San Diegans Prepare to Celebrate Peace and Humanity Day
Local events Aug. 3 and 9 commemorate humankind’s 67th year of freedom from nuclear conflict
SAN DIEGO — August 3, 2012 – San Diego-WISH, a not-for-profit group dedicated to promoting global peace and freedom from nuclear weapons, today announced its Peace and Humanity Day events for 2012. In observing this year’s anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks that ended World War II, organizers hope to turn public attention toward a future free from the specter of nuclear conflict by recognizing that the alternative is too terrible to contemplate.
This year’s events occur in two parts, both organized by San Diego WISH, an acronym for “Worldwide Initiative to Safeguard Humanity.”
Part One occurs tonight at the Coronado City Council Chambers and Community Pool (1825 Strand Way, Coronado, CA 92118) with a floating of paper lanterns and a public prayer for world peace.
Part Two occurs Thursday, Aug. 9, from 11:00am to noon at the Yokohama Friendship Bell on Shelter Island (1402 Shelter Island Dr., San Diego, CA 92106), with a ceremony to present 1,000 cranes as a symbolic wish for governments worldwide to move toward abandoning nuclear weapons and eliminating the threat of nuclear war. Messages of peace will be heard from Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki; Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui; Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue; Los Angeles Consul General for Japan Jun Niimi; the office of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders; San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts; Coronado Mayor Casey Tanaka; and longtime San Diego resident Mike Kawamura, a Hiroshima survivor who was two years old at the time of the bombing.
Kawamura, who was recognized among KPBS TV’s “Local Heroes” during Asian Heritage Month in May, will share how he came to terms with history, grew beyond issues of blame, emigrated to the U.S. on a work assignment in 1971, and now sees America and Japan together through marriage within his own extended family.
The Aug. 9 event will also feature a guest appearance by Maya Nakanishi, 26, a Japanese paralympian who hopes to beat the current world long-jump record of 5.09 meters in London this month. Nakanishi, who lost her right leg in an industrial accident in 2006, brings a message of making dreams come true despite what appear to be impossible odds.
All events are free and open to the public, with arts, crafts, entertainment, food and refreshments.
“World War II started and ended with horrific destruction,” said SD-WISH Committee Chair Akiko Mikamo, whose father survived the Hiroshima attack. “Yet today, the United States and Japan are not only at peace – we are close allies. We want to show our experience as an example of friendships growing against impossible odds. But even more than this, we want to make people envision peace in a different way – a way that bypasses war altogether.”