On Sunday afternoon, a crowd of about 50 people assembled once again on the Ellis Avenue sidewalk to hear speeches, poems and songs from an assortment of peace activists, academics and religious leaders. Most were veterans of a pacifist movement which eschews nuclear energy as well as nuclear weapons—one speaker, Norma Field, a retired (U. of C.) professor of East Asian studies called the distinction between the two virtually meaningless—and spoke of the difficulty of maintaining hope in the face of dispiriting news around the globe and an increasing threat of the development and use of nuclear weapons from world leaders.
“We’ve all been rattled by what’s been happening in the world in the last year,” said Jack Lawlor, a teacher at the Lakeside Buddha Sangha, an Evanston-based meditation group. “I wonder if the 21st century has learned anything about the 20th century.”
Gesturing at the library and campus buildings surrounding him, Lawlor said, “These buildings around us are full of history books.” Then he read aloud the Metta Sutta, an early Buddhist text known as the “Discourse on Love.”
Yuki Miyamoto, a professor of religious studies at DePaul University and a Hiroshima native, spoke about her personal experience of the effects of nuclear war.
Charles Strain, also a professor of religious studies at DePaul, captured the tone of outrage and moral passion common to the various speeches delivered Sunday when he said, “The very existence of these apocalyptic weapons corrupts the moral underpinnings of our democracy.”
Read more at Peace Activists Observe Hiroshima Anniversary at “Nuclear Energy” Sculpture