The U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Enters Into Force January 22, 2021

Majority of the world’s nations implement a landmark global agreement to ban nuclear weapons

“On 7 July 2017 – following a decade of advocacy by ICAN and its partners – an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations adopted a landmark global agreement to ban nuclear weapons, known officially as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. On 22 January 2021, the treaty will enter into force.

Prior to the treaty’s adoption, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a comprehensive ban, despite their catastrophic, widespread and persistent humanitarian and environmental consequences. The new agreement fills a significant gap in international law.

It prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.

A nation that possesses nuclear weapons may join the treaty, so long as it agrees to destroy them in accordance with a legally binding, time-bound plan. Similarly, a nation that hosts another nation’s nuclear weapons on its territory may join, so long as it agrees to remove them by a specified deadline.

Nations are obliged to provide assistance to all victims of the use and testing of nuclear weapons and to take measures for the remediation of contaminated environments. The preamble acknowledges the harm suffered as a result of nuclear weapons, including the disproportionate impact on women and girls, and on indigenous peoples around the world.

The treaty was negotiated at the United Nations headquarters in New York in March, June and July 2017, with the participation of more than 135 nations, as well as members of civil society. It opened for signature on 20 September 2017. It is permanent in nature and will be legally binding on those nations that join it.

–International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN),

Join Howard County Peace Action in our efforts to promote the Back from the Brink campaign and a Howard County Resolution to support the efforts to change key policies and funding for nuclear weapons and work toward the elimination of nuclear weapons in the United States and around the world.

Join the COUNT EVERY VOTE! MARYLAND Campaign: Help Ensure a Peaceful and Legitimate Election

By Erinn Camp Mansour

I have been a student of American history, government, and political science for more than forty years and I never really thought that our country would face a serious challenge to the peaceful transition of power between presidents, until now. In my lifetime there have been many closely contested presidential elections, which included winners who lacked the majority of the popular votes cast, but the election that is currently underway and will conclude on November 3, 2020, seems to be on track to be one of the worst presidential transitions in American history.

Regardless of the candidate who ultimately wins the election, the difficulties of conducting a national election during a pandemic and the current president’s allegations about the integrity of our voting systems have set the stage for a protracted period of contentious debate about the presidential transition. More alarming still is the associated potential for violence.

As the Coordinator of Howard County Peace Action, as a citizen of this great state and nation, and as a mother, I ask you to join us in our commitment to work together to maintain the peace during this difficult transition period, regardless of the outcome. Ensuring a legitimate election and the subsequent peaceful continuation or transfer of presidential power must be our first priority and shared goal.

Please make the commitment yourself to join the COUNT EVERY VOTE! MARYLAND campaign and encourage your elected officials to promise to:

  1. Vote and publicly encourage constituents to vote.
  2. Insist on counting of all lawful ballots under applicable state law before agreeing that election results are legitimate.
  3. Inform constituents that he or she will take all measures available to contest any results that do not include the counting of all lawful votes.
  4. Publicly support people who peaceably demonstrate in favor of all votes being counted.
  5. Insist on a peaceful transfer of power if a complete and legal vote count requires it.

In addition, please consider becoming a member of Howard County Peace Action and/or make a donation to support this and other efforts to promote peace. Details about peaceful gatherings in support of our democracy in the coming weeks, like the November 4, 2020, COUNT EVERY VOTE! BALTIMORE event from 4pm-5pm, appear on our Events page.

If election results indicate that a transfer of power and change in administration are required, the presidential transition period between election day and the inauguration will be a dangerous time for our country and the world. Even under normal circumstances a presidential transfer can create opportunities for errors and missteps that can have catastrophic consequences in terms of public health, foreign policy, military action, and nuclear weapons. You can help reduce some of these risks by joining our Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War campaign. We can act on a local level with our County Council here in Howard County to encourage sensible changes to our nuclear weapons policy that will make us safer and ensure our tax dollars and limited resources are used for productive rather than destructive purposes.

NOTE: If you are interested in reading more about the historical context and analysis of our current transition of presidential power, I encourage you to read Election 2020: A Perilous Presidential Handoff, published September 24, 2020, in Foreign Policy magazine.

Forward Maryland Interviews HCPA Coordinator about Nuclear Weapons Policy 8/9/2020

Howard County Peace Action Coordinator Erinn Camp Mansour talks to William Woodcock and Jason Booms for their podcast Forward Maryland on August 9, 2020, about the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and nuclear weapons policy.

To listen to the podcast audio only for this interview (rather than watching the Facebook streaming video interview) you can go to the Forward Maryland podcast, use your podcast app, or click here.

75th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Events to Learn and Remember

Seventy-five years ago today on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first nuclear weapon on the city of Hiroshima. Three days later, August 9, 1945, the US dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki. These bombs killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, immediately and from injuries and radiation exposure by the end of that year, most of them civilians.
Please consider attending one of many virtual and/or in-person events honoring the lives lost and learning about what happened and what you can do now to help ensure that this never happens again. You can be part of the solution!
  • Information: Learn about the problem. Don’t get overwhelmed! Together, we can make a difference.
  • Involvement: Discuss and share what you learn with your friends; join or form a group.
  • Ideas: Identify effective solutions.
  • Influence: Ask questions and challenge your elected leaders to take action.

We hope you will take some time to learn about the Back from the Brink campaign and our efforts to pass a supportive resolution here in Howard County. We also work closely with Maryland Peace Action, so please go to this website for detailed information on the issues, legislation, alerts, events, and additional learning opportunities of particular concern or interest to Marylanders.

You can also learn more, get involved, and take action by supporting Howard County Peace Action! You can become a member, or simply share your thoughts, through our Contact page. You can also support our efforts simply by joining and following us on our Facebook page.

New Howard County Peace Action Coordinator

HCPA News: October 7, 2019

Dear friends,

I have been proud to serve as the coordinator of Howard County Peace Action for a number of years.  Even though I am now stepping aside from this role, I will continue to be active in Peace Action and in the peace movement. I will devote more of my new-found organizing time to for this is one of the most dire and pressing issues of our time.  (I hope that you will check out this website and consider supporting this crucial group.)

Luckily, as you can see, we are fortunate to have found a well qualified and energetic organizer in Erinn Camp Mansour to take over the duties of coordinator of Howard County Peace Action:

Erinn is a dedicated peace activist, advocate, educator, and community leader. She has more than 25 years experience promoting democracy, education, human rights, interfaith cooperation, conflict resolution, and peace building. She completed her Master of Public Policy degree in International Security & Economic Policy and received a Certificate in Intelligence Analysis from the University of Maryland, School of Public Policy, in College Park. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, with a second major in Russian Language, from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Over the years, she has worked as a legal assistant, legislative aide, instructional designer, trainer, management consultant, program manager, parent, and activist to promote democracy, peace, and education.

Erinn works with government and non-government organizations, people of faith, members of the peace-building community, local groups, and leaders in our community to increase awareness of threats to peace, promote community engagement, and work toward constructive solutions. She has lived in Howard County for nearly 20 years, is a lifelong Marylander, and is a mother of three young people attending Howard County public schools.  Erinn is deeply concerned about the threats posed by war, violence, environmental degradation, forced migration, and nuclear weapons. She is dedicated to protecting our community from these real and ominous threats. Erinn knows that working with Howard County Peace Action is an excellent way to build a more peaceful world!

I hope you will join me in welcoming Erinn as our new Howard County Peace Action Coordinator!

In solidarity,

Steve Buff

Peace Action: Talking Points that Oppose Trump’s Statement today on Iraq

Gabe Murphy

Communications Associate
Peace Action and the Peace Action Education Fund
Work: (800) 949-9020 ext 133
Cell: (510) 501-3345
Twitter: @GabeRMurphy

Iran Deal Messaging Beyond the Basics:


1. The Iran nuclear agreement is working and making us safer. Thanks to the agreement, all of Iran’s potential pathways to obtaining nuclear weapons remain blocked.

2. Political motivations, not national security interests, are driving President Trump’s policies on Iran.

3. Walking away from the agreement would increase the risk of confrontation with Iran.

4. Walking away from the agreement would damage America’s credibility on the world stage, and undermine prospects for negotiating with North Korea or other countries.


1. The Iran nuclear agreement is working and making us safer. Thanks to the agreement, all of Iran’s potential pathways to obtaining nuclear weapons remain blocked.

A. Under the agreement, Iran forfeited 98 percent of its enriched uranium, decommissioned two-thirds of its centrifuges, poured cement into the core of its Arak reactor and took other actions that moved its breakout time — the amount of time it would take to produce enough uranium for one crude nuclear weapon — from 2-3 months to at least a year.

B. The Iran agreement includes one of the most robust inspection and verification regimes in history, utilizing technology to verify Iran’s compliance and granting the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear facilities.

C. The IAEA [1], the European Union [2], over 80 nuclear policy experts [3], Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford [4] and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis [5] have all said Iran is adhering to the terms of the agreement.

2. Political motivations, not national security interests, are driving President Trump’s policies on Iran.

A. During the election, Trump scored easy political points with his base by railing against one of President Obama’s key foreign policy achievements.

B. President Trump has expressed a desire to decertify Iran’s compliance with the agreement regardless of whether there is material evidence to support such a claim.

C. President Trump’s own Secretary of Defense has said he believes the Iran agreement is in America’s national security interest, yet the president still appears intent on scrapping the deal.

3. Walking away from the agreement would increase the risk of confrontation with Iran.

A. Walking away from the agreement would remove all the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, and end the international community’s access to Iran’s nuclear facilities.

B. If the agreement collapses, Iran will likely resume enriching higher levels of uranium, which would put war with Iran back on the table as one way, albeit an incredibly dangerous and ill-advised way, to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

C. War with Iran would be catastrophic, costing countless lives and taxpayer dollars and destabilizing yet another country in the region, or worse, causing a regional war.

4. Walking away from the agreement would damage America’s credibility on the world stage and undermine prospects for negotiating with North Korea or other countries.

A. If the administration de-certifies Iran without cause or takes other steps to undermine the agreement, that will send a signal across the world that the U.S. cannot be trusted to live up to its international commitments.

B. If Congress reenacts sanctions on Iran without evidence of a material violation, that could spell doom for efforts to negotiate with North Korea, which is the only viable option for deescalating tensions and curbing North Korea’s nuclear program.

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Howard County Peace Action

Howard County Peace Action is a new chapter affiliated with Peace Action, the largest grass-roots peace organization in the country. Based in Columbia, Maryland, it is part of Maryland Peace Action along with sister chapters, Peace Action Montgomery ( and Anne Arundel Peace Action (


Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

We take as our touchstone this expression of Einstein’s:

“May the conscience and the commonsense of the peoples be awakened, so that we may reach a new stage in the life of nations, where people will look back on war as an incomprehensible aberration of their forefathers.”

These words, spoken by a truly brilliant, great and compassionate man, whose wisdom  extended to human affairs, suggest that in the future humankind would view war not as inevitable but, indeed, as a horrible anomaly.  Our nation and the peoples of the world must take a very different path, and we wish to contribute, as best we can, to this noble cause.

Our recent activities 

Howard County Peace Action grew out of the Howard County Coalition for Peace and Justice, (HCCPJ) a local and active group formed to protest the first Gulf War.

We changed our name and broadened our affiliation in June of 2012. We voted to join national Peace Action to help do our part to:

  • Eliminate the threat of nuclear war
  • Foster the use of diplomacy over military force
  • Convert a defense-based economy to one that meets domestic needs (and helps pay for reversing climate change)
  • Share the resources, dynamism and stimulation of a national office (established over 50 years ago!) as well as our sister chapters.

In the last few years, we have:

  • Opposed efforts by legislators to undermine ongoing multilateral negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program;
  • Supported the control of Iran’s nuclear program through negotiation
  • Lobbied our federal representatives and held a vigil to prevent a U.S. attack on Syria and re-engagement in Iraq;
  • Protested the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, P.M. Netanyahu’s speech before Congress, and called for a two-State solution;
  • Lobbied representatives in Annapolis and Washington on behalf of Fund Our Communities: Not the Pentagon for economic conversion to prevent domestic cuts and increase defense cuts;
  • Lobbied representatives in Howard County and Annapolis to reform or eliminate solitary confinement in State prisons;
  • Worked to Get the Money Out (of politics) – Maryland Chapter;
  • Supported imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning;
  • Invited these speakers: Phyllis Bennis, a well-known Middle East expert; Mel Goodman, author of National Insecurity; and Kevin Martin, the Peace Action Executive Director.

Campaigns & Action! 



Campaign: Diplomacy with Iran  This was a hard-fought struggle and our most successful and significant recent campaign.  Peace Action, as part of a broad coalition of peace groups, supported negotiation with Iran over war (with six nations) on a comprehensive nuclear deal.  The Iranians have made good on their side of the agreement: sending over 8.5 tons of enriched uranium to Russia so Iran can’t use that in bomb-making, disabled more than 12,000 centrifuges and poured concrete into the core of a reactor at Arak designed to produce plutonium.  As President Obama said, we have”cut off every single single path Iran could have used to build a bomb” and noted that engagement with Iran has created a “window to try to resolve important issues.”  The New York Times wrote in an editorial on January 17, 2016,  “The world is now safer for this.”

We told our Democratic representatives not to help Republicans torpedo the Iran deal! Our position was: Let diplomacy take its course!  Click on:

Campaign: Fund our Communities: Not the Pentagon.  This campaign intends to redirect obscene Pentagon overspending toward socially useful purposes and pressing national needs, especially to minimize climate change, as the photo, above, portrays. You may ask, where will we get the money for combatting such ills as climate change, inequality and racism, rotting infrastructure and poor education? It is an aim of Peace Action and Fund our Communities to at least get the enormous down payment for such items by redirecting the priorities of the military budget.

The campaign — to bring about a national process of economic conversion — is waged by many Peace Action affiliates, including HCPA, and especially by Peace Action Montgomery In Maryland alone, we had a 62-organization coalition pushing for it, including the AFL-CIO and the NAACP. The feasibility of economic conversation has decades of research behind it. See Institute for Policy Studies:

On a national level, we work with the National Priorities Project, a Nobel Prize nominee, that provides an analytical overview of the Federal budget and educational leadership on national priorities. We are talking about military bloat–unneeded equipment, war planes and ships, and over 1000 military bases abroad! The US. “Defense” Department budget accounts for 54% of all federal discretionary spending. That’s larger than the next seven largest military budgets around the world combined! This defies commonsense and as Einstein said, “…may the commonsense of the peoples be awakened…”

Help shrink the Pentagon!   Click here:

  • Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World  In 2007, 46 organizations joined forces to create the Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World to promote practical steps today to free the world from nuclear weapons tomorrow.  There are now more than 150 organizations that have joined this coalition. The coalition calls on Congress and President Obama to make a world free of nuclear weapons an urgent priority, and to demonstrate U.S. leadership by taking steps to realize this goal.Here is a promising and hopeful campaign. They need our help!Learn more:

Important links and resources:

Join Us!    —