On January 17th, I will commemorate the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On January 22nd, I will celebrate the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

These two events are more intertwined than they may appear on the surface.

King spoke often against nuclear weapons, calling them the most colossal of all evils. “The alternative to disarmament,” he said, “may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation.” And, Dr. King’s prescription for humanity was clear: “The development and use of nuclear weapons should be banned.”

The ban is here. It is now part of international law. Dr. King would be pleased. Unfortunately, the United States has yet to sign the treaty, but it should. U.S. leadership could deliver the world from the threat of the abyss of which King spoke.

This is why I will go to the Livermore Lab on Friday, January 21. With colleagues I will hold banners celebrating the treaty’s enactment, calling on the U.S. to join, and quoting our country’s most eloquent proponent of peace and justice, Dr. King.

This coming week I, and millions like me, will pause to reflect on King’s words, and we will act in communities across our country and around the world to bring to fruition our common aspiration for the abolition of nuclear weapons and war. I invite you to join me at Livermore Lab’s, one of two US laboratories that design nuclear weapons. Information on our local action can be found at trivalleycares.org.

By Mary Perner,


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