister in Burke County Georgia, who lives and works in an area affected by contamination from both the Savannah River Site nuclear weapons compound upstream, and the nuclear power plant Vogtle, currently being expanded from two working nuclear reactors to four. Natalie serves on the Community Advisory Committee of the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Lab’s R.E.M.O.P. program – Radionuclide Education, Monitoring, and Outreach Program. Georgia WAND constituents and staff in Shell Bluff, GA and Atlanta brokered the R.E.M.O.P. program for two years, launching in 2017.
 
Panelist Denice Traina, a longtime activist for peace and justice, will speak from her vantage point as a health professional. Traina hails from Augusta, GA, which also abuts the Savannah River near the Savannah River Site nuclear weapons complex.
 
“As we celebrate the impressive work women are doing across our nation on behalf of peace we realize the imperative for us to connect with even more women across the world as we double our efforts to hear women’s voices speak truth-to-power in villages and cities everywhere,” says Traina.
 
Panelist Leona Morgan, Co-Coordinator of the Nuclear Issues Study Group New Mexico and co-founder of Diné No Nukes, works to protect against environmental harms in Navajo communities impacted by uranium mines. Stephanie Cho—Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice—will moderate the panel. Cho has a background in grassroots justice-making that spans labor, LGBTQ, immigration issues, and beyond. Born in South Korea and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Stephanie came to GA by way of Los Angeles.
 
“This event couldn’t be timelier. Not only because it falls on the eve of talks with North Korea but because the U.S. is facing massive threats to humanity: the potential dismantling of the Iran nuclear deal; $1 trillion in nuclear modernization; and the recent Congressional approval of a 167% increase in annual Plutonium Pit production, half of which the National Nuclear Security Administration has tapped to be produced at the Savannah River Site, just across the Savannah River from East Georgia. The U.S. continues widespread militarization, from the Korean peninsula to ICE sweeps in quiet southern neighborhoods,” Becky Rafter, Georgia WAND Executive Director. “But there’s a very bright side: we are witnessing women in the south coming together across communities to lead the nation in hope, strength, resiliency, and strategic collaboration as they encourage transparency from, and accountability of, industry and government agencies. The real ‘safety and security’ we must remain diligent about fall within the realm of economic security and livelihood, as well as the health of our most vulnerable residents.”
 
The impacts of policy decisions made on foreign soil affects Georgians in ways many do not realize. Mother’s Day for Peace 2018 seeks to connect the dots between nuclear weapons deployed abroad and the health of people and land in the U.S. It seeks to pull back the veil showing how the most marginalized communities face the brunt of the silent and secret side of the nuclear threat, especially in rural Georgia and indigenous communities contaminated by uranium mining.
In an effort to address the expectation to have healthy food for the communities that are served, the event also highlights local farmers to further illustrate the connection between the need for land and water to be free from radiological contamination, and the need for funding for agricultural and water programs, more than war, nuclear weapons, or nuclear energy.
 
Nine local community leaders and two local nonprofit organizations will receive awards for their work defending justice and modeling the kindness and compassion critical for the world moving forward.
 
Dianne Valentin, President of the Georgia WAND Board of Directors, exclaims, “I am so excited about our Mother’s Day for Peace event this coming Sunday at Agnes Scott College! Every person on our list of awardees deserves to have their name and work lifted up, and I am proud that it’s Georgia WAND doing it. Forward together in unity!”
 
Honorees of the evening include Dee Dee Ngozi Chamblee-Racial Justice Action Center, Stephanie Guilloud & Emery Wright-Project South, Helen Fredrick, Glory Kilanko-Women Watch Afrika, Adelina Nicholls-Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Colette Pichon-Battle-Center for Gulf Coast Law and Policy, Jewish Voice for Peace Atlanta, Jamie Roberts-Trans Housing Atlanta Program, Charis Books and More, and Gloria Tatum-Atlanta Progressive News.
 
“Agnes Scott College is proud that our first female president, Ruth Schmidt, was a founding member of Georgia WAND, and we are thrilled to host this annual event which is emblematic of our tradition of elevating women’s voices and leadership for peace, justice, and democracy,” states Robiaun Charles, Ed.D., CFRE, Vice President for College Advancement, Agnes Scott College.
 
Entertainment will be provided by The Txlips Band, an all-girl, Atlanta-based indie rock band that embodies #BlackGirlMagic. They pull from a fusion of genres bringing attitude and passion with every song.
 
Tickets are on a sliding scale, starting at FREE and going up to $100. General admission. Those interested in attending can RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mothers-day-for-peace-2018-tickets-46028633883. For more information, contact Emily Weyrauch, Quaker Voluntary Service Fellow at Georgia WAND: emily@georgiawand.org, 404-524-5999 X1012 or Becky Rafter, Executive Director: cell 678-637-3744, becky@georgiawand.org.
 
Georgia WAND hosts “Mother’s Day for Peace” annually in the late Spring. The original idea for a day to honor mothers was actually a call for women to resist war. The woman behind this 1870 proclamation was Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist, suffragist, poet, and peace activist. After the Civil War, she made an international plea for women to gather for “Mother’s Day.” Below is her call for mothers to come together and wage peace:
 
MOTHER’S DAY PROCLAMATIONJulia Ward Howe, 1870
“Arise then…women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: ‘We will not have great questions answered by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.’ From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: ‘Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!’ Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of council. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take council with each other as the means whereby the great human family can live in peace. Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God. In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women, without limit of nationality, may be appointed and held someplace deemed most convenient, and the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, and the great and general interest of peace.”
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About Georgia WAND Education Fund, Inc.
Georgia WAND Education Fund, Inc. educates the public and opinion leaders about the need to reduce violence and militarism in society and redirect excessive military spending to unmet human and environmental needs. Georgia WAND builds power in front-line communities and advances nuclear harm reduction strategies in the South.