Peace group seeks participants for rally against nuclear weapons Sunday in New York City

Last modified: Wednesday, April 22, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Local peace activists will board a New York City-bound bus Sunday to take part in a rally against nuclear weapons on the occasion of a United Nations session on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Jeff Napolitano, organizer with the Western Massachusetts American Friends Service Committee, said he hopes to see every seat on that bus filled.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference brings together countries every five years, and the Peace and Planet International Festival aims to bring attention to the call for the abolition of nuclear weapons, Napolitano said.

“Nuclear weapons do not have the cache that it did in the 1980s, but the irony is that it’s a bigger threat now than it was then,” he said.

A larger number of countries — including “rogue” nations — possess nuclear weapons, making the treaty more important than ever.

Sunday’s march and rally is organized by a coalition of groups, including the national AFSC.

So far, 28 of the 55 seats on the bus have been reserved, and Napolitano said it is not too late to sign up for the trip. The bus departs from Amherst at 7 a.m. Sunday and Northampton at 7:30 before making a stop in Springfield on the way to New York, he said.

Napolitano admitted the timing of the march is not the best for many in the area. “It’s the worst time in the Valley for students to get on the bus,” he said.

But the focus of the march, in his mind, continues to be imperative.

The march and rally follows the International Peace & Planet Conference that runs Friday night and all day Saturday, where local activist Jo Comerford, campaign director for, will be among the presenters.

The International Peace & Planet Conference, held before the NPT Review Conference, aims to promote themes of abolishing nuclear weapons, cutting military spending, climate change and environmental justice, global military tensions and wars and racism and militarism. It includes keynote talks and workshops.

Tickets for Sunday’s round-trip bus are $30 per person, and $15 for students and others with low incomes. The bus departs from Haigis Mall at the University of Massachusetts at 7 a.m., and then from the parking lot of the Daily Hampshire Gazette on Conz Street at 7:30 a.m. before heading to Springfield to a pickup spot to be determined.

It is expected to return around 8 p.m. Sunday.

To reserve a seat on the bus, visit the local AFSC website at to find a sign-up form, call the office at 584-8975, or email


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