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One Million Bones Nationwide Movement Comes to D.C.

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One Million Bones Nationwide Movement Comes to D.C.

Posted by Rachel Finn on April 5, 2013

One Million Bones Nationwide Movement Comes to D.C.

The Enough Project is excited to announce its’ partnership with One Million Bones, a large-scale social arts practice founded by Naomi Natale that uses education and art to raise awareness of genocide and mass atrocities. From June 8-10, 2013, they are hosting an installation on the National Mall as a unique symbol of our common humanity and a call to action, followed by an Advocacy Day hosted by the Enough Project. The installation will consist of one million “bones,” made by activists around the country and meant to symbolize and honor lives lost through genocide and those still under threat in current crises.

A series of events have taken place throughout the country over the past two years leading up to the national installation. In August 2011, One Million Bones held their kick-off installation of 50,000 bones in Albuquerque, New Mexico, an experience that inspired others to create similar installations in their communities nationwide. The National Day of Action in Tallahassee, Florida, in April 2012 brought the public together to lay down hundreds of bones, creating a stunning vision of a symbolic mass grave. Mukweso Mwenene, from Congo, spoke at the event about the importance of bringing these crimes to light, saying, "It forces people to see. Every human being has dignity. Those people are being killed in the forest. Nobody buried them, nobody knows that they've died there. So this is a symbol at least to recognize it."

Similar bone-making events are happening around the country as the national installation draws closer. On April 25, the ATMA Foundation in partnership with Oregon Coalition for Humanity, or OCH, will create a bone and electronics installation at the Portland State University Park Blocks. Electronics will be scattered among the bones to represent the connection between the One Million Bones and OCH’s Conflict-Free City Initiative, which is part of Raise Hope for Congo’s conflict-free cities program. OCH aims to pass a resolution in Beaverton, Oregon,  leveraging contracts the city has with companies that use conflict minerals and encouraging them to take action leading to supply chain reform in Congo. Attendees will walk along a path created from the bones, learn about mass atrocities occurring worldwide, and act to make Beaverton the first conflict-free city in the Northwest. On April 27, the Congolese Genocide Awareness, orCGA, group is hosting a One Million Bones installation in Somerville, Massachusetts. CGA is excited to energize the Boston community about issues of genocide, create bones, and promote the installation on the National Mall in June.   

As the One Million Bones national installation draws closer, we encourage you to take part in events in your area or start your own to support the initiative. The One Million Bones website provides tutorials on how one can make a bone to be installed on the National Mall.

Alternatively, a bone can be crafted in someone’s name for a $5.00 donation. All are encouraged to come to D.C. and attend the event itself. Throughout the weekend, attendees will engage with other activists, listen to speakers and performers, participate in a candlelight vigil, and learn about current mass atrocities – as well as what the public can do to help end ongoing conflicts. There are also opportunities to volunteer with One Million Bones by assisting with set-up and tear-down, placing bones on the Mall, or act as a group leader.

The event will culminate in the Act Against Atrocities Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, hosted by the Enough Project in partnership with One Million Bones. On Monday, June 10,  activists will have the opportunity meet face-to-face with staff representatives or Members of Congress themselves to inform them about atrocities unfolding in the world's worst conflicts and encourage them to take action. 

The weekend is an incredible opportunity to take action and to stand in solidarity with other activists around the country against genocide.

Amber Maze contributed to this post.

Photo Credit: One Million Bones