International Unitarian Universalism

Arms Down! Campaign for Shared Security

By UUA International Resources

In November 2009, the Religions for Peace Global Youth Network launched the Arms Down! Campaign for Shared Security. The campaign aims to advance shared security by working to reduce nuclear and conventional weapons and to reallocate military spending to support urgently needed development, as set forth in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Global military expenditure reached the unprecedented level of $1.464 trillion in 2008. Only 10% (ten percent) of the total global military budget would be sufficient to enable the full achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Arms Down! has a target number of 50,000,000 (fifty million) signatures. Signed petitions will be delivered to the United Nations Secretary General, the permanent members of the Security Council, as well as to Heads of State and Members of Parliament. Learn more about the Arms Down! campaign: [vimeo 11481387] The upcoming North American regional campaign will consist of two key elements: a Day of Awareness on August 9, 2010 and Day(s) of Advocacy on September 20-22, 2010. Religions for Peace Global Youth Network needs help in three primary areas: 1. Identifying youth representatives of your faith community, 2. Helping to promote the message of the campaign in your faith community, and 3. Spreading the word throughout your networks. Day of Awareness: August 9, 2010 August 9, 2010 marks the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki and the opening of the third session of the UN Conference on Disarmament. The Day of Awareness will consist of events taking place simultaneous all across the United States and Canada, organized by members of the reconstituted North American Youth Network and with partner organizations. The events will foster discussion and bring attention to the impact of nuclear weapons and conventional weapons on our world and the need to allocate a small portion of the world's military budgets towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. A limited number of mini-grants are available for groups interested in organizing events around the Day of Awareness. Day(s) of Advocacy: September 20, 2010 - September 22, 2010 September 20-22, 2010 marks the United Nations High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals, hosted in New York. September 21 is the International Day of Peace. Additionally, September 20 is after the High Holy Days in Judaism and Ramadan in Islam. The Day(s) of Advocacy will build off of the discussions and networks established on the Day of Awareness and encourage individuals to take action:
  • to sign the petition and to ask family, friends and neighbors to sign the petition as well.
  • to call local and national representatives and visit the offices of their representatives to speak about the Arms Down! Campaign
  • (for a select group of individuals) to travel to Washington, D.C. on September 19 for advocacy training in order to then meet with national representatives in Washington, D.C. on September 20 to advocate for Arms Down!
Travel support is available to go to Washington, DC. Priority selection for the DC Advocacy Fellowship will be given to individuals who organize successful Day of Awareness programs and/or collect the most signatures for the petition. A toolkit is available upon request. Additionally, youth representatives who collect the most signatures in each region will be invited to a final ceremony at the Millennium Hotel, where the signatures will be presented to the United Nations. To get involved, or for any questions, contact Rori Picker Neiss. Rori is currently serving as the coordinator for the North American Youth Network Arms Down! Campaign.

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