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Reimagine Violence: A Guns to Shovels Ceremony

  • Oscar Grant Plaza (also known as Frank Ogawa Plaza) Oscar Grant Plaza, 1 Frank H Ogawa Plaza Oakland United States (map)

To honor Martin Luther King Day 2019, Lead to Life invites you to dream into and create our post-capitalist, post-white supremacist, post-colonial world, where the police state surrenders their weapons for the people to melt them into shovels to plant life that regenerates the land. Together, we will create a live alchemy ceremony that honors the transformative decomposition of violence.  The future we are envisioning is now.

The ceremony will follow the annual Reclaim King march - inviting residents of the Bay Area (occupied Ohlone territory) to liberate a future where Dr. King’s vision is realized 50 years after he was assassinated.

“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 any more.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “A Christmas Sermon on Peace”


Our metal casting artist James Brenner alongside local East Bay metal artists, will lead us in a live demonstration of making tools from weapons. The guns have been donated by our partners the Robby Poblete Foundation & United Playas, who collected them from volunteer gun buy back days across the Bay Area.

Join us as we gather in prayer, in grief, in praise, and in creative action to reimagine violence and to decompose White Supremacy in our city, our country, and our world.

Community members from the Oakland area who have been directly impacted by gun violence are invited to offer disabled weapons into the fire to be transformed. Other community members are invited to gather in solidarity and prayer to bear witness. The shovels we make together will be used in tree planting ceremonies in honor of Earth Day, April 2019, where we will plant 50 trees at sites impacted by violence, and sacred sites across Oakland.

This ceremony sustains a prayer cast in Atlanta, GA in April 2018 where we transformed 50 guns into 50 shovels to plant 50 trees to honor the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. Click here to learn about the beauty that took place in ATL.

This ceremony is free and open to all! Tax-deductible donations of $15 - $50, though not required, are humbly appreciated to support our ongoing work to reimagine violence.  


You can RSVP on our eventbrite page.  Click here for information and registration for our Week of Healing Justice gatherings taking place January and April 2019, including the Tree Planting Ceremony, People's Supper and Permaculture Action Day.