The Art of Compassion: One Million Bones
Continuing the theme of compassion, the October issue of SchoolArts includes an article about the project called One Million Bones, written by founder Naomi Natale:
In spring of 2013, one million bones—made by an international community of artists, activists, and students—will flood our nation’s capital.
One Million Bones is an international fundraising art installation and education project designed to recognize the millions of victims of genocide. Our mission is to increase global awareness of the ongoing devastation of genocide, raise $5 million to protect and aid displaced victims, and educate students about tolerance through art and social activism.
One Million Bones asks one million people — children, artists, youth, senior citizens, parents, and college students — to create a bone representing a victim of genocide, and sponsor it for five dollars. Sponsorship funds will go to service organizations for aid for survivors.
The arts are a powerful tool for engaging the community. We believe this type of hands on education is necessary because addressing global issues begins with the knowledge that global issues are local issues magnified by distance and intensity. Therefore, providing a creative arena for children to discuss what makes us different and what makes us the same allows them to understand global issues through a local and or individual lens.
This is the first step towards change. Outreach efforts to educators across the country will help teachers create a curriculum that is age appropriate, and which encourages analysis and synthesis, as well as the creative consideration of global issues.
Art & Action
Apathy is often cited as the reason that people fail to act against injustice, though perhaps impotence is a more useful way to describe such inaction. If we approach the problem from this perspective-that people don’t act because they don’t feel capable of affecting change- it has a very clear solution: Offer people a compelling, tangible way to make a difference and they will seize it.
This is the guiding principle behind One Million Bones. In places like Sudan, Burma, and Democratic Republic of the Congo, millions have been murdered or displaced by systematic killings and ethnic cleansing. The international community has neglected to effectively intervene and the violence, which has ravaged for years already, continues.
One Million Bones aims to unite people whom individually-and as of yet, perhaps silently-oppose these genocides. It provides participants with the means to both demand government intervention and to raise support for the conflicts’ many victims. It gives these ongoing tragedies, often muted by our physical distance form them, an emotional presence and a powerful voice.
Opportunity for Participation
One Million Bones is looking for educators to bring this project into their classrooms. Regardless of the subject taught, we are convinced that One Million Bones can assist with student engagement and skill acquisition at all educational levels.
We hope that you will consider bringing this project into your classes, perhaps even every semester until our 2013 installation. This issue is so important and any awareness we can spread is incredibly valuable.
Naomi Natale is the director of One Million Bones and of an earlier humanitarian effort, The Cradle Project.