On September 22, upon urging by the Sisters of St. Francis and the Franciscan Peace Center, the Clinton City Council approved a motion for Mayor Scott Maddasion to become a member of the International Mayors for Peace. This nonpartisan organization was established in 1982 by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan with the goal of realizing lasting world peace around the globe by promoting efforts to abolish nuclear weapons.
Mayor Maddasion is the fourth Clinton mayor to become a member of the organization. Thirteen years ago, in 2007, then Clinton Mayor LaMetta Wynn signed on as a Mayor for Peace. Subsequently, Mayors Rodger Holm and later Mark Vulich also signed on. Today, Mayors for Peace has grown to more than 7,956 member cities in 164 countries and regions.
Fifteen years ago, in 2005, the Clinton Franciscans took a corporate public stand opposing nuclear weapons following years of studying the issue and advocating against warfare. The statement issued reads: "We, the Sisters of St. Francis of Clinton, Iowa, Associates and Sojourners, oppose continued maintenance, development, and threatened use of the United States arsenal of nuclear weapons and research into and testing of new nuclear weaponry. We call on our government to fulfill our commitments to nuclear disarmament as agreed to in the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970 and to abide by the provisions of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of 1996."
Sister Jan Cebula is President of the Sisters of St. Francis of Clinton, Iowa. "We believe in the sanctity of every human life and all creation. Nuclear weapons are a grave danger to all forms of life," she says. "The rapidly growing number of Mayors for Peace is a powerful force generating real momentum toward peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons."
In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly declared September 26 to be the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The intent of the day is to enhance public awareness about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination.
The threat of nuclear weapons disappeared from the consciousness of U.S. citizens following the end of the Cold War. Today, while news headlines repeatedly emphasize the perceived threat of Iran and North Korea to obtain nuclear weapons, there is little or no mention that the U.S. is making efforts to strengthen and modernize its nuclear arsenal and is working toward the development of new 'usable' nuclear weapons.
In August 1945, single atomic bombs dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki instantaneously reduced them to rubble, taking vast numbers of precious lives. To ensure that the atomic tragedy is never repeated anywhere on earth, Hiroshima and Nagasaki have consistently sought to persuade the world that nuclear weapons are inhumane and have continually called for their total abolition.
To realize this goal, Hiroshima and Nagasaki established Mayors for Peace, and, in conjunction with partner cities around the world, has developed the 2020 Vision Campaign, calling for the total abolition of nuclear weapons, with the following objectives:
Take existing nuclear weapons off of "hair trigger" or high alert status.
Commence negotiations toward a universal nuclear weapons convention.
Prohibit the development, production, testing, stockpiling, or use of nuclear weapons.
Destroy all existing nuclear weapons and render all fissile materials unusable.
The Sisters of St. Francis have been active in Clinton, Iowa for over 150 years with a mission to promote active nonviolence and peacemaking, seek justice for those marginalized, and care for all creation.
Photo: Mayor Scott Maddasion signs on to become a Mayor for Peace at the City Council Meeting on Sept. 22nd. Looking on is Lisa Frederick, City Clerk/Deputy City Administrator