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Des Moines Iowa Mayor Frank Cownie Proclaims “Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War Day”

June 22, 2020
Report by Ms. Jacqueline Cabasso, the Executive Advisor for Mayors for Peace

On June 22, 2020 Mayors for Peace Vice-President Mayor Frank Cownie of Des Moines, Iowa signed a proclamation declaring the day, “Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War Day”, in solidarity with the growing Back from the Brink campaign.


As recognized in the Proclamation: “a grassroots movement called “Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War” has been endorsed by 250 health, environmental, academic, peace, and justice organizations and has resulted in resolutions approved by the United States Conference of Mayors and 32 municipalities, including the cities of Los Angeles, Baltimore, Salt Lake City, and Washington DC, with more under consideration.”

Noting that “the United States is obligated under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to take concrete steps to eliminate its nuclear arsenal” the Proclamation concludes:

“Des Moines, Iowa calls on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by:
  • renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first;
  • ending the sole, unchecked authority of any president to launch a nuclear attack;
  • taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert;
  • cancelling the plan to replace its entire arsenal with enhanced weapons; and
  • actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.”

  • The Proclamation also calls on the United States to welcome the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

    Before the Proclamation was read in full by Mayor Cownie, Dr. David Drake, an Iowa physician and psychiatrist with Physicians for Social Responsibility read a statement (see below) commending Mayor Cownie for his Proclamation on behalf of Des Moines community groups including Methodist Federation for Social Action, Catholic Peace Ministry, StarPac, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, The Des Moines Faith Community for Peace, Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting, and Physicians for Social Responsibility in Iowa and nationally.

    Read the full text of the Proclamation (Des Moines City website) Learn more about the Back from the Brink; the Call to Prevent Nuclear War Campaign




    Statement by Dr. David Drake to the Des Moines, Iowa City Council, June 22, 2020

    Thank you Mayor Cownie,

    In recent weeks, we have been shocked by the discrimination and violence against unarmed Americans who are African American. There is no greater violence imaginable than the use of nuclear weapons. As we seek to end the state violence against so many in our communities we must also take decisive action to eliminate nuclear weapons before they are used, intentionally or by accident.

    Experts like former Defense Secretary William Perry tell us that we are closer to nuclear war than we have ever been. The well-known Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has now been set at 100 seconds before midnight - the closest it has ever been. The scientific and medical community are warning us that even a limited nuclear war could cause worldwide climate disruption and a catastrophic famine putting some 2 billion people at risk.

    The Back from the Brink campaign seeks to bring about fundamental change in US nuclear policy and initiate negotiations among all nuclear armed states for a verifiable, enforceable, time bound agreement to dismantle their nuclear arsenals. As an Iowa physician and psychiatrist, I applaud Mayor Cownie for this proclamation putting Des Moines’ elected Mayor clearly on record in support of this historic undertaking. And I thank members from the Des Moines community connected to the Methodist Federation for Social Action, Catholic Peace Ministry, StarPac, WILPF, The Des Moines Faith Community for Peace, Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting, and Physicians for Social Responsibility in Iowa and nationally.

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