When facing violence and hatred, we can either respond with like, or seek to make peace. The One Million Stars Installation is a great example of this peace movement. As part of the Commonwealth Games, 1 million stars will be displayed at King George Square from March 29 to April 15 to celebrate and promote peace.
Maryann Talia Pau started the movement in response to act of violence in her community: the rape and murder of a young woman. To move beyond the trauma she and her community found the way out was not through hatred and revenge, but could be found in peace. It was the desire not to turn hatred into more hatred, because that way leads to even more violence.
The movement started in 2012 and has reached its goal of 1 million weaved stars from contributors all over the world. Though, as we can also use more peace in the world, there is no reason to stop making stars. It is the combined act of people from all around the world working towards a single goal that created the million stars. But also, it is these and other people working to create peace, acceptance and community, that can reduce, and dare I say it, end hatred and violence.
Inspired by Japan's peace cranes, the 8 pointed stars were chosen because of what they represent in Pacific Islander culture. While they might have specific meaning in islander culture, often guiding these great ocean navigators back home to safety and family, stars all have meaning in all cultures across the world.
In the end, the act of creating stars is not what matters, but how it makes us feel. Maryann hopes that it will give people the feeling of being part of a caring global community and also to think about and personally promote peace.
Photo of mini installation for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games courtesy of 1 Million Stars