Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

November 20, 2017

Dismantling the Nuclear Beast Symposium at UNM Albuquerque, Dec. 1 --3, 2017

Local Anti-Nuke Group Announces Symposium to Dismantle Nuclear Beast
Nuclear Issues Study Group to Hold Symposium at UNM in December to Connect Local Activists with National Movement

By Nuclear Issues Study Group, Albuquerque
Censored News
Media Contacts:
Leona Morgan,
Eileen Shaughnessy,

What: A Symposium called “Dismantling the Nuclear Beast: Connecting Local Work to the National Movement”

Who: Nuclear Issues Study Group, an Albuquerque-based group of students and organizers which has been meeting since 2016 to address nuclear issues statewide

Where: The Hibben Center at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
When: December 1-3, 2017

Why: To protect New Mexico from all things nuclear

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico -- From uranium mining and enrichment to weapons production and nuclear waste storage, we here in New Mexico live quite literally in the “belly of the beast.” The Nuclear Issues Study Group (NISG) is organizing a symposium in
December to make information about nuclearism accessible and to get more people— especially students, young people, and people of color—involved in resisting the nuclear beast. During the symposium, we will do our best to explore and expose every stage of the nuclear fuel chain—past, current, and future—as well as highlight some key threats to New Mexico that NISG is focusing on including: Sandia National Laboratories’ Mixed Waste Landfill and the proposed Centralized “Interim” Storage of high-level radioactive waste from nuclear reactors in the southeastern corner of our state.

The symposium will include presentations, panel discussions, and information tables plus art, poetry and music focusing on all aspects of the nuclear production chain. We are inviting speakers from all over New Mexico and the country to share their stories, their work, and how we can take action to protect our environment and our communities!

“Dismantling the Nuclear Beast: Connecting Local Work to the National Movement”
A Symposium Presented by the Nuclear Issues Study Group
December 1-3, 2017
At the University of New Mexico’s Hibben Center

Confirmed speakers at this time include: Keynote Speaker Verna Teller, Tribal Council member of the Pueblo of Isleta; NISG cofounders Leona Morgan and Eileen Shaughnessy; Kathy Sanchez and Beata Tsosie-Peña of Tewa Women United; Klee Benally, Project Coordinator, Indigenous Action Media; Diane D’Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS); Joni Arends, Executive Director, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety; Sarah M. Fields, Program Director, Uranium Watch; Karen Hadden, Executive Director, Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED); Tina Cordova, cofounder, Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium; Myrriah Gomez, UNM Assistant Professor, Honors College and author of Nuclear Nuevo México; Lindsay Harper, Program and Communications Manager, Georgia WAND (Women’s Action for New Directions); Dave McCoy, Executive Director, Citizen Action New Mexico; Don Hancock, Nuclear Waste Program Director, Southwest Research & Information Center (SRIC); Jay Coghlan, Executive Director, Nuclear Watch New Mexico; Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog at Beyond Nuclear; Thomas Depree, PhD candidate in Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and Western Australian Nuclear-free Alliance via Skype from Australia. More speakers pending.

Confirmed performers include: Eileen & the In-Betweens, Sina Soul, Whisper, Walatowa Massive and Celestino Crow.  

Leona Morgan, cofounder of Nuclear Issues Study Group and Diné No Nukes, said, “The reality of the nuclear industry’s impacts on the environment and all lives is too often covered up and the problems remain unaddressed. Many good people have given their lives for the protection and rights of future generations; but now, especially in this political climate, the anti-nuke movement in this country and internationally is in dire need of change and new energy. We hope to be that change and to inspire new energy!”

Celestino Crow, two-spirit transman advocate, member of NISG, and coordinator of art and poetry for the symposium said, “We can be protectors. We can live without fear of holocaust, destruction and nuclear poison. We can be a self-sustaining people who nurture our environment and each other. Art is capable of creating these admissions for us, when we feel
we do not have a voice. It reaches across man-made borders, laws, and languages. Art can be uniting, fearless, spiritual, and healing.”

Eileen Shaughnessy, cofounder of Nuclear Issues Study Group, lecturer in the University of New Mexico’s Sustainability Studies Program, and singer/songwriter for Eileen & the In-Betweens, said, “Future life on earth depends on our ability to address past and present wrongs caused by the destructiveness of nuclear colonialism. This symposium will give us the tools to do that noble work.”

Cody Slama, a student at the University of New Mexico majoring in Sustainability Studies, said, “We are holding this symposium to address many nuclear issues throughout New Mexico that are having negative impacts on our community. We want people to come to learn and be able to participate in meaningful actions to dismantle the nuclear beast.”

Joel Lorimer, an anti-nuclear activist on and off since the 1970s, said, “The symposium is important to me because it’s a platform for spreading information about the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty. The treaty is the next step toward banning the bomb, building upon treaties which have limited the number of nuclear weapons.”

Graham Unverzagt, a member of the Nuclear Issues Study Group and a graduate of UNM in Geography and Environmental Studies, said, “New Mexico has a long history of nuclear colonialism that has never really been addressed, and I think it’s time that the nuclear movement be centered around those who have been impacted the most. Growing up in Grants, NM, you are always taught about the boom times during the uranium mining, but living there you can see the lasting effect it’s had on the landscape and the people, economically and physically.”

Susan Schuurman, Outreach Coordinator for the Albuquerque Center for Peace & Justice and member of the NISG, said, “The Labs have always been a sacred cow in this state, untouchable and unaccountable. It’s time we convert the mission of the labs from creating weapons of death and mass destruction to creating green jobs and new technologies for cleaning up massive contamination.”

Tina Cordova, Cofounder of The Tularosa Downwinders Consortium, said she is “glad to hear that this symposium is being organized because of the nuclear history that is tied to New Mexico and its implications that the nuclear industry has had on New Mexico since the beginning.”  

For more information about the symposium, please go to

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