The Chicago City Council passed a resolution on July 20, 2022 calling on President Biden and Congress to cease spending federal tax dollars on nuclear weapons, embrace the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and make global disarmament a priority. Chicago joins a movement of over 50 municipalities that have passed “Back from the Brink” resolutions and is the largest midwestern city to have done so.
The resolution, sponsored by 49th Ward Alderwoman Maria Hadden and co-sponsored by Alderman Daniel La Spata (1st Ward) and Alderman Carlos Rosa-Ramirez (35th Ward), calls on the U.S. government to take concrete action to prevent nuclear war by:
· renouncing the option of preemptive nuclear strikes;
· ending the sole, unchecked authority of any president to single-handedly launch a nuclear attack;
· taking U.S. ground-based nuclear missiles off hair-trigger alert;
· calming the global arms race by canceling plans to replace the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal with enhanced weapons; and
· actively embracing both the letter and the spirit of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
“This resolution is the product of the hard work of the 49th Ward’s Youth Committee, young people who understand deeply that nuclear weapons do not make our country more secure – and they certainly don’t make Chicagoans safer,” Hadden said. “Chicagoans pay more than $500 million in federal taxes every year to fund U.S. nuclear weapons programs – money that could be better spent on programs and services that actually make our streets and neighborhoods safer by addressing pressing threats like gun violence, climate change and COVID-19. As a city central to the development of nuclear weapons, the City of Chicago has a responsibility to do what it can to ensure a safe, nuclear war-free future for its residents.”
Fifty-eight municipalities including Boston, Evanston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and seven state legislative bodies have adopted “Back from the Brink” resolutions. Back from the Brink resolutions are part of local governments’ anti-nuclear war activism history. Over 300 local, county and state officials – including Chicago City Council members Alderwoman Hadden and Alderman Andre Vasquez (40th Ward) – signed an open letter calling on President Biden and Congress to reduce and eliminate the risk of nuclear war. The Chicago City Council declared Chicago a nuclear weapon-free zone in 1986.
The resolution passed today was supported by a coalition, including the Union of Concerned Scientists and Chicago Area Peace Action. The text of the resolution can be found here.