It’s been 70 years since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, and UCF’s Global Zero chapter has organized an event at UCF to commemorate the day and take a stand against nuclear weapons.
This Sunday at 11 a.m., Global Zero, an international movement for the elimination of all nuclear weapons, will hold a biking event around Gemini Boulevard to raise awareness of the disastrous effects of nuclear weapons.
The bike route for the event, Bike Around the Bomb, symbolizes the approximate air-blast radius of the Japan bombing had it been dropped on top of UCF’s Student Union.
Global Zero is organizing events around the world this weekend, where groups will hike, bike and tour around circumferences the bomb blast would have covered, according to the organization’s website.
Sophomore Veronica Rios, one of the 50 Global Zero leaders and the representative for UCF, said the event is taking place to bring to light the devastation a nuclear bomb can actually have. It will simulate the 100 percent death zone that would have occurred if the atomic bomb were dropped on campus.
“When you look at the effect even a small bomb would have — nearly completely leveling UCF, for example, and spraying radiation into the nearby area — it becomes so much more real and, thus, something people want to fight against,” said Rios, a political science and international and global studies major.
Although this is the first time the event will be held at UCF, this will be Rios’ second year participating in Bike Around the Bomb.
Since she became a member of Global Zero in March, Rios said she has been working with the organization on a grassroots level to spread its message of eliminating nuclear weapons by 2030.
Rios said she chose the Center for Peace, the Orlando Quaker community and Velo Creek Bike and Brew to join Global Zero in the event because they have all had a history of activism in the Orlando community.
Bassem Chaaban, director for the Center for Peace, said his organization started right after 9/11 as a way to focus on building a better understanding of tragic events in the community. Its focus on social engagement issues inspired Rios to reach out to the organization.
“We were approached by Veronica to participate in the event as a community organization related to some of our work that we’ve done in bringing awareness to the history of nuclear proliferation,” Chaaban said. “We will definitely try to promote the event and be out there.”
The event will start in front of UCF’s Visual Arts Building, and participants will cycle around what would be the edge of a small nuclear blast that would completely level UCF, as stated on the event’s Facebook page. It will also “call on President Obama to keep his promise to ‘seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.’”
Bike Around the Bomb is free for anyone interested in participating, and the first 15 attendees will get a free T-shirt. There will be water, granola bars and extra bikes for people to help bikers lap Gemini Boulevard at least once.
“I am involved in this movement because I want humanity to get along so that we can become everything we should be,” Rios said. “I’ll do it one bike ride at a time if necessary.”
Rachel Stuart is the News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @RachSage or email her at RachelS@CentralFloridaFuture.com.