What is the Ribbon International?

The Ribbon is made up of countless panels of cloth each showing peoples desire for disarmament, a healthy environment or for peace. The original theme of the Ribbon "What I cannot bear to think of as lost forever in a nuclear war." The concept originated with Justine Merritt in 1982 while living in Denver, CO. She requested friends and relatives to create their representations of cloth segments using sewing, painting or any other suitable medium. The panels measured three feet by one and a half feet with a tie on each corner so that they could easily be joined together. The idea spread rapidly through places of worship, schools and organizations. The first Ribbon events were held in the United States and Japan. They culminated on August 4, 1985 commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the nuclear bombing at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On that day eighteen miles of Ribbon panels were joined together in Wash., D.C. and in Hiroshima the A-Bomb Memorial Dome was encircled with Ribbons. Since then the Ribbon has become an ongoing project in countries around the world.

The Ribbon

The Ribbon

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Some events and photos from 2015
Peace Gathering to Commemorate the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki


             Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki with peace walk and prayer to Fr. Demo Square, NY

                                                      Beijing 20 UN Women's March
             Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up For Gender Equality and Women's Rights

Ribbons are displayed annually and the Interfaith Prayer for peace is read
for the International Day of Peace (9/21)
at the Band Shell, Central Park, NYC

                             An all day event in Central Park for the International Day of Peace.
Below, recently found, NYT's Editorial Aug. 29, 1985
                       Ribbon created by women from Women's Center of Huntington, NY.   
                       Photo from left to right, Michele Peppers, Barbara Gathard, Viginia Backus
                       at the Pentagon Ribbon joining, Aug. 4, 1985.
Text of the article:  Wrapping Washington in a Ribbon of Love
To the Editor: 
     Having participated in "The Ribbon" surrounding the Pentagon, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Capitol on Aug. 4, I wish to correct your news article of Aug. 5, reporting only that a symbolic ribbon protested nuclear arms.
      You missed the theme for the ribbon segments (an idea started by Justine Merritt of Colorado), which was "what you cannot bear to think of as lost forever in a nuclear war."  There were segments displaying peace symbols and scripture, but to mention just those did a disservice to all who lovingly drew, stitched, quilted, embroidered, etc., what each holds dear.  More than a protest of nuclear arms, it was a celebration of life!
       In addition to the groups sponsored by religious and peace organizations there were many thousands who came just as individuals.  We honored our diversity and celebrated our unity!
                                         Virginia M. Backus, Melville, L.I., Aug. 6, 1985


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

On February 10, 2000, Ribbons were given to each Congress member for the International Year for the Culture of Peace, 2000 and the Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World Decade, 2001-1010.  Ribbon panels were gift wrapped and randomly given out to each office.  Representatives from The Ribbon International committee, Betty Bumpers, Peace Links and others from the Peace Caucus distributed the panels to each office.  Following are the letters received from the Ribbon gift giving and the information enclosed with each panel.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A gathering of NGO's in support of the first round of 150,000 signatures to be given to the UN Secretary General's office for the UN to oversee the dismantling of Fukishima Unit 4. Unit 4 severely damaged, highly vulnerable to continuing earthquakes and is scheduled to begin removal in mid-November. (www.nukefree.org) "At Fukushima Unit 4, the impending removal of hugely radioactive spent fuel rods from a pool 100 feet in the air presents unparalleled scientific and engineering challenges. With the potential for 15,000 times more fallout than was released at Hiroshima, we ask the world community, through the United Nations, to take control of this uniquely perilous task." www.nukefree.org

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Ribbon in South Africa

In the summer of 2012, youth representative Gina Leow traveled to Cape Town, South Africa as part of a volunteer program for the International YCMA. While there, she spread the message of the Ribbon which is similar to the South African philosophy of Ubuntu. According to Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his book No Future Without Forgiveness, "A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed." This resonates with the mission of The Ribbon International in that the ribbons, which celebrate the beauty and importance of life, are symbolically tied together to represent all of humanity in protecting Earth's life. Here are a few pictures from the trip:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

International Peace Day

On September 21st, 2013 The Ribbon International celebrated International Peace Day along with the Peace Museum and other organizations at the Central Park 72nd Street Bandshell. We joined Ribbons on stage with the Interfaith Prayer for Peace and received positive responses for the activities we participated in at the event.

From Hiroshima to Fukushima - The Nuclear Threat Continues

The Ribbon International walked with Pax Christi and other organizations in NYC on Sunday, August 4th, 2013 to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with a memorial prayer, discussion about the continuing nuclear dangers, and a silent procession with signs on a march towards Father Demo Square. The Ribbon International's Youth Representative, Gina Leow, is carrying a red Ribbon entitled "No More Nuclear War" that was created by an American young adult. The full video of the event can be seen here

First DPINGO Youth Led Briefing

First DPINGO Youth-Led Briefing entitled “Raising and Empowering Youth to Break the Cycle of Violence Against Women and Children” took place on Monday, March 25th, 2013 at the United Nations Headquarters. DPINGO youth representatives from various associated NGOs planned the briefing to address this year's 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) priority theme: Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. Youth representatives wanted to both promote inter-generational efforts and address the vital role that youths need to play in actively combating gender-based violence. This briefing addressed four aspects of the issue of violence: domestic and sexual violence; gender-based discrimination, existing socioeconomic circumstances and current legislation in force. Moderators: Maria-Luisa Chavez: Chief, NGO Relations, Department of Public Information Gina Leow: Youth Representative, The Ribbon International Speakers: Ahmad Alhendawi: United Nations Secretary-General’s first Envoy on Youth Quentin Walcott: Co-Executive Director, ConnectNYC Brigitte A. Watson: Equality Works Program Coordinator; Education Law Committee Youth Presenters: Katrina Martinez: Youth Representative, Association for Trauma Outreach & Prevention Kamila Jacob: Youth Representative, Unitarian Universalist United Nation Office Tevia Clarke: Youth Representative, New York Association for American-Russian Relations The video can be seen here:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

No More Fukushimas Peace Walk

On March 8th, 2012, the Ribbon International attended the No More Fukushimas Peace Walk which descended from Zucotti Park up to the George Washington Bridge. It marks one year after the nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Facility, in which tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes, causing multiple cases of health problems throughout the region. The event also endorses the closing of the Indian Point Power Plant in Buchanan, NY.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Legacy and a Light

Dec. 1-3, 2011, "A Legacy and a Light," 70th Anniversary of Church Women United Conference held in Atlantic City, NJ (where their first conference was held). Display tables of Ribbons from Colorado, other photo - each state CWU President brought a Ribbon and joined them together. The Interfaith Prayer for Peace was read by Martha DeWarf during the opening ceremony. Over 500 women from all over the US attended the multi-faith conference.

64th Annual United Nations Department of Information Non-Governmental Organizations Conference

The Ribbon International exhibit table with youth volunteers and representatives at "The 64th Annual United Nations Department of Information Non-Governmental Organizations Conference." 3-5 September, 2011; Bonn, Germany.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Ribbons created for Scooter's third annual Freedom from Gun Violence Peacewalk in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, (2010):

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Robert Muller

Robert Muller, 1923-2010
UCC Peace Making Day - Oakland, CA, Ribbon display
Former Under Secretary of the UN and Founder of the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica.
Dr. Robert Muller was a great advocate for peace organizations, including the Ribbon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Respect Diversity Symbol Exhibit Gala

You are cordially invited to attend:

The Tenth Annual Respect Diversity Symbol Exhibit Gala

at Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly Omniplex).

Enjoy colorful collaborations by thousands of students throughout the state of Oklahoma who are exploring diversity through the arts.

Science Museum Oklahoma

2100 N.E. 52nd Street, Oklahoma City, OK

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Program: 5:00 p.m. in the Eleanor Maurer Theatre

Exhibit will follow: One of the displays, “Ribbons of Tangible Hope,” is a three dimensional hanging art installation filled with banners created by students and other community members with messages of peace and hope. Information about this and all displays for the Respect Diversity Symbol Exhibit will be posted.

Presentations will be made by State Superintendent Sandy Garrett and Children’s Theatre Director Lyn Adams for winning entries in the state wide Respect Diversity Art & Poetry Contest.

Teachers who register early will receive

Multicultural Professional Development Points.

Desserts by Starbucks and friends!

To be placed on the guest list and
to be admitted free of charge

R.S.V.P. 359-0369 or rdfrdf@cox.net

The Respect Diversity Symbol Exhibit will be open from March 11 through May.

To learn about projects of the Respect Diversity Foundation visit: www.respectdiversity.org; write to: rdfrdf@cox.net or call: 405/359-0369.

Sponsored in part by Science Museum OK, Loves, MetroFamily Magazine, Oklahoma Natural Gas, The Grateful Bean, Christian Mohamed Goldberg, Walmart Stores, the Jewish Foundation, ICelebrateDiversity.com and the Respect Diversity Foundation.

Created for the United Nations Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non Violence for the Children of the World (2001 - 2010)