Hope in the Nuclear Age

The uncertainties of the nuclear age have motivated two Massachusetts teens and their art teacher to tour the U.S. with a hope of inspiring people to work for peace.

| September/October 1984

nuclear age - burning planet Earth in a black void

The nuclear age doesn't have to end this way.

Illustration by Fotolia/Leo Blanchette

Last January, Maya Gillingham, Jody Lester, and John Burt embarked on an eight-week tour that gave some 3,600 students across the country an opportunity to share their feelings about growing up in a nuclear age. The three are members of Changing the Silence, a group affiliated with the Student Teacher Organization to Prevent Nuclear War (STOP).

Maya and Jody, teenage students from Massachusetts, along with John, an independent arts producer, took their program of drama, dance, and song to young people in nine U.S. cities. Included in the program was a videotape of Massachusetts high school students performing a dramatic piece of their own creation. The intention of the tour — which developed from a "mere summer thought indulged in by a few people" — was to communicate hope to a nuclear-anxious generation and to inspire people to work toward peace.

The presentation of the touring trio and the discussions of war and peace that followed evoked varied responses from the young people involved. But for many, the experience brought home the need to "change the silence." As one student commented, "It is our future we are talking about ...and our responsibility to protect it."

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