Rochester could support the United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Rochester could support the United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

[1/9/21 (l-r) Peter Mitchell, Hank Stone and Sandy Gilman. Not pictured, Hal Bauer. Photo: David Kramer]

We’ve been to the weekly peace vigil on East and Goodman, now in its 20th year, several times.

The long vigil for peace on the corner of East and Goodman (2015) looks at the history of the vigil that began as part of large demonstrations in Rochester and nationwide protesting the anticipated invasion of Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (left) 25 Nov 2002, “100 rally to pray for peace at interfaith vigil downtown”; (right) 17 Mar 2003, 200 assemble downtown to protest war”


Julie Everitt (left) and Carol Kramer protesting against an invasion of Iraq as part of a contingent of Rochesterians who travelled to Washington, D. C. From The long vigil for peace on the corner of East and Goodman

Conversations on Peace and War at East and Goodman (2019) looks at the moment when Trump announced a complete withdrawal of American troops from Syria and a major withdrawal from Afghanistan.


Sandy Gilman (left) and David Kramer [Photo: Colin Reinagel]

Sandy Gilman (left) and David Kramer [Photo: Colin Reinagel] 12/30/18 From Conversations on Peace and War at East and Goodman 

On Sunday, I spoke with Hank Stone about the immediate concern of the vigil which is to support the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. As explained by Hank:

Weekly Peace Vigil

There is a small gathering every Sunday at the corner of East and Goodman in Rochester, from noon to 1:00.  People simply stand holding signs, and wave to passersby. Some of these honk, wave, smile, and/or flash us the peace sign. It is a moment of peace and sanity in a world that can sometimes seem anything but sane.  It’s fun!  Come do this some Sunday and see what you think!

Nuclear Weapons are Illegal!

1/9/22 David Kramer [Photo: Hank Stone]

People can be forgiven for not knowing this, but the world has made designing, building, stockpiling, owning, selling, transferring, using, and threatening to use nuclear weapons illegal, anywhere on Earth!
This is the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which went into effect on January 22, 2021, after being ratified by the 50th country. So, does this mean the U.S. is on a course to give up its nuclear weapons?  Not anytime soon.  Because the 9 nuclear weapons states, including the U.S., did not sign the treaty, so the nuclear weapons ban doesn’t apply to them.Still, the U.S. SHOULD join the rest of the world in this ban. Any town, county, or state can declare itself in solidarity with this treaty. This gives cover to national elected officials who want the U.S. to stand with the rest of the world for peace.

Help us spread the word about this historic opportunity!  Join Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace (GVCP) at the corner of Main St. and Route 20A in Geneseo. Saturday, January 22, 2022, from noon to 1:00.  Come and stand with us!Join with other Americans who believe our country should be an international leader, not a pariah.

Hank Stone, Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace

What I did not know was that any town, county, or state can declare itself in solidarity with this treaty. Rochester could join other cities that have done just that.


Towns and cities in the US cannot “sign” an international treaty, nor can they remove the nuclear weapons that may be stationed or their soil, since this is the sole prerogative of the US government. They can, however, pass legally-binding resolutions and local ordinances and statutes that prohibit companies from manufacturing and maintaining these weapons within their jurisdiction. They can divest city and state funds from these companies and they can refuse to sign city and state contracts with these companies.

As seen in CITIES AND TOWNS ( over 200 towns have passed resolutions to align with the Treaty, including Oneanta, New York.

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz receives Northampton’s Certificate of Alignment with the Nuclear Ban Treaty, Sept 2019

Recently, New York and Boston acted to support the Treaty.

Here in Rochester, City Councilmember Mitch Gruber has joined the cause.

As seen in NUCLEAR WEAPONS ARE A LOCAL ISSUE, ( on September 23, 2021 Gruber signed a letter signed by over 300 local, county and state officials representing 41 states, calling on President Joe Biden and Congress to reduce and eliminate the threat nuclear weapons pose to their communities and the world.

I would like to see the entire Rochester City Council proclaim to support United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

For more info contact Hank Stone at [email protected] 



The long vigil for peace on the corner of East and Goodman

Conversations on Peace and War at East and Goodman

A pilgrimage of peace from Palmyra to Pittsford

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


  1. Michael Nighan

    Just to keep the issiue of the reduction of nuclear arms in perspective, “As of September 2020, the U.S. stockpile of nuclear warheads consisted of 3,750 warheads. This number represents an approximate 88 percent reduction in the stockpile from its maximum (31,255) at the end of fiscal year 1967, and an approximate 83 percent reduction from its level (22,217) when the Berlin Wall fell in late 1989.” –


      The reduction of nuclear weapons since the Cold War is a very hopeful sign. I don’t think we are going back to any kind of Cold War footing with Russia or China. Nonetheless, groups like the vigil for peace do good work by every week reminding us of the danger of nuclear war. There are so many fearful scenarios across the world in which a nuclear exchange could actually happen.


Like what you see on our site? We’d appreciate your support. Please donate today.

Featured Posts


%d bloggers like this: