‘Unite for Peace and Nuclear Justice’ Rally Held in Little Tokyo

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Attendees marched down First Street after the rally.

The Fukushima Support Committee and Council for Pacific Asian Theology held their third annual “Unite for Peace and Nuclear Justice: Hiroshima/Nagasaki Never Again” rally on Aug. 8 at Toriumi Plaza in Little Tokyo.

In addition to commemorating the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (Aug. 6) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9), participants recognized victims of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and addressed other nuclear issues.

Opening religious ceremonies were conducted by Tina Calderon, an elder representing Chumash/Tongva Nations, and Rev. Ryuzen Hayashi of Koyasan Buddhist Temple of Los Angeles.

A moment of silence was observed at 7:02 p.m. (11:02 a.m. on Aug. 9 in Japan), the exact time that the Nagasaki bomb was dropped. Rev. Peter Hata of Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple chanted as attendees made incense offerings.

Students from the Hiroshima Jogakuin High School Signature-Collecting Committee addressed the audience by phone.

Organizer Tsukuru Lauritzen (holding mic) translates for Fukushima survivor Michiko Kato. Also pictured are (from left) speakers Dr. Farideh Kioumehr, Faramarz Nabavi and Frances Yasmeen Motiwalla.

Michiko Kato, a Fukushima survivor, discussed her struggles as a single mother suffering from the effects of radiation exposure. Organizer Tsukuru Lauritzen served as interpreter.

Other speakers included:

– Dr. Farideh Kioumehr, epidemiologist, founder and executive director of the International Health and Epidemiology Research Center, creator of the Anti-Violence Campaign for Peace Project, and the first recipient of the Peace Award from the American Public Health Association;

– Denise Duffield, associate director of Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles and the 2019 recipient of the Bill Mitchell Grassroots Activist of the Year Award from the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability;

– Frances Yasmeen Motiwalla, former member of Peace Action Los Angeles and candidate in the 34th Congressional District, which includes Little Tokyo.

– Faramarz Nabavi of Progressive Asian Network for Action (PANA), who asked attendees to sign a “No War with/on Iran” petition to be delivered to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) in light of current tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

Closing prayers were offered Rev. Dickson Yagi, emeritus professor of Christian studies at Seinan University in Fukuoka.

A music performance was provided by GOH (Goh Kurosawa), a self-described “bicultural music samurai.”

Attendees make incense offerings as Rev. Peter Hata from Higashi Honganji chants. At right is Rev. Ryuzen Hayashi of Koyasan.

Attendees then marched down First Street, through Japanese Village Plaza and down Second Street to Weller Court, holding signs and chanting “No more war.” David Monkawa of PANA gave some final remarks.

Endorsing organizations included NCRR (Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress), Nikkei Progressives, Nikkei Resisters, CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), Veterans for Peace Los Angeles, MLK Coalition of Greater Los Angeles, Answer Coalition, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Southern California War Tax Resistance, Friends of Chain Reaction, Holy Faith Episcopal Church of Inglewood, Topanga Peace Alliance, Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice, Socialist Union Party, ICUJP (Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace), Union of Progressive Iranians, and CODEPINK: Women for Peace.

Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo

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