On Monday, March 4, FCNL Executive Secretary Diane Randall joined Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), in front of a packed Quaker Welcome Center and Facebook Live audience for a conversation about ICAN’s campaign to transform the global conversation about eliminating all nuclear weapons.
Fihn and Randall stressed the leading roles women and young people are playing in this reenergized movement. Fihn said the role of once-underappreciated voices makes sense because nuclear weapons are fundamentally about power—namely, the power of (mostly male) leaders in just a few states to decide to unleash catastrophic harm on others within their own country and throughout the rest of the world.
Fihn said she makes a point of starting each meeting she has with political officials by unflinchingly describing the human effects wrought by nuclear weapons. By confronting these weapons for what they are—mass destruction tools of mass murder effects head on—ICAN strips these weapons of the sterilizing language that decisionmakers hide behind to justify their continued use.
Fihn said ICAN’s strategy can be summed up as “doing things.” By keeping active and celebrating even the smallest victories they ensure that backers remained optimistic and new supporters get excited about joining in.
Earlier in the evening, Anthony Wier, FCNL’s Legislative Secretary for Nuclear Disarmament and Pentagon Spending, highlighted FCNL’s work on Capitol Hill to oppose the Trump administration’s push for new nuclear weapons, to build support for extending the New START Treaty past 2021, and for ensuring at least that the United States never uses nuclear weapons first. Timmon Wallis, a Friend who previously pushed for a treaty abolishing nuclear weapons on behalf of Britain Yearly Meeting, also discussed the work his new organization NuclearBan.US is doing to get educate legislators and get individuals, businesses, faith communities, schools, organizations, cities, and states to comply with the treaty’s prohibitions by disconnecting as far as possible from the nuclear weapons industry.
ICAN won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work to bring back into the spotlight the catastrophic human consequences of any nuclear weapons use, and for its push to create and support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which would ban nuclear weapons among all signatories. FCNL joined ICAN as an international partner in early 2017.