the work 

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Our disarmament program collects both weapons donated from the public and weapons housed in police departments that have been rendered dormant and disposable post-investigation. 

In partnership with local artists and metalsmiths, the weapons are transformed into shovels.

The shovels are then used in ceremonial plantings of culturally significant sacred tree species. These ceremonies offer a physically regenerative space for diverse communities to memorialize loved ones, and lands, lost to violence.

We will prioritize our tree planting ceremonies at places of interfaith violence, interracial violence, historical violence on native peoples and sites that are considered sacred or with inherent community potential for reconciliation -- with the deep understanding that reconciliation is impossible without recognition and reparations for harms instigated. 

On the weekend of the ceremony, local leaders in restorative and environmental justice will lead intersectional workshops/teach-ins for participating community members. 

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Intention in medicine is defined as the healing process of a wound. Our intention through Lead to Life is to transform that which kills into that which makes life - to facilitate an alchemical healing process that can physically transform both our weapons and our imaginations.

With the current climate of pervasive environmental racism, gun violence, and desecration of the land, our creative interventions are designed to: 

  • bridge connections between restorative and environmental justice
  • restore the ecological foundations of sacred spaces within our urban geographies, and 
  • rekindle relationships of reverence and reciprocity with each other and the Earth. 



Why Transform Weapons? 

We reject the senseless killing of people and the planet. We know that when wars stop, their weapons live on. If we are to transition from perpetrators of violence into peacemakers, so may we liberate the artifacts of violence - be they guns, oil pipelines, or chainsaws. From grave to cradle, let us re-imagine the purpose of our objects. Let the materials that make death be given new life in shovels - upcycled spiritual technologies and tools used to plant trees. 

We envision a future where transformative justice is centered and where violent force as a mode of protection becomes obsolete. We imagine a future where our relationship to those authored to protect us is rooted in sacred relationships of reciprocity, not in fear built upon separation. 

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why plant trees? 

Despite bearing the brunt of climate change impacts, low-income and marginalized communities are often erased by an intensely segregated environmental movement. Most resources towards environmental justice -- a platform initiated and sustained by people of color -- have been co-opted to benefit the eco-elite. 

Our intention is to redistribute those resources, to dispel the theoretical, and re-engage environmental connection in the urban space. Planting trees permits a profound entry point into this connection - especially when those trees embody and symbolize breath and remembrance for those we have lost to violence. 

Additionally, planting trees not only sequesters carbon but helps reduce asthma rates, cools neighborhoods, reduces household energy consumption, and beautifies our communities.


Why combine the issues of gun violence, spirituality, and environmental justice? 

The myth of separation - the fabricated worldview that we are not interdependent beings - has carried so much suffering into the world. To suture this gap -- especially for environments impacted by persistent-traumatic stress -- will require radical and intersectional imagination and healing. As legacies of violence are interwoven, our visions toward justice must also be multifold. 

We work to create spiritual technologies that make traditional values pragmatic. We work to re-invigorate the public imaginary and expand our ideas of security. We work to integrate ecological restoration as essential to restorative justice.