Reverend Bernice King, Lead to Life and Students from Parkland Shooting to Hold 'Guns to Shovels' Ceremony on 50th Anniversary

By: The King Center
ATLANTA - April 4, 2018 - PRLog -- Reverend Bernice King, the youngest child of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, and Chief Executive Officer of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, GA, will join a live public ceremony organized by the project Lead to Life: A People's Alchemy for Regeneration, during which weapons will be melted down and transformed into garden tools and art pieces. Kai Koerber and Tyah Amoy-Roberts from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL will be joining Rev. King to speak about their experience on 02/14/2018, and the work they are doing with national organizations, like the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, to bring greater attention to gun violence in communities of color across America.. The event will take place at The King Center on April 4, 2018 from 3:00 pm (EST) to 5:00pm (EST), the 50th anniversary of her father's assassination. Local Atlanta-based Mothers and friends whose lives have been impacted by gun violence will also share their stories and be invited to melt down the collected weapons.

The ceremony will mark the first in a weeklong series of events called Lead to Life: A People's Alchemy for Regeneration, hosted by Lead to Life, a project working in Atlanta, GA and Oakland, CA. In collaboration with Metal Artist James Brenner and Atlanta-based Blacksmith Corrina Sephora, Fifty weapons will be transformed into 50 shovels to plant 50 trees at sites impacted by violence, later on that weekend on April 7 and 8 throughout Atlanta. The intention is to disrupt environmental racism and reimagine violence. Pati Poblete from The Robby Poblete Foundation will also join - whose mission is to reduce gun violence through its annual gun buyback programs and transform them into instruments of hope and opportunity through its art and vocational programs.

In partnership with RawTools' Swords to Plows program, Lead to Life is opening a national call to "Disarm & Reimagine." Leveraging a network of metal artists and civic partners across the United States and the #oneless campaign, Lead to Life & RawTools will help people across the country disable their weapons, and send them in to be transformed into garden tools. Lead to Life is sending a call to action to millions to reimagine artifacts of violence into artifacts of peace and ecological regeneration.

"Since our national government is unable to move forward on gun control policy, we the people are taking matters into our own hands. We are ready to disarm and reimagine. We see how guns tear apart our communities and desecrate our world. We are ready to commit to being peace with each other and with the whole Earth." - Kyle Lemle, Co-Founder & Program Director, Lead to Life.

This national disarmament campaign is being launched with a Week of Healing Justice in Atlanta, GA, April 4th - 9th, as part of The King Center's MLK50 Forward commemorative campaign.

"We extend the invitation to folks across Atlanta, across imagined borders, across differences designed by the myth of separation, to join us in decomposing environmental racism, reimagining violence, seeding food security, exploring what ecological restoration as restorative justice looks like, and trusting that when we support the healing of the most marginalized (in the human world and the more-than-human world), we all get free." - brontë velez, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Lead to Life.


About the King Center & MLK50 Forward

Established in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change ("The King Center") has been a global destination, resource center and community institution for over a quarter century.The King Center is a 501(c)3. Nearly a million people each year make pilgrimage to the National Historic Site to learn, be inspired and pay their respects to Dr. King's legacy.

2018 is truly a momentous year. It is the 50th anniversary of one of the most tragic, catalytic and meaningful events in American history: the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Individuals and organizations around the globe will honor Dr. King on April 4, 2018 and throughout the year. 2018 also marks the 50th Anniversary of the founding of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center).The King Center will be a home for global and national commemoration. In coalition with select partners, The King Center seeks to spark dialogue on some of the most pressing issues facing our nation and our world.

About Lead to Life

Lead to Life (http://www.leadtolife.org)'s physical act of "turning swords into plowshares," creatively fulfills the prophecy Dr. King invoked throughout his speeches—the gun metal will be liberated from their histories of murder, and the soil & air where violence took place will be remediated by the trees.For in his final Christmas Sermon on Peace (http://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2017/12/martin-luther-king-jrs-christmas-sermon-peace-still-prophetic-50-years-later.html), Dr. King said, "I still have a dream today that one day war will come to an end, that [they] will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, that nations will no longer rise up against nations, neither will they study war anymore."

One of the members of Lead to Life, brontë velez, lost their friend to gun violence on the Kirkwood bike path in Atlanta in 2013. brontë's friend, who was murdered, was also a young artist. She has since wondered how we might disrupt patterns of violence by transforming their design. The project was born in 2016 when brontë met Kyle, a tree planter and community forester, as inaugural recipients of the Spiritual Ecology Fellowship. (http://www.spiritualecologyfellowship.org/) They decided to put their dreams together to reimagine violence on Earth and to transform that which ends life into that which sustains life. Now they are transforming weapons and planting trees in cities across the United States.

Contact
The King Center, Carmen Coya
Lead to Life, brontë velez
Lead to Life, Kyle Lemle
***@thekingcenter.org
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