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Bikini DayGrace Abon's Speech at March 1 Bikini Day Rally
Good afternoon,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk with you about Rongelap and the issues we are facing today as a result of the nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands.

First let me introduce myself. My name is Grace Abon, daughter of Lemeyo Abon, i am sure some of you are familiar with that name as she is one of the active member of the nuclear survivor and the surviving victim of the nuclear testing conducted on Bikini Atoll on March 1,1954. My mother's childhood experienced as a young girl growing up on a contaminated island is rather seem to be a sad story. The same sad stories you hear from from places with nuclear issues like Japan or Chernobyl. People suffered from cancer diseases, women gave birth to deformed babies, even some women suffered from still birth. Some babies were born handicapped and only manage to lived a short life. We suffered the same fate being displaced and dispersed. People's morality was greatly affected due to the fact that when they were stripped off of their land, they lost their identity and their dignity. Land is the most important part of our culture. 

Having said that, Rongelapese people are family oriented. However when the people sufferred from radiation exposure, they were being discriminated against, and constantly mocked by others ,even their own family . Their family members isolated themselves because they were ashamed to be called "bomb people" or people who suffered from radiation exposure.Many of these so called "bomb people " have already passed away leaving only a few survivors like my mom. My mom and my dad take different medical pills every day per DOE doctors order. I dont want to see that happening to me or the younger generation in the future. We still have a long way to go as we are still struggling .

There is a plan to move the Rongelapese people back to their homeland. The idea of us moving home sound so appealing. Some people want to go back while others still have doubts, i am one of those Who has doubts. This would be the third time for the people to move back . What make this movement different from the last two ?

Only a tiny parcel of land has been cleaned, about 200 acres. When the people of Rongelap evacuated in 1985, the population was around 300 but has increased dramatically in the last 26 years. These people who are willing to move back will definately force to eat of off the land that has not been decontaminated. The food aid we recieve will not be enough, even we are still faced with food shortages. We will surely rely on the local food as well. I do want the U.S to reconsider whether moving us back is safe. I want Department of Energy to tell us the local foods are 100 percent radiation free. Before i left Marshall Islands my mom said to me, go and never ask for pity because its a sign of weakness . Go raise your voice and tell the world we will not give up the fight to seek justice, and we will continue stand behind Gensekyo in the fight against nuclear.