ONE MILLION BONES: Genocide and Urban Violence wherever we find it.

A COLLABORATIVE PROJECT WITH ST. ANNA’S CHURCH &

Congregations and Artist in New Orleans and beyond

 Dear Pastor and Rabbi:

As the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls fast approaches St. Anna’s Church in collaboration with The New Orleans Chapter of 1,000,000 Bones, Scrub Brush Productions, Freret Neighborhood Center, and several New Orleans Public Schools are preparing an art installation on the St. Anna’s Campus. We are seeking the support of your congregation for this vital and dramatic statement about violence. It is a project that will cost your congregation essentially nothing but a little time. It is a project that might help form small discussion groups while ‘doing art.’ It is a project suitable for children as well as adults as “artists.” It is a project first conceived by Naomi Natale which is now going global. The Bones project is supported by, among others, the McCune Foundation, The Harnisch Foundation, Students Rebuild, CARE, and VISTA.  The point of the project is to bring dramatic attention to genocide throughout the world and by extension to the local murders in New Orleans. Philosophically and theologically this project seeks to bring attention on an international level and local level – “both and.”

As you know the murders in New Orleans seem ceaseless and it seems that we talk about effective solutions less rather than more. There is attention graphically in the news; out pouring happen when a “heroic” or “innocent” victim is shot. But then there seems to be a lack of galvanizing impact making movement. People like The Roots of Music, Anna’s Arts, All Soul’s Youth Programs, Dryades YMCA and others are addressing the issue in profound, practical, and brilliant ways. Silence is Violence is still in the mix as a voice against this present darkness. A cutting edge film by John Richie called, “Shocked: The New Orleans Youth Story” adds its voice to the mix and was featured in the Mayor’s first City-wide Summit on urban violence.

I am reaching out to each of you to help make a strong statement yet again about violence; BUT, not just our own urban violence but genocide both in New Orleans and the World. This is a project that can involve the very people we serve. The global impact, like our own experience with destruction, is a transient feature on the conscious landscape. By that I suggest that people have short memories. Do we remember and talk about Dār Fūr, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, Ethiopia or Nicaragua, or even the Holocaust?

I would like to extend an invitation to each Pastor and each worker in the field to gather a group who believe it is time to make another major statement and form groups that might spend a day or a weekend making bones. For us in New Orleans, some of the children have put first names on the bones as a remembrance of the victims in our city. That is a first for this national project. We would be happy to supply the over 1,000 names of murder victims that we have since 2007 to any church or group willing to participate. The 1 Million Bones people are happy to supply artist’s instruction for your group as well as offering a short talk about the project.

The Schedule is this:

On the afternoon of Thursday November 1 All Saints Day the artists will begin the installation. Persons who made the bones are invited to lay them out as a way of putting this holocaust to rest. Names for people who have died from Violence such as murder; or neglect due to withholding medical treatment (AIDS victims); those names are invited to be put on the bones. Our goal is an art installation of over 10,000 bones. At 6 PM perhaps 6:30 PM St. Anna’s will host an All Saints Day worship service and read the names (as we do every year) of each and every murder victim in 2012 and all participants are invited to attend.

On Friday, November 2  All Souls Day the installation will remain open as a “pilgrims” site for those that wish to come and remember. An All Souls Worship service will again be held at about 6:00 or 6:30 PM.

On Saturday November 3 a mini version (20 min.) of “Shocked: The New Orleans Youth Story” will be presented along with a brief workshop that is being introduced into some High School curriculum; poetry readings will he held; a concert by the Treme Chorus will be offered. And to you on this list we offer and extend an opportunity for your choirs to sing in concert. At about 4 or 5 PM  the art installation (bones) will be removed and put into storage for future installation at the Washington Mall in 2013. During Saturday we also hope to hear from speakers representing genocide survivors from Africa and perhaps Latin America.  If you are in contact with any “Lost Boys” or other genocide survivors please let us know as soon as possible.

Additional Resources:
√  St. Anna’s will provide 24 Security Guards for the project so that those who wish may safely visit the outdoor installation at any time day or night for the three days of the event.

√  St. Anna’s and the 1,000,000 Bones local chapter will arrange to have artists come to your church or venue to talk about the project and to get you started on making bones.

√  St. Anna’s will install ample space for people to make other faith memorials such as candles, mementos etc., to lay out and among the bones as a symbolic altar.

√ With your help we hope to promote this as a major spiritual and practical response to murders in New Orleans and beyond.

We are trying to put this together and to have it highly organized as quickly as possible. We would also accept and invite your suggestion for other participants so that the broadest cross section of New Orleans (and beyond) can be represented and have an opportunity to engage in this work. We ask you for no funds, we ask you for your prayers and participation. It is again time to make a noise about the killing of our youth and not only our youth but our citizens here and beyond.

When I visited Dachau Concentration Camp in the Spring of 2010 I recall vividly a solid granite ossuary that said in five languages “Never Again.”

PLEASE CONTACT EITHER MYSELF OR DARRYL DURHAM if you have any interest or have any questions about this effort to bring startling notice to our plight.

FOR INFORMATION OR TO SEE WHAT 1,000,000 is about go to : https://www.facebook.com/OMB.NOLA

Thank you in advance for reading this and considering the project. Your group, church, synagogue, will be listed in this collaboration and the media notified of these efforts.

Peace

The Rev. William H. Terry

Rector St. Anna’s Episcopal Church

1313 Esplanade Ave.

New Orleans, LA. 70116

Website:  stannanola.org

E-mail:  fr.bill@stannanola.org or

Darryl Durham at darryl@stannanola.org

Phone:  (504) 947-2121

Post a comment

Print your tickets