Traveling Mural Unveiling: The Tree of Life

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INTRODUCTION

The Tree of Life represents hope and forgiveness.  It is an 8’ X 28’ mural inspired by the youth, where the hope it represents stems from the love for our community.  The youth involved are long time residents in the Hoover corridor neighborhood and/or youth participants in AHC’s Youth Leadership Now program.  The youth envision their community as a place where peace, beauty, resolution and unity is consistently cultivated, nurtured and valued.

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YOUTH ENGAGEMENT

As youth were engaged in a process to brainstorm ideas for the project, they continually expressed concern for their community and a deep desire to acknowledge the loss of young lives. They dedicated the project to four innocent West and East Oakland based children whose lives were senselessly and violently taken away from those that loved them.  These children were three toddlers and one youth, torn from a world of possibilities, torn from their futures and their legacy.

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PURPOSE

The Tree of Life opens up the doors to forgiveness.  Forgiveness for a society that breeds such brutality and forgiveness for the souls that have become locked in its thorny weeds. With forgiveness comes health, with health comes freedom, with freedom comes love and peace.  The Tree of Life creates a pathway towards peace and enlightenment for our community for generations to come.

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LOCATION

The Tree of Life will adorn the construction site of the West Oakland Youth Center until construction is complete in April of 2013.  The mural will bring beauty to the Hoover corridor while exuding a serenity and calmness that recognizes the value of and dreams for our youth. The mural will travel throughout the city of Oakland and beyond, carrying forward its message of hope and forgiveness.

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THE STORY

The tree of life was forgotten.  After many horrific and daunting acts of violence causing death and destruction, the community came together. This is when the elders reminded them of a forgotten tree, deep in Oakland, that was known to have mystical powers.  A young man named Daniel, a grandson of one of the elders, was known as Big Brother to all of the young people in the community.  A sense of urgency took over Daniel as he came to believe that if he took care of the tree it would make the community better and help the community forgive and manifest peace. He began to diligently and meticulously care for the tree.  Every day he gathered the little ones around the roots and under the branches to share in giving care and love to the tree.  The process of sharing and caring for the tree brought to life an angelic woman of light and truth, who in turn looked over the community with a blanket of peace and serenity. Her overwhelming beauty and grace caused nature to spawn and grow with bountiful life and beauty.  The vines, which were under her power and represented the peoples’ desire to rid the city of violence, grew profusely and began to take over the city. Her spiral necklace felt the strength and vibration of the peoples’ will so powerfully that flowers began to grow abundantly with vivid beauty. A huge, magnificent flower appeared in her hand to feed the humming birds.  More humming birds came to lead the community to make better decisions and choices. A gigantic calla lily grew, bringing hope and renewal to the community.  Butterflies came from all over and helped spread the peace and transformation to other communities.

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