By Leigh Durham, Field Organizer for One Million Bones
On June 8th, 2013, thousands of participants dressed in white will lay down one million bones on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. These bones, handcrafted by thousands in all 50 states and 30 countries, will serve as a visible petition and symbolic mass grave to shed light on continuing genocide and mass atrocities in Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma and Somalia. The project, called One Million Bones, uses hands-on art making, education, and public installations to approach these conflicts in classrooms, congregations, art studios and community centers. Dozens of STAND chapters across the country have participated in this project over the past three years, using the power of art as a way to profoundly connect to these issues, raise awareness on campus and provide a space for discussion.
One Million Bones began as a vision: artist Naomi Natale imagined a way to bring an issue that often feels so far away close to home. To place one million bones in the most public and sacred space in our nation would force the public, and our government, to face reality and to see the bones for what they represent. The bones made honor those who’ve been killed and affected by ongoing conflict, represent an individual voice in a larger movement and most importantly, symbolize our common humanity and responsibility to protect one another. In this spirit, the Students Rebuild challenge has generated $1 per bone towards CARE‘s community development and relief work on the ground in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The three-day event, June 8-10th, will include international speakers and performers: Neema Namadamu, John Dau, Carl Wilkens, John Prendergast, Elikeh and more to be announced soon! The program will also offer educational workshops and an interfaith candlelight vigil on Sunday, June 9th, as well as the opportunity to Act Against Atrocities during an advocacy day on Capitol Hill led by the Enough Project on Monday, June 10th.
Take a moment to watch a short video of the 50,000 bones preview installation organized in Albuquerque, NM that produces a good visual description of the experience.
One Million Bones is still seeking volunteers for the National Mall installation. Click here for more information and to register!