Reading Room

A Very Special Speaker is Coming to Tri-Valley CAREs

On Thursday, September 5, Tri-Valley CAREs is honored to present a talk and discussion with Professor Robert Jacobs of Hiroshima University.

Professor Jacobs, who prefers to be called by his nickname, Bo, is one of the most insightful researchers and inspiring speakers with whom we have had the pleasure of working. Bo will discuss his work on the "Global Hibakusha Project," which examines the legacy of radiation exposures at nuclear testing and other radiation-impacted sites throughout the world. Following his talk, there will be an opportunity to write a letter to the editor of your favorite newspaper, using any of the themes from Bo's talk - or one of your choosing.

Please arrive at 5:15 PM on September 5 for light dinner foods and seating for Bo's talk and a discussion of his work, which will begin at 5:30 PM, at 2582 Old First Street, Livermore, CA 94551. Your RSVP to (925) 443-7148 or would be much appreciated but is not required. At 6:30 PM, for those who choose to stay, there will be a short briefing on writing letters to the editor and an opportunity to craft yours in a helpful, friendly environment.

We asked Bo to provide some background for you in advance. Here is Professor Jacobs: "I have been running a research project based here at the Hiroshima Peace Institute of Hiroshima City University for a few years called the Global Hibakusha Project. The project began as an examination of the social and cultural legacies of radiation exposures in communities and families, and the inheritance of this history. Our work has primarily been at nuclear weapon test sites, but also includes nuclear weapon production sites, and nuclear power plant accidents and production sites.

However, as our work on the ground in communities began we realized how deeply connected this history is to colonialism and post-colonialism. Many of the community members, especially in nuclear test site communities, felt that scholars and journalists were the last wave of this colonialism, we export stories and oral histories. So we began to focus on how we could bring resources to communities rather than remove resources. Beyond that we asked what we could do to assist the hibakusha (survivor) communities, and in almost every case the answer was to help them find ways of engaging the younger generations with this history and heritage.

So our project began to change. We are training young people to conduct oral histories with community elders using cell phones (since most test site communities remain impoverished) and to produce cultural works based on community history (art, music, etc.) that they would like shared with young people from other test site communities. Our hope is that through these linkages many of the next generation from hibakusha communities will come of age with friends, contacts and resources in other similarly effected communities.