B4 Peace Initiative
B4 Peace Community Projects
“Peace is not just the absence of war and violence, but the presence of love” – Namaya
GRACE Cares believes it is important to promote arts and educations projects that develop individual and community awareness on the importance of peace starting within each individual. We help communities look at how they can bring peace to their lives through daily acts of kindness. Many communities, including one’s GRACE is working in already, are being affected by violence. We have joined with Namaya Productions and formed the B4 Peace Initiative to hold art installations, performances and peace art workshops. Below are some of the projects we sponsoring and looking for donations and volunteers:
91 cents of every $1 donation goes directly to programs:
- $50 can educate a child for 3 months
- $100 can support health education for a whole community for 1 month
- $250 can provide water filters for 10 families
- $500 can save trees by supporting efficient stoves for 10 families
B4 Peace Initiative Ongoing: Peace Art Gallery – Coming to a place near you.
B4 Peace Art Gallery
We have created the portable B4 peace art gallery, which you can host. Invite us to come to your community. We have indoor and outdoor exhibits for museums, gallery walks, church lawns, museums, building lobbies or airports. The B4 Peace Art Gallery is made up of projects such as the Inevitability of Peace, the Heroes of Peace Tower, Pentagon Man, the Witness of Genocide, the 100 Flowers of Peace banners, and many more. Further information and photos can be found on b4peace.net.
The Inevitability of Peace is a pyramid containing a three hundred pound block of ice being melted by a single candle. It shows how persistent work for peace can dissolve hatred and war.
Pentagon Man is a graphic representation of the military industrial contractors and the wealth that they garner from the military industrial system. It is about how corporations such as Halliburton, Bethel, and United Technologies, cost between 21-25% of the GDP, and how the Pentagon budget is actually being used.
The 100 Flowers of Peace project includes the creation and exhibition of the 100 Flowers peace banners and of peace arts workshops, which are adapted to the local area. The banners and workshops are based on the poem 100 Flowers of Peace by Namaya, which has been translated by volunteers around the world into 100+ languages.
Already the 100 Flowers banners and a Peace Arts Workshop have been successfully shown at the Clearwater Festival in Croton, NY, the Memoria. Hablar. Dignidad. event in Chile, and the School of International Training (SIT) in Brattleboro, VT.
For 2014 we hope to bring the banners and the peace arts workshop to 4 communities and offer peace arts workshop for communities. We will partner with local communities so that they can continue to offer peace arts education. We hope to create a video version of 100 Flowers of Peace that can be run in public spaces such as museums, universities, and churches.
In order to do this we require $20,000 in funding for banner production, transportation, and workshop supplies. Even $5,000 in contributions will allow one of the workshops to be offered and for video distribution.
The Cost of War
The purpose of the Cost of War project is to educate the public about military costs. The US has a military budget of about 1.5 trillion dollars per annum. Yet many people, including youth, think the budget is only in the millions. This art project involves community members and youth in writing up price tags for the cost of military hardware, veteran healthcare, etc. and comparing them to the costs of education, preventive healthcare, and projects in their communities such as a skateboard park, food for a hungry family for a year, or a community swimming pool. It is a civics and educational project to help people make informed decisions as members of a democracy.
We have sponsored successful workshops in NY and VT. We would also like to work with the other groups like the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the oldest inter-faith peace organization in the US, and sponsor local heroes in replicating this workshop.
Help us sponsor five community programs around the US in 2014 and 2015. $10,000 will enable us to reach thousands.
B4 Peace Initiative Completed Projects
Universal Peace Day
On August 5th, 2014, from 5pm to 11pm, the B4 Peace celebrated Universal Peace Day Union Square in New York City with our friends at the New York City Peace Museum for a Universal Peace Day celebration. Universal Peace Day fell on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, and allowed us to all unite together for peace. There was a celebration in front of the Gandhi statue. The B4 Peace team was there with our 100 Flowers of Peace banners. In addition, Namaya celebrated with poetry and Zoe Kopp led dancing.
On June 6th the B4 Peace team was outside the Brattleboro Congregational Church on Main St during Gallery Walk. The inspirational Peace Pyramid, with its 300 lb. ice sculpture, and the 100 Flowers of Peace poems, with banners in over a dozen languages, were on display. We are thankful to have had this opportunity to share our work with the Brattleboro community and to foster conversation on peace. It was a joy to talk with both local and nonlocal people as the parade went by. It was very inspirational and deeply touching to have the church host this event. Thank you all to the many people who made this event possible.
Clearwater Festival: B4 Peace Art Gallery
This was our fourth appearance at the Clearwater Festival. Before the festival Namaya and Zoe Kopp were at a house party with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary. It was such a delight to be in a small gathering and hearing his songs. Namaya also shared a poem Pete Seeger: A force of Nature, about the incredible person Pete Seeger was. He was and remains an inspiration for all of us.
At this year’s Clearwater Festival we had Witness to Genocide a flag that wove together Israel and Palestine in the search for peace. There was also one of the festivals favorites, which is the Inevitability of Peace sculpture with a 200 pound block of ice. In the background were some of the 4000 bracelets initially designed by Madeline Champagne of the peace Abbey. We incorporated this into a memorial for the soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan called The Bondage of War. We also had a tower of peace heroes: Rachel Corrie, Cesar Chavez, Bayard Rustin, Pete Seeger, and other heroes of peace.
This festival was a great opportunity for us to connect with the many people who are engaged in peace work around the US.
Thank you to the incredible support of the many volunteers, to our friends at Clearwater who hosted us, and to all of you who stopped by.
Fellowship of Reconciliation
We are partnering with the Fellowship of Reconciliation to celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2015 and 2016. We will be bringing our peace arts to multiple locations nationwide to celebrate peace. The Fellowship of Reconciliation is the oldest peace and justice organization in the United States, and we are grateful to be joining them to celebrate their 100th anniversary, and look forward to the next 100 years of making peace.
Veterans for Peace: Cost of War
On July 6th we were in Burlington with the Vermont Veterans for Peace and the Peace and Justice Center. It was wonderful to work with these people in the Cost of War project. The idea for the project is very simple. Price tag cards about 2″ x 4″ with a ribbon are placed around the community. On one side is the cost of a particular military weapon. For example, a Tomahawk missile cost $1.4 million equals 46 college scholarships at the University of Vermont. Or, 1.2 million dollars equals the cost of youth services budget in Brattleboro. The total military budget in the United States is approximately between one to $1.5 trillion conservatively. This number is staggering to imagine. We break down the numbers to discuss how the cost of war impacts and affects all of us in our communities. One young man who is in the Navy said he went into the service because he could not afford college. While this may be noble it would have been far more fair and just if he had the choice. Our point with this project is to point out how we could be using our money more effectively.
The cost of war project is now available. We are creating small kits with information on the cost of military, cards, and information that you can use for your own community education project. This project is not Democratic or Republican, coffee or tea party. It is a fundamental awareness and civic education on the amount of money that we spend as a country. We encourage people to reach out within their communities to the veterans of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can come together and support these young men and women as they are returning to our communities.
100 Flowers of Peace at SIT
On May 13th World Learning: School for International Training (SIT) hosted a ceremony to announce the installation of the Inevitability of Peace sculpture and the 100 Flowers of Peace banners on campus. They will be on display from May 13th to June 6th. See above for more information on the 100 Flowers of Peace.
Participants of the closing ceremony gather to celebrate peace
Memoria. Hablar. Dignidad. 40
We were invited by the Peace Park of the Villa Grimaldi in Santiago, Chile to design with them an event that would memorialize the 40th anniversary of the Pinochet coup and the individuals who were imprisoned, tortured and died while fighting for human rights. They invited us to do a multimedia show, installation and peace arts workshop entitled « Memoria. Hablar. Dignidad. » The purpose of the installation, opening ceremony and workshop was to: show respect the memoriesof those who have fought for human rights in Chile (Neruda, Victor Jara, Violeta Parra, etc) – to inspire the participants to speak up for human rights now – so there can be a future of dignity for all. We were asked to adapt our Amnesty Solstice Tower to be one of Chilean heroes of human rights, display the 100 Flowers banners to show unity with human rights issues across the globe, create an opening ceremony with dance and music using Chilean and Mapuche performers and work with their educational team to provide a peace art workshop. The opening ceremony was held on the solstice December 21,, 2013 and the art remained in place until January 21, 2014 during which time a peace art workshop was held.
Watch footage of the event here.
The Peace Park is an internationally recognized site of conscience (www.sitesofconscience.org )built on the grounds of a former center of torture of the Pinochet regime and is dedicated to helping to heal the wounds of the past and educates people on human rights (www.villagrimaldi.cl).
Thank you to all who donated to help GRACE accomplish this project. We believe that this international event to commemorate Chilean heroes was able to open a dialog on peace and human rights that made issues of peace and human rights more accessible through arts and helped people to see that in their daily life they can make a difference.