Town Halls and Texts
August 8, 2017
This week I was well schooled in the doctrine, “hurry up and wait.” For those of you who have yet to experience this lovely adage it is the act of doing a lot of work for a specific deadline, only to then have to wait for the action due to come about as a result of your work. In other words, I would go from pulling my hair out by its roots (not really) to spinning around in my swirly chair aimlessly. At the end of the week, though, I feel as though I accomplished quite a lot.
Memory and Preservation
One of my projects this week was to write a post for Global Zero’s blog. As the anniversaries of the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki are August 6 and 9, I chose to look at the hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings) and their stories, and more specifically, why it is important that we all read and learn from them. Especially in light of recent events on the world stage regarding the use (or not) of nuclear weapons, I think this topic is very pertinent and current.
August Recess – the “summer break” for senators and representatives – began August 4. Global Zero’s “Town Halls for Zero” (working title – “Auggie Doggie”) launched August 5. With Chace’s exit from Global Zero, I have taken over the main organizational element of the campaign. Using the spreadsheet that Chace so kindly put together his first couple weeks here and the emails from the campaign launch, I’ve been texting and emailing people almost non-stop since Thursday afternoon, coordinating one-on-one conversations with John and Yasmeen as well as helping them locate any town halls that may be held near where we have volunteers.
The main objective of the Town Halls for Zero campaign is to get volunteers at town hall events to raise awareness of Global Zero’s objectives, and to encourage voted representatives and the voting populace to consider the implications of nuclear weapons. To this extent, there are two questions Global Zero is asking volunteers to prepare, one dealing with the proposed budget increase for nuclear weapons and one addressing the way the president has sole command of the nuclear arsenal (no check-and-balance system as is present within the U.S. government). My job has been taking the people who have volunteered (over 200 at this point!!) and seeing if they want to take the next step, coordinating with John and Yasmeen for meeting times and materials. For my last couple weeks, working this campaign will be my primary job.
City of Love
This weekend, I made my way out to Philadelphia to visit my cousin and her husband. I rode the Amtrak for the first time, and even though my horoscope implied that I would miss my stop, I successfully managed to get off the train in time to catch my ride into Philly. As my cousin is 10 years my senior, this is the first time that she and I have enough in common to connect, and I really enjoyed getting to see the city through her eyes.
We began Saturday with a train ride into Reading Terminal Market. It is a large indoor market with any variety of shops and stores, and we enjoyed a leisurely lunch of specialty grilled cheese (have you ever had brie cheese and cranberry chutney on toasted bread?) and donuts from a very popular shop. We worked off the food by renting bicycles and riding down the Schuykill River boardwalk. It’s about 26 miles long (we only did about four) and provides a very scenic view of the city. We then visited the Franklin Institute where we got lost in a mirror maze for about 30 minutes (despite it being maybe 20 feet long), and ended up at a delicious Greek restaurant in her old neighborhood for dinner. Sunday, we visited the Magic Gardens – an art installation of various glass pieces in concrete – which was so cool. You could never look at the same thing twice.
With my adventures in both Philly and D.C. on bikes through the cities’ bike share programs, I would have to say it will be one of my main recommendations to people for exploring the city. It’s a lot faster than walking around on foot, and if you don’t mind riding on city streets, a really great way to see the city. Riding with my cousin certainly got me planning another bike tour of D.C. for later in my trip!
Hannah Robertson is an English literature major from Durango, Colorado.