30 nuke-free zone years

The city has been “nuke-free” for three decades. Time to celebrate!

The City of Takoma Park will mark 30 years as a nuclear-free city with an evening-long celebration at the Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium on Saturday, December 14th, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm.


The City of Takoma Park officially withdrew from the global nuclear arms race on December 8, 1983, when the City Council passed an ordinance declaring Takoma Park a nuclear-free zone. Takoma Park has remained a cornerstone of U.S. nuclear-free cities. The December 14 festivities will include presentations by representatives from the Nuclear-Free Takoma Park Committee (NFTPC), Historic Takoma, Beyond Nuclear and Peace Action.

Ever-present threat

“Takoma Park’s well-earned reputation as a nuclear-free city is as important today as it was 30 years ago,” said Jay Levy, long-time committee-member. He said it draws attention to the ever-present threat of nuclear  weapons.

Jay Levy, who will host the evening, said “Takoma Park continues to take the lead among nuclear-free cities in maintaining a high level of awareness about the importance of abolishing humankind’s most deadly and unnecessary invention.”


An anti-nuke demonstration in the Cold-War era when the ordinance was passed. Photo from the Sam Abbott Collection.

Takoma Park became nuclear-free under the leadership of then mayor, Sam Abbott, who will be remembered for his dedication to the issue with a slideshow presentation by his daughter, Nancy Abbott Young. Jay Levy will present the history and achievements of the ordinance. Kevin Martin, executive director of Peace Action which is headquartered in Silver Spring, will discuss the current nuclear weapons climate. Paul Gunter of the Takoma Park-based Beyond Nuclear, and who is also a NFTPC member, will address the nuclear power-nuclear weapons connection.


Artwork by Sam Abbott, “Is Nuclear War Survivable?” It features Edward Teller, “father of the A-Bomb,” in his bomb shelter reading a book entitled, “How to Survive Thermo-Nuclear War.”

A short clip will be shown from the controversial film, Nuclear Savage, about the deliberate experimentation on the Marshall Islanders during and after the U.S. atomic bomb tests in the Pacific. PBS commissioned the film but for two years has refused to air it. The evening will also include performances by local musician, Jesse Palidofsky, and local youth band, Ladle Fight. Takoma Park Poet Laureate, Merrill Leffler, will open the evening with a poem.


Among its mandates, the Takoma Park ordinance prohibits the City from purchasing or leasing any products from a nuclear weapons producer or from granting any awards or contracts with such companies. It is regulated and informed by a citizen committee appointed by the Council, the Nuclear-Free Takoma Park Committee.

In addition to prohibiting any business with nuclear weapons manufacturers, the City of Takoma Park also does not purchase any nuclear energy, and buys 100% wind power.

The Takoma Park City Auditorium is located at 7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912

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