The Marshallese Educational Initiative is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization located in Springdale, Arkansas, where the highest concentration of Marshallese in the continental United States reside. We were founded in July 2013 by non-Marshallese educators and Marshallese community members to raise awareness of Marshallese history and culture and facilitate dialogue by blending academic research with community outreach. Raising awareness of the nuclear legacy and its ongoing biological, ecological, and cultural consequences has been at the forefront of our work.
Our first event, Nuclear Remembrance Day, 2014: Reflect, Honor, Educate, was held at the Clinton Presidential Library on the 60th anniversary of the Bravo detonation on Bikini Atoll. Since then we have hosted Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day events and hosted panels and workshops about the Nuclear Legacy's impact. We emphasize the importance of the nuclear legacy in our classes and trainings to non-Marshallese groups and agencies so that they may better serve Marshallese clients. We also focus educational work with Marshallese youth, who, growing up in the United States, have not been taught about the nuclear testing in their homelands and its ongoing consequences and links to their families' migration to the US. We use art as activism to reach youth and to amplify Marshallese youths' voices.
MEI staff have participated in national and international events and conferences, including events at the United Nations regarding the TPNW and NPT.
A Ploughshares Equity Rises grant recipient for our Youth for Nuclear Justice project, MEI is currently working with Reverse the Trend and Pacific youth to raise awareness of the TPNW, and are conducting workshops with Marshallese Fellows to educate and amplify Marshallese youth voices.
We are also actively engaged with the Nuclear Truth Project and Global Zero and collaborate with affected communities from Kazakhstan, Kiribati, and First Nations peoples.
Since 2022, MEI's Executive Director Benetick Kabua Maddison has participated in several conferences and events in New York City, Vienna, and Geneva to bring awareness of the impact of US nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands and climate change, including addressing the United Nations General Assembly.
With the support of ICAN, MEI's Program Manager Marcina Langrine gave the joint youth statement regarding the TPNW at the First Meeting of the States' Parties in Vienna.
MEI exhibited paintings by Marshallese youth in Arkansas in NYC's Times Square to educate the public about the nuclear legacy and climate change as part of Amnesia Atomica.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLABORATION
We welcome nuclear non-proliferation organizations to work with us and the Marshallese community to advance awareness and education about the US-Marshallese nuclear legacy and to encourage the US government to not only recognize the ongoing consequences on Marshallese bodies and lands, but to provide fair compensation and keep promises made to the Marshallese people during the testing period.
We also welcome partnerships with other affected community groups across the globe, particularly indigenous groups in the US, in Japan and the greater Pacific, and in Kazakhstan to expand our work and educate our youth.