I am writing this at 6 am Saturday, February 5.Yesterday I sat in a room full of military personnel, police, government, NGO and university representatives. They were planning a peace constituency building ceremony on Tuesday, February 8 wherein 1500 supporters for peace from the military, police, government agencies, civil society, universities and the public will light a candle each encircling the Quezon City Circle Peace Bell. During this event, President Aquino who is expected to come to ring the bell marking the call for a successful and genuine peace talks that will resume between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) in the next two weeks.
I have been working for peace for the past 3 years doing project management, events, and workshops. In between cognitive peace work, I have been doing some art activities with grassroots community leaders and youth. In my work as a peace worker and an artist, I am inspired by the wisdom of the sacred teachings of different religions, traditions, and indigenous beliefs. I resonate with the need to foster creativity as part of peacemaking as founder of peace studies Johan Galtung teaches. I also believe in using the moral imagination in transforming violence and situations as peacebuilder John Paul Lederach promotes. Author of Ritual and Peacebuilding Lisa Schrirch believes that ritual plays a role in reframing, building, creating, affirming, and healing identities in response to the process of dehumanization and can dramatically alter the way people see the world.
|a labyrinth walk for inner peace installation and closing ritual for grassroots interfaith leaders from conflict affected areas in Mindanao (photo by Pakigdait Inc. staff)|
|Transforming violence into beauty: a collaborative collage artwork I facilitated with Orlan de Guzman with 50 interfaith Filipino and European youth peace campers for Binhi ng Kapayapaan Inc.|
But oh my, this intention is still full apparently as my body and spirit sat there in the meeting and blurted out this plan.
|The Tala children (Tala means Star) who will be the main artists of the project here at an arts relief session I helped out in with Balay Rehabilitation Center and the Peacemakers Circle after Typhoon Ondoy affected their community in 2009(Check out more photos on this link: - Climate Change Through the Eyes of Children)|
On February 7, together with 1Mandala artist Russell Maier, I am intending to work on an interfaith art action with 100 children of a Muslim-Christian community in Tala, Caloocan.We will be making 100 terra cotta sculptures as candle holders and flower holders to hold the candles and flowers of leaders and stakeholders who will be present during the Feb 8 ceremony. These artworks will then be installed as a grand mandala centerpiece near the peace bell. These artworks will be given to the leaders and stakeholders to remind them about their commitment to peace in the country. Most importantly, these artworks will represent the youth who we hope will never experience the cycle of war all over again.
But time is so precious. After the team approved my proposal yesterday, I was excited yet felt a bit challenged by the 2 day fundraising and organizing.This was not called for yet I just added extra load to my ever busy schedule. Yet it is important work, isn't it? Who else will do it?
But here's the wonderful thing. I have 700 friends on facebook. I have worked with over 50 young peace campers. I have artist friends. I am so blessed. We are so blessed!
As of writing, I am devising a way how funds can be properly accounted for and taken in for donations. I am likely to spend for everything myelf for now with what little I have as my salary and the schedule that is coming so close.
I figured if 500 friends donated P100 each, we can raise the amount intended for this activity. Would you like to help me in spreading the word? Would you like to pledge your P100 donation? Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for your pledge. I will be in touch soon about how it can be properly donated and accounted for.
You can read more about the project through this link- Lights for Peace
(Please note this is a working document and will be updated within the day)
Thank you for your support to this important initiative.