Springdale Nonprofit Observes 75th of Marshall Islands Nuclear Weapon Test

The series of events includes panel discussions and a community commemoration.

Castle Bravo mushroom cloud
The U.S. detonated Castle Bravo at Bikini Atoll on the Marshall Islands Mar. 1, 1954. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy.

The United States conducted nearly 70 nuclear tests on Bikini and Enewetak Atolls in the Marshall Islands from 1946 to 1958. The Marshallese Educational Initiative is hosting various events this week marking the 75th anniversary of the first nuclear test on Bikini Atoll.

Springdale is home to one of the largest Marshallese communities outside of the Marshall Islands. Under a Compact of Free Association, Marshall Islanders are given free entry to the U.S. in exchange for military access to their ocean territory.

The Marshallese Educational Initiative is hosting events June 29 to July 1 to address the nuclear legacy between the Marshall Islands and the U.S., and to analyze core issues that have led to health inequities. Organizers say events will also examine the impact of the linked climate crisis on Marshallese bodies and lands, as well as the broader impact of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic on other communities affected by nuclear testing and communities of color. 

The commemoration kicks off this afternoon with Youth Day. Participants will hear from climate and nuclear activists, work on a hands-on art activity and participate in a sharing circle. Tomorrow,  the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is hosting at COVID-19 vaccine clinic from 3 to 6 p.m. at the JTL Library in Springdale. Participants can register in advance, but walk-ins are welcome.

A community commemoration of the 75th anniversary of nuclear testing on the Marshall Islands is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 30 at the Center for Nonprofits at the JTL Shop, which is located at 614 E. Emma Ave. In-person attendance is limited and masks are required. 

MEI will wrap things up July 1 with two facilitated panel discussions that will address inequities in health. The 9:30 a.m. panel will focus on nuclear issues and the 10:45 a.m. discussion will address climate issues affecting people on the nuclear frontline and communities of color. Both will be presented via Zoom.

Our Shared Nuclear Legacy: Assessing Health Impacts & Inequality on the 75th Anniversary of the 1st Nuclear Test is scheduled for June 29-July 1. Virtual and in-person events are planned. Registration and more information is available at www.mei.ngo