This article chronicles the determined efforts of one of our Hubs, Prevent Nuclear War-Maryland (PNWM), to advocate for Back from the Brink resolutions during the 2024 Maryland General Assembly, facing legislative hurdles and challenges along the way. Through strategic lobbying, testimony, and coalition-building, they raised awareness and garnered support for measures to prevent nuclear war and promote disarmament at the state level.

Written by Dr. Gwen DuBois, PNWM member, President of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility (Chesapeake PSR), and BftB Steering Committee Member 

After 18 months of trying, we had Back from the Brink resolutions in the 2024 Maryland General Assembly. I had finally convinced my senator to be the sponsor and another PNWM member, Donna Hoffmeister, convinced a delegate she had once interned for to do the same in the House of Delegates. 

We wrote a draft resolution using a template from the Back from the Brink website and tailored it for Maryland: how many Maryland cities and counties had passed Back from the Brink resolutions, how much Marylanders were paying in taxes for toward the nuclear weapons complex (thanks to Dr. Bob Dodge and the nuclear weapons tax calculator), and how close we are to Washington D.C., a potential ground zero location.

Our sponsors submitted the drafts to the Maryland General Assembly drafting department on time, and they became SJ2 (Senate Joint Resolution 2) and HJ3 (House Joint Resolution 3). PNWM, with the help of Chesapeake PSR lobbyist Darrell Carrington, was able to get 19 cosponsors in the House and two in the Senate. 

We were aware that Back from the Brink-type resolutions were not popular for legislators facing over 1,000 bills to review and vote on in the 90-day session. We knew many of them would question why a state legislature should be discussing a question of federal policy like nuclear war.

On the advice of Mr. Carrington, we organized a lobby day, where a dozen of us from PNWM went to Annapolis and lobbied our delegates and senators, gave out fact sheets, and invited legislators and staff back to a nearby restaurant where we held a pizza party.

We waited for weeks for our House resolution to get a hearing date. When it was finally posted, we only had a few hours to submit testimony. I was on a train to Chicago putting together a written version as fast as I could so I could upload it while I still had signal and also requested permission to give oral testimony. 

When the House resolution hearing occurred a few days later, we were the last bill of the day. Before us was the “Supporting a Long-Term Ceasefire in Israel and Palestine” resolution where 60-80 people gave very moving testimony of family members they had lost and spoke to the terrible suffering in Gaza. 

How, I wondered, were our delegates to process the horror of nuclear war, after hearing the horror of Gaza? Of course, nuclear war is the suffering in Gaza on a global scale, but requires people to imagine the unimaginable. When our turn came up, I was at O’Hare Airport, in a small meditation room I had found near my gate. Two PNWM members, including myself, each gave our allotted 2-minute testimony remotely. 

Our sponsor was at the Assembly in person and gave a terrific speech. The Director of the Department of the Environment of Prince George’s County, who happened to be there for another bill, was so moved that she asked to speak in favor of our resolution and gave another powerful speech.

When it came to our Senate hearing, we had plenty of notice. We gathered as much written testimony as we could, including submissions from the Maryland Medical Association and Pax Christi. Five of us each gave two-minute oral testimonies from PNWM and Chesapeake PSR.

Committee chairs of neither House nor Senate allowed votes on the resolutions. Without a committee vote, the resolutions cannot move forward to whole chamber votes. However, we have learned so much in trying to get the state of Maryland to pass a Back from the Brink resolution. Since the resolutions have not been struck down with “no” votes, we will be back next year on January 25. 

We are already mapping out our strategy moving forward: lining up more cosponsors for the 2025 legislative session, reaching out to more local groups to submit testimony, writing op-eds and letters to the editor about our progress this session, as well as why our elected state officials must help convince our President and congressional delegation to take us back from the brink, change dangerous 70-year-old policies to prevent nuclear war, and create a pathway through disarmament agreements to nuclear abolition.



Did you know? Over 80 cities, towns, county, and state legislative bodies have passed Back from the Brink resolutions and hundreds of local, state, and county elected officials have endorsed our campaign’s five-point policy platform. If you’re interested in engaging with your local elected officials or legislative bodies to pass a Back from the Brink resolution, reach out to our national field organizer, Jeremy Love (

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